September 16, 2021

Iowa State Football’s Name Hall of Fame

With college basketball wrapped up and spring football in full swing, many sports fans are turning to football previews for the upcoming season and pulling up the rosters to familiarize themselves with the new faces on the team. So that’s exactly what I did too, going down the roster to dig into some of the names I maybe hadn’t heard of yet. That quickly turned into a fascination with some fantastic football names on Iowa State’s current roster.

Blaze Doxzon.
Benjamin Dunkleberger.
Stevo Klotz.
Koby Hathcock.

And that got me thinking—what are the best names to ever play football at Iowa State? I’m not talking about the Troy Davis’s of the world who excelled on the field, I’m talking about the players who excelled on the back of their jerseys. The ones who commentators have circled on their cheat sheets because they simply want to say their name. So I did some digging, and to my delight, the list of elite football names was longer than I could have imagined.

Sadly, I had to make some considerable cuts to keep the list somewhat concise. I’m sure there are many I missed and you may have some personal favorites that got left out, but I did what I could to bring you the best names to wear the cardinal and gold. I broke them down into sub-teams and ordered them by year, and I’ve skipped the football stats and backstories just so we can focus on the real task at hand: Awesome names.

All-Alliteration Team

JOCK JOHNSON • RB • 6-0, 193 • DES MOINES, IOWA • 1968-69 // JUDGE JOHNSTON • P • 6-1, 183 • SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA • 1987-89
BOB BANGER • LB • 6-0, 210 • DES PLAINES, ILLINOIS • 1970-72
CAL CUMMINS • RB • 5-11, 200 • FREEPORT, ILLINOIS • 1976-77
BLAISE BRYANT • RB • 6-0, 200 • HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA • 1989-90
RUDY RUFFOLO • DL • 6-3, 261 • KENOSHA, WISCONSIN • 1994-97

I love alliterations, but this group has more to offer than satisfying consonant similarities. A linebacker named Banger. A running back named Blaise. Imagine all the Cummins engine jokes you could make for a running back named Cal. This is one of those lists that will make announcers salivate.

All-Noun Team

RICH MANN • QB • 5-10, 170 • SPENCER, IOWA • 1951-52
CLIFF RICK • P • 5-10, 172 • TULSA, OKLAHOMA • 1958-60
THERMAN COUCH • DL • 6-3, 219 • CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA • 1969-70
MIKE BUSCH • TE • 6-5, 252 • DONAHUE, IOWA • 1986-89
IVORY MHOON • WR • 5-7, 172 • DAVENPORT, IOWA • 1994
STEELE JANTZ • QB • 6-3, 225 • AGOURA HILLS, CALIFORNIA • 2011-12

This list has some great diversity—All-American Mike Busch makes the list thanks to Iowans’ obsession with the light beer also named Busch, while Ivory Mhoon is just a beautiful, descriptive, badass name. You think Rich Mann threw dimes to his receivers? Also, Cliff Rick? You kidding me? And topping it off with Steele Jantz, one of the greatest names in all of football… just a great list.

All-Celebrity Team

BOB EVANS • DL • 6-0, 228 • JOLIET, ILLINOIS • 1965-66
MIKE TYSON • RB • 5-11, 190 • CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA • 1973
TONY HAWKINS • DB • 6-0, 186 • ONONDAGA, NEW YORK • 1974-76
KEVIN HART • DB • 5-11, 180 • KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI • 1976-77

I realize Tony Hawkins isn’t a true celebrity name and many of these came before their celebrity counterparts became famous, but you can imagine my shock when I saw “Mike Tyson” come across the list. I also hope Bob made some mean dorm room mashed potatoes. 

All-Full Name Team

J. W. BURDEN • RB • 5-9, 159 • PORTSMOUTH, VIRGINIA • 1959-61
ROOSEVELT ELLERBE • WR • 6-2, 190 • CAMPBELL, OHIO • 1964
LUTHER BLUE • WR • 6-0, 188 • VALDOSTA, GEORGIA • 1974-76
MICKEY LEAFBLAD • WR • 6-3, 223 • GURNEE, ILLINOIS • 1976-79
SYLVESTER NICKERSON • RB • 6-0, 207 • GRAND ISLAND, NEBRASKA • 1986-88
HUSSEIN WARMACK • RB • 6-3, 237 • DETROIT, MICHIGAN • 1989-93
KEMP KNIGHTEN • DB • 5-11, 210 • HIALEAH, FLORIDA • 1994-98
HIAWATHA RUTLAND • RB • 6-0, 208 • BRADENTON, FLORIDA • 2000-02
ROOSEVELT MAGGITT • DL • 6-3, 244 • RIVIERA, FLORIDA • 2009-11
KURT HAMMERSCHMIDT • TE • 6-6, 272 • CHESTERFIELD, MISSOURI • 2009-12
KIRBY VAN DER KAMP • P • 6-4, 211 • WEST DES MOINES, IOWA • 2010-13
MARTINEZ SYRIA • RB • 6-0, 205 • HUMBLE, TEXAS • 2014

This group of names doesn’t have a theme other than being awesome, both first and last name. Hiawatha Rutland was always one of my favorite football names growing up, but so many others feel so regal and badass. Luther Blue sounds like the underdog wide receiver that everybody loved. J. W. Burden was definitely the most mysterious man on the team. And you know you’re in trouble when a guy named Kirby with three last names is lining up to either pin you deep in your own territory or fake a punt for a first down.

And last but certainly not least…

All-NSFW Team

DICK COX • RB • 6-0, 185 • AMES, IOWA • 1951
DICK WAGER • RB • 5-11, 176 • DAVENPORT, IOWA • 1953
DICK LIMERICK • PK • 6-1, 205 • SIOUX CITY, IOWA • 1963
MARC BUTTS • DL • 6-2, 265 • DES MOINES, IOWA • 1978-81
CONNOR ASSALLEY • PK • 6-0, 191 • NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS • 2018-2020

Marc Butts is funny. Connor Assalley has obviously had his time in the spotlight. But can you even imagine what social media would have done if Dick Cox rammed his way in through a tight hole for a touchdown? And while I’m not 100% sure on the pronunciation for Dick Wager, I’m hoping it’s like the sports bet and not a verb for his… well, never mind. But honestly, Dick Limerick may be my favorite name on the entire list.

So what was your favorite Cyclone football name? Please share your best Dick Limerick with me on Twitter to celebrate this list of great names and let me know which ones I missed.

Chaplin
Alex Gookin 38 Articles
Staff Writer

Gookin is an Iowa State graduate with a degree in journalism, but decided writing professionally wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Instead, he took an unpaid position to write content for this blog, which seems counter-intuitive, but he enjoys it, nonetheless. Gookin was voted male with the “Most School Spirit,” and 2nd most flirtatious in his senior class. He enjoys statistics no one else has the patience to look up and enjoys Iowa State athletics more than he’s willing to admit. A closet Hawkeye fan (false), you can find Alex being harassed by at least one bad Twitter troll and winning nearly all of his online fights (less false, but false).

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