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ASU Football: 'Summer of Legends' No. 63 Mike Tomco

Between 1969 and 1974, the two players who wore No. 63 were among the most successful linemen in the Frank Kush era.

With Mike Tomco playing guard, ASU won the 1970 Peach Bowl against North Carolina.
With Mike Tomco playing guard, ASU won the 1970 Peach Bowl against North Carolina.
ASU Athletics

The Backstory: While tomorrow's competition for a spot in our "Sun Devil Legends" series won't be much of a fight (Randall McDaniel wore No. 62), we had a tough decision to make today. Two outstanding offensive guards who competed in the early 1970s were up for our honors and it was tough to differentiate their impressive resumes.

One of the most interesting anecdotes about No. 63 is that between 1969 and 1974, both Sun Devils who wore this jersey number appeared on an All Western Athletic Conference list each year. That's because when Mike Tomco gave up the number, John Houser took over and continued the tradition of excellence for the maroon and gold.

The Legend: Mike Tomco (1969-1971)

By now, seeing players from the late 1960s and early 1970s appear in our "Sun Devil Legends" series has become a recurring theme. Let's face it. Coach Frank Kush was excellent at converting potential and talent into production and execution.

Mike Tomco is no exception to that rule as the powerful blocker became a three-year starter for Kush's program in one of the most successful eras at Arizona State.

In 1969, Tomco took over at right tackle and helped the Sun Devils to an 8-2 record that included a season-ending victory over the Arizona Wildcats. That season, Tomco was recognized as a First Team All Western Athletic Conference player.

Upon the graduation of center Ron Coyle, the Sun Devil coaching staff shifted the versatile Tomco to center for the 1970 season. Tomco was rewarded and named a team captain and his leadership helped take the Sun Devils to new heights. Arizona State went a perfect 11-0 and concluded its season with a resounding 48-26 victory over North Carolina in the Peach Bowl.

After earning All Conference honors for the second straight season, Tomco continued to take his game to the next level. As a senior, Tomco started at center and was named a Third Team All-American by the Associated Press. Tomco's efforts helped Arizona State to an 11-1 record that included a thrilling 45-38 victory over Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Honorable Mention

John Houser: If we were to select an All-Honorable Mention team from our "Sun Devil Legends" series, John Houser would be among our top picks. Houser took over in No. 63 upon Tomco's graduation and left quite a mark on the number.

Houser was a two-time First Team All WAC guard as well as a three-year starter on some very impressive Sun Devil teams. In 1974, Houser was recognized by the Associated Press as an Honorable Mention All-American.