The Backstory: Sideline to sideline, decade-to-decade, the tradition of elite linebackers at ASU doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon. Today, we honor a hometown product who attended Alhambra High School in Phoenix, Arizona, and went into the state's high school sports hall of fame. Bob Breunig clearly deserves the honors as the premier Sun Devil to rock number 50.
His versatile nature made Breunig rare, playing fullback and running back prior to college, while also earning AAA heavyweight champion status in wrestling.
The Player: Bob Breunig (1971-1974)
The success of ASU football during Breunig's playing days can't solely be attributed to his uncanny production, yet it did contribute heavily. Breunig sports an all-time 28-8 record for Frank Kush, headlined by two 10 win seasons.
Despite the hype, switching positions from offense to linebacker caused Breunig to sit out his freshman season and could have hurt his confidence. On the contrary, after lots of coaching and hard work, the learning curve appeared easy. In 1972, as one of the Sun Devil starting linebackers, Bruenig accumulated a team high 91 tackles.
Everyone throughout town knew Breunig could get the job done, but everyone throughout the country knew Breuning could get the job done after posting 19 tackles against the Air Force Academy. The breakout performance foreshadowed excellence for years to come.
In Breunig's junior and senior season, he combined to wrap up for 273 tackles and paved the way to Larry Gordon, number 53 in our series. At the end of Breunig's career, he left the valley of the sun with 353 tackles, the all-time best mark for the program.
The Dick Butkus award goes to the nation's top linebacker, and Breunig brought home the award in 1974. Breunig was a First-Team All-American in 1974, according to the Football Coaches of America, Sporting News and Times. Breunig was a Second-Team All-American in 1974, according to the Associated Press and UPI.com.
Therefore, earning All-Western Athletic Conference awards became second nature. Breunig made First-Team All-Conference every year he started, from 1972-194.
At the Hula Bowl, Breunig dominated the game and received MVP honors. Beyond the never ending list of accomplishments, Breunig had the respect of the locker room, as a two-time team captain.
In the Pros: Slipping to the third round and 70th overall disappointed Breunig, but it only fueled the fire. The Dallas Cowboys made the selection, and reaped the benefits. Breunig's college ability transferred over the to NFL, going to the pro bowl three times.
Who Wears it Now: No current ASU players wears number 50. Maybe they are scared about living up to Breunig?
Levi Jones - Protecting the blindside of the quarterback ranks among the more important responsibilities in football. Jones consistently kept the pocket clean while at left tackle. Jones will be remembered most because of his 2001 Second-Team All-American performance. In addition, he ranked among the smartest students in the Pac-10 conference.