clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sun Devil Legends Series: No. 85 Clancy Osborne

The run of talented tight ends continues as we choose old-timer Clancy Osborne as our Sun Devil legend at No. 85

The "Tight End U" tradition continues on with No. 85 and Clancy Osborne
The "Tight End U" tradition continues on with No. 85 and Clancy Osborne

The Backstory: While the 90s are reserved for defensive linemen, the 80s have traditionally belonged to tight ends and receivers. However, at Arizona State, tight ends own the legacy when it comes to numbers 80-89.

Our "Summer of Legends" series continues with No. 85 and our selection as the greatest Sun Devil to rock the digits is our fourth consecutive tight end. In fact, No. 89 belongs to Ron Fair, but aside from his fantastic 1989 season, No. 89 very well could be in the hands of a Sun Devil tight end as well.

Today's selection forced us to turn back the clock, as we were once again forced to pit new-age production against old-time achievements. The choice wasn't easy, but Clancy Osborne was one of the best Sun Devils in the 1950s and he takes home the honors at No. 85.

The Player: Clancy Osborne (1955-1957)

Of our 15 selections, tight end Clancy Osborne takes the cake as the oldest Sun Devil legend to make our list thus far. Though we had to go deep into the history books to dig up our information, it was well worth our time as Osborne was a major on-field contributor during his time at Arizona State.

The Lubbock, Texas native came to Arizona State in 1955 and began his career as a tight end. By 1956, Osborne worked his way into the starting lineup and became a force to be reckoned with at the tight end position.

Catching passes from Sun Devil legend Bobby Mulgado, Osborne developed a reputation as a go-to target as well as a team leader. In 1956, the pair helped lead Arizona State to a 9-1 record, but his body of work was just getting started.

In 1957, Mulgado and Osborne became quite the duo as they were named co-Team Captains and carried that chemistry onto the field. That season, Osborne led the team with 20 receptions for 351 yards and three touchdowns. Osborne was named 1st Team All Border Conference and helped the Sun Devils to a 10-0 record that included a 47-7 shellacking of the Arizona Wildcats in the season finale.

In the Pros: Osborne was selected in the 27th round of the 1957 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams and went on to a successful professional career. Interestingly, Osborne made the transition from tight end to linebacker, but he never stopped catching passes.

Over a six-year career, Osborne intercepted eight passes including four during his 1961 campaign with the Minnesota Vikings.

Honorable Mentions

Clifton Alapa: The rare defensive end who wore No. 85, Alapa was actually an Honorable Mention All-American in 1974, but failed to regain his form over the next two seasons.

Ron Wetzel: Did we mention this is "Tight End U"? Wetzel was named an Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 performer in 1982 and his eight career touchdown catches show that he was a red-zone threat.

Kendrick Bates: Another tight end, another All-Pac-10 performer. The two-year starter was an Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 player in 1999.

Who Wears It Now?

Jordan Gaston: The freshman out of Riley, North Carolina is relatively unknown, but with a wide-open competition at receiver, he has a chance to make an impression on the coaching staff.

Other Famous 85s

Nick Buoniconti: Remember when the Dolphins went 17-0? If you're old enough to remember Clancy Osborne, then you definitely can recall the Hall of Fame middle linebacker who patrolled the field for Miami's perfect season.

Jack Youngblood: 151.5 sacks, 5 NFC Championship game appearances, and 7 Pro Bowls. That's quite a legacy for a man who played the 1979 playoffs with a broken leg.