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Sun Devil Legends Series: No. 91 Jimmy Verdon

The trend of great defensive lineman and team captains continues as our countdown moves along.

Jimmy Verdon usually let his game do the talking.
Jimmy Verdon usually let his game do the talking.
Will Phillips (ASU Athletics)

The Backstory: Our "Summer of Legends" series rolls along to No. 91. Through the first eight numbers, we've seen mostly defensive ends and even a few team captains and that trend continues.

Unlike some of the other 90s, No. 91 presented us with a challenge because there was more than one deserving candidate. Jimmy Verdon took in All-Pac-10 honors, but he did so in an era when honors became easier to earn. Ben Apuna was a team leader in tackles, but his contributions get lost in the fray because he played alongside Al Harris and Bob Kohrs.

Finally, placekicker Mike Richey also had his name in the mix, but it was just too difficult to give Richey the distinction of our legend at No. 91 against a defensive menace like Verdon.

The Player: No. 91 Jimmy Verdon (2001-2004)

At 6-foot-4 and checking in around 280 lbs., Jimmy Verdon was an force to be reckoned with in the trenches. The three-year starter was a mainstay along the defensive line because of a great work ethic he developed back in high school.

The Pomona, California native was a highly touted recruit, and he did not disappoint the Arizona State brass. Despite not starting his freshman year, he saw valuable action in every game and earned the trust of the coaching staff.

The following season, Verdon was named an Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 performer as he recorded 6.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.

As a junior, Verdon did not take home any national hardware, but he was recognized as the Outstanding Defensive Lineman by the football program. He used his success as motivation, as Verdon soared to new heights in his senior campaign.

In his final season, Verdon was named a Team Captain and earned Second Team All-Pac-10 honors. However, his favorite memory from the year might be a fumble recovery that he returned 24 yards for a touchdown against the Arizona Wildcats.

Verdon was honored as the team's Defensive MVP in 2004 and capped off his career by participating in a few different College All-Star games.

In the Pros

Verdon was drafted in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints. Before he could latch on, Verdon was waived and he joined the Atlanta Falcons.

Verdon eventually bounced from the Cincinnati Bengals to the Hamburg Sea Devils of NFL Europa before joining the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Honorable Mentions

Ben Apuna: A defensive stalwart in 1978 and 1979, Apuna led the Sun Devils in tackles with 99 in 1978. His eight tackles for loss also stood alone atop the team that season, and it's all the more impressive considering he played on a team that included a few future NFL players.

Mike Richey: For young ASU fans, it's hard to imagine the Sun Devils having a solid kicking game. However, the maroon and gold have produced plenty of great kickers including Richey, who led the team in scoring in 1990 and 1991 and earned All-Pac-10 honors.

Other Famous 91s

Sergei Federov: Renowned for having the fastest slap shot in the NHL, Federov won three Stanley Cups and scored more than 400 goals in his career.

Dennis Rodman: Rodman is among the greatest rebounders in NBA history, but his personality has always said more about him than his game.