ASU Football: 'All-Sun Devils first team' cornerbacks

Eric Allen patrolled the Arizona State secondary when the team won its only Rose Bowl in 1986. - ASU Athletics

These three ballhawks were the best to ever wear the maroon and gold.

Mike Haynes: The 1970s were a good time for Arizona State's defense with Haynes patrolling the secondary. He is arguably the best the Sun Devils to have ever played at any position, and has countless accolades from his days in Tempe.

He was an All-Western Athletic Conference selection three times, All-American selection twice, and is Arizona State's all-time interceptions leader. He started all four years as a Sun Devil, and continued to star at the next level. The New England Patriots took him with their first pick in 1976, and he did not disappoint, nabbing a Rookie of the Year honor and second team All-NFL selection.

He is a member of three different football Halls of Fame. He was inducted to Arizona State's in 1977, the college football Hall of Fame in 2001, and most impressively, the NFL Hall of Fame in 1997.


Eric Allen: He played on arguably Arizona State's most successful team when the Sun Devils beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl after the 1986 season and went 2-1 in his bowl career. Allen recorded 15 interceptions in his career from 1984-87, including eight in his senior season.

That 1987 season also included touchdowns off interceptions and 185 yards, easily his best season. He was also an All-Pac-10 selection and AP All-American honorable mention.

He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 1988 NFL draft, where he spent 16 years in the league and made six Pro Bowls with the Eagles, New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders, and was inducted into Arizona State's Hall of Fame in 2008.


Phillippi Sparks: He only spent two years at Arizona State, but he made them count. In 1990, he was named as an All-Pac-10 cornerback second team, then worked his way up to first team in 1991. His second year also saw him named a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award fro the nation's best defensive back. He was also invited to postseason all-star games, the Hula Bowl and Senior Bowl, and excelled as a kick returner.

Sparks also has an impressive professional resume, playing nine years in the NFL with the New York Giants. He recorded 22 interceptions in 99 games, then retired after the 1999 season. He made a comeback the next year with the Dallas Cowboys, nabbing five interceptions in 18 games, including two playoff games.

The Giants selected him in the second round of the NFL draft in 1992. He was inducted into the Arizona State Hall of Fame in 2004.

Mike Martinez, Brett Hudson and Omar Bolden make up the "All Sun Devils second team" cornerbacks.

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