The Backstory: When it comes to No. 22, everything is a certainty. There is no debate as to who earns the House of Sparky honors because Woody Green simply outran his competition. The Sun Devils' greatest running back of all-time might be the greatest offensive player in the history of the program, and there's only one question mark about his legacy.
That question: How is No. 22 not retired yet? In a thorough analysis of Sun Devil history, Green's greatness is ever-apparent. Though he only played three seasons, he rushed for 1,000 yards each year and helped the Sun Devils to one of their greatest years in school history in 1973.
Today, it's not just time to honor Woody Green. It's time to call for Arizona State to take a long look at the No. 22, and to think about hanging that jersey up in the rafters.
The Player: Woody Green (1971-1973)
From the moment Woody Green stepped on the field, he began to earn recognition as one of the best athletes in college football. Listing Green's All-Conference recognition starts to demonstrate the impressiveness of his career, until one realizes that he made All-American lists in each of his three seasons.
In his first season in Tempe, Green slid right into coach Frank Kush's starting lineup at running back. The 1971 year proved to be a coming out party of sorts, as Green amassed 1,310 yards and more than 5.5 yards per carry. Green earned Honorable Mention All-American status from assorted media outlets, but Green was never one to settle.
In 1972, Green followed up his outstanding premier season with the greatest season an Arizona State running back has ever produced. Green netted a total of 1,565 yards on 234 carries and remains the only Sun Devil to ever surpass the legendary 1,500-yard mark.
Green earned Consensus All-American honors in 1972, and led the Sun Devils in scoring with a total of 19 touchdowns. His 15 rushing touchdowns remain one of the best totals in school history, and his 6.7 yards per carry total is downright staggering considering the amount he touched the football.
As a senior, Green wanted to go out with a bang and that's exactly what he did. He added to his resume by earning Consensus All-American honors for the second straight season, and his 1,313 yards marked the third straight year he surpassed the 1,300-yard mark. The Sun Devils rode Green's talent to an 11-1 record and a Fiesta Bowl victory.
Over the course of his three seasons, Green accumulated 21 100-yard rushing outings and the Sun Devils enjoyed an overall record of 32-4. Green played during the Golden Age of Arizona State football, and in many ways, he was the gold standard.
Green's name is still scattered throughout the Arizona State record books, and of the Sun Devils' six best rushing seasons in school history, Green owns three of them.
Green is an icon at Arizona State, and it might be time to think about reserving No. 22 only for trips down memory lane.
Leon Burton: Burton was a 1950s star, and followed in the footsteps of Wilford "Whizzer" White who laid the foundation for Arizona State backs. Burton was a two-way star, and an All-Border conference honoree for two seasons.
Henry Rich: Henry Rich was one of Arizona State's first great defensive backs, and his numbers stand up with the school's all-time greats. In 1950, Rich intercepted 12 passes, the most ever by a Sun Devil player.