The Backstory: In selecting our legend at No. 26, the House of Sparky staff enjoyed quite a debate. Everyone remembers Sun Devil running back Ryan Torain, and his 2006 season is one of the best an Arizona State back produced in the 21st century.
But choosing Torain would have been the easy way out. Torain is a fan favorite and a recent standout, but our research tells us there's someone better. After digging through the history books, a three-way star became the obvious choice at No. 26.
As a running back, defensive back, and returner, Tony Lorick helped define meaning of an all-purpose performer.
The Player: Tony Lorick (1961-1963)
Like so many of our legends, Tony Lorick played for the most influential coach in Arizona State history in Frank Kush. Unlike many of our legends, Lorick contributed in every facet of the game, and that's why he earns his status as today's selection.
In 1961, Lorick joined the Sun Devil squad in its last season as a Border Conference team. Though he didn't start, Lorick made an impression on Kush and his flair for the dramatic at practice helped him see plenty of action over the next two seasons.
In his second season, Lorick became the Sun Devils' starting halfback. But simply calling him a halfback would shortchange one of Arizona State's best athletes.
That year, Lorick rushed just 105 times, but accumulated 704 yards for a staggering 6.7 yards per carry. Lorick also doubled as the starting punt returner and his seven returns netted an average of more than 18 yards per return. More impressively, Lorick led the team with six kickoff returns for an average of 31 yards per return.
For his efforts, Lorick was named a Second Team All Western Conference performer in the Sun Devils' first season in the conference. However, the following season, his resume would look even better.
As a senior, Lorick carried the ball another 105 times, but this time his average improved to 7.7 yards per carry. He would finish his career with five 100-yard rushing outings, which trails Ryan Torain who had seven.
But Lorick didn't just rush the ball, he also defended against the pass. As a senior, Lorick led the Sun Devils in interceptions with four, and averaged over 25 yards per return. Simply put, with the ball in his hands, Lorick made people miss.
Lorick earned First Team All Western Conference honors in 1963, and also snagged a bevy of All-Star game invitations. Though his stats weren't overwhelming, his overall body of work makes him one of the top contributors in Arizona State history.
Ryan Torain: Torain enjoyed one of the finest seasons an Arizona State running back has had in the past decade as his 1,279 rushing yards ranks eighth in school history in terms of yardage. Torain was a Second Team All Pac-10 selection in 2006, and was named a team captain in 2007.