Bowling Ball: Numerous Versatile Athletes Played Hoops After FB Bowl Game

There have been a striking number of hoopers over the years contributing to bowl football teams prior to switching from the gridiron to the hardwood. Former South Carolina football wide receiver/basketball guard Bruce Ellington, after throwing a touchdown pass to the Gamecocks' quarterback on a reverse and catching a go-ahead TD pass in the second half of the Capital One Bowl against Wisconsin four years ago, is among the all-time Top 10 "Men For All Seasons."

In an era of specialization, research reveals Ellington is the first major-college basketball regular to compete the same academic school year in three consecutive football bowl games. He joined Terry Baker (Oregon State), Mike Bush (Washington State), Rick Casares (Florida), Ronald Curry (North Carolina), Charles Davis (Purdue), Pete "Bump" Elliott (Michigan), Fred Gibson (Georgia), Teyo Johnson (Stanford), Matt Jones (Arkansas), Terry Kirby (Virginia), Dave Logan (Colorado) and Tony "Zippy" Morocco (Georgia) as athletes who scored a touchdown in a bowl game shortly before or after switching uniforms and making significant contributions to the school's basketball squad. Ellington, after pacing USC in pass receptions, cut short both his college football and basketball career by declaring early for the NFL draft (started two of three early-season hoop contests).

In the ultimate one-and-only achievement, Baker is the lone football Heisman Trophy winner to play in the basketball Final Four (1963). Kirby, a running back, and Matt Blundin, a quarterback, were teammates who competed in back-to-back years for Virginia football squads in bowl games (Florida Citrus following 1989 season and Sugar following 1990) before becoming members of Cavaliers hoop teams participating in the NCAA playoffs.

Michigan State's Andre Rison is among a striking number of athletes who "crafted" playing both sports at the highest collegiate level in the same school year. NFL all-time great tight end Tony Gonzalez (California) is among the following alphabetical list of versatile athletes since the end of World War II who played in at least one football bowl game the same school year they were a hoop regular (bowl year denotes when regular season was played):

Football-Basketball Player College FB Pos. Bowl Game(s) Two-Way Athlete Summary in Same Academic School Year
Doug Atkins Tennessee DE 1950 Cotton Eventual NFL first-round pick helped defeat Texas 20-14 before averaging 9.9 ppg for Volunteers' basketball squad.
Terry Baker Oregon State QB 1962 Liberty MVP's 99-yard run from scrimmage accounted for only points in 6-0 victory against Villanova before becoming runner-up in scoring (13.4 ppg) with Beavers' NCAA Tournament fourth-place finisher.
Connor Barwin Cincinnati TE 2006 International One solo tackle in 27-24 triumph against Western Michigan before averaging 1.2 ppg and 1.4 rpg for Bearcats' basketball team.
Matt Blundin Virginia QB 1989 Florida Citrus/1990 Sugar Backup in two defeats (31-21 vs. Illinois and 23-22 vs. Tennessee) while averaging 3.3 ppg and 4.6 rpg with two NCAA playoff teams for Cavaliers.
Larry Brown Georgia TE 1997 Outback Defeated Wisconsin 33-6 before averaging 6.3 ppg and 4.2 rpg for Bulldogs' NIT third-place team.
Mike Bush Washington State WR 2001 Sun A 46-yard TD reception helped defeat Purdue 33-27 before becoming Cougars' third-leading scorer with 10.9 ppg as hoop senior.
Rick Casares Florida FB-PK 1952 Gator Rushed 21 times for 86 yards, scoring first TD in Gators' bowl history, and kicked both extra points in 14-13 nod over Tulsa before All-SEC second-team selection paced hoop squad in scoring (15.5 ppg) and rebounding (11.5 rpg).
Rip Collins Louisiana State FB 1947 Cotton All-SEC pick helped LSU secure 15-1 edge in first downs and 255-54 advantage in net yards rushing in 0-0 tie with Arkansas in standoff known as Ice Bowl because of sleet and snow before earning letter for school's hoop squad.
Ed Crawford Mississippi DB 1955 Sugar Thwarted any comeback attempt by TCU with interception in Rebels' 14-13 win in 1956 Cotton Bowl after 21-0 Sugar Bowl setback against Navy previous year before earning hoops letter as 6-3 forward.
Ronald Curry North Carolina QB 1998 Las Vegas Curry's 48-yard TD scamper put Tar Heels in front to stay in 20-13 win over San Diego State before averaging 2.8 ppg and 1.7 apg for hoop squad upset in first round of NCAA playoffs by Weber State.
Charles Davis Purdue TE 2004 Sun His 6-yard TD reception from Kyle Orton put Boilermakers ahead with just over one minute remaining but Arizona State marched 80 yards in four plays to win 27-23 before Davis averaged 2.9 ppg and 3.1 rpg in coach Gene Keady's swan song.
Matt Davison Nebraska SE 1999 Fiesta Leading Husker receiver in three bowl games, including 31-21 nod over Tennessee, before starting two Big 12 Conference basketball contests.
Rickey Dudley Ohio State TE 1994 Florida Citrus Caught two passes for 26 yards in 24-17 setback against Alabama before averaging team-high 7.5 rpg.
Bruce Ellington South Carolina WR 2011 Capital One/2012 Outback/2013 Capital One Season-long 45-yard kickoff return in 30-13 win over Nebraska and caught game-winning TD pass with only seconds remaining in 33-28 victory against Michigan before averaging 10.5 ppg while finishing Gamecocks' leader in either assists or steals.
Pete "Bump" Elliott Michigan B 1947 Rose Bowl Rushed seven times for 53 yards and caught 1-yard TD pass in 49-0 romp over Southern California before averaging 6 ppg for Wolverine hoopsters.
Percy Ellsworth Virginia S 1994 Independence Integral part of defense leading nation in interceptions helped Cavaliers end four-game bowl losing streak with 20-10 verdict over TCU before appearing in all four contests with Midwest Regional runner-up in NCAA tourney.
James Francis Baylor LB 1986 Bluebonnet Eventual NFL first-round pick helped Bears beat Colorado 21-9 before averaging 2.2 ppg and 2.2 rpg while shooting 52.2% from floor.
Fred Gibson Georgia WR 2001 Music City Opened scoring with 15-yard TD reception but Boston College rallied to prevail 20-16 before Gibson averaged 4.9 ppg with Bulldogs' NCAA playoff team.
Tony Gonzalez California TE 1996 Aloha Established Cal bowl record with nine receptions in 42-38 reversal against Navy before averaging 6.8 ppg and 4.5 rpg with Bears' squad losing against North Carolina in East Regional semifinals.
Gregg Guenther Southern California TE 2003 Rose Part-time starter for national champion managed one reception for 19 yards from QB Matt Leinart in 28-14 win against Michigan before averaging 5.6 ppg and 4.7 rpg with Trojans' hoop squad.
Ross Hales Indiana TE 1993 Independence Caught 34-yard pass in second quarter of 45-20 loss against Virginia Tech before making token appearance for Coach Bob Knight in Hoosiers' 67-58 win over Temple in NCAA playoffs.
Cecil Hankins Oklahoma A&M B 1945 Cotton Two-way back and top pass receive for Aggies team that trounced TCU before playing forward and leading basketball squad in scoring in NCAA playoffs for 1945 national titlist.
Joe Howard Notre Dame WR 1983 Liberty Caught one pass for 43 yards in 19-18 decision over Doug Flutie-led Boston College before averaging 5.5 ppg and 3.3 apg as part-time starter with Irish NIT runner-up.
Teyo Johnson Stanford WR 2001 Seattle A 4-yard fourth-quarter TD reception closed gap prior to bowing against Georgia Tech 24-14 before averaging 5.8 ppg and 4 rpg with Cardinal NCAA playoff squad.
Matt Jones Arkansas QB 2003 Independence Scored go-ahead TD, rushed 7 times for 74 yards and completed 6 of 14 passes in 27-14 verdict over Missouri before averaging 5 ppg and 4.5 rpg as Hogs hoop freshman.
Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones Kentucky SE 1947 Great Lakes Leader in pass receptions from QB George Blanda under legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant for squad beating Villanova 24-14. All-SEC first-team selection in basketball averaged 9.3 ppg for Adolph Rupp's 1948 NCAA titlist.
Bronson Kaufusi Brigham Young DE 2012 Poinsettia Recorded sack in 23-6 victory against San Diego State before collecting 21 points and 34 rebounds in 20 hoop games for NIT semifinalist.
Corbin Kaufusi Brigham Young DL 2016 Poinsettia Posted four tackles in 24-21 triumph against Wyoming before 6-10 center collected 10 points and 15 rebounds in 16 hoop games for BYU.
Jeff King Virginia Tech TE 2004 Sugar Caught three passes for 12 yards in 16-13 setback against Auburn before collecting 18 points and 23 rebounds in 16 games as hoop freshman with Hokies.
Terry Kirby Virginia RB 1989 Florida Citrus/1990 Sugar Rushed for 139 yards in 29 carries with one TD in losses against Illinois (31-21) and Tennessee (23-22) before averaging 2.8 ppg in two seasons with Cavaliers' hoops squad.
Dave Logan Colorado WR 1975 Bluebonnet His 4-yard TD reception gave Buffaloes 14-0 lead prior to them succumbing against Texas 38-21 before becoming basketball team's runner-up in scoring (12.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.5 rpg).
Leonard Mitchell Houston DE 1978 Cotton UH squandered 34-12 lead when Joe Montana-led Notre Dame scored 23 unanswered points in fourth quarter to win by one before Mitchell averaged 5.4 ppg and 5.6 rpg for Cougars' hoop squad.
Tony "Zippy" Morocco Georgia HB 1950 Presidential Cup Scored two second-half touchdowns (30-yard run from scrimmage and 65-yard punt return) as Co-MVP in 40-20 setback against Texas A&M before averaging 9.7 ppg with Bulldogs' basketball team.
Andre Rison Michigan State WR 1987 Rose Had two long pass receptions (55 and 36 yards) in a 20-17 win against USC before registering 24 points and 42 assists in 18 games for the Spartans' basketball squad.
Nate Robinson Washington CB 2002 Sun His QB sack helped Huskies get off to strong start before bowing against Purdue 34-24 prior to freshman pacing hoopsters in scoring (13 ppg).
Reggie Rogers Washington DL 1984 Orange Eventual NFL first-round draft choice helped upend Oklahoma 28-17 before averaging 5.7 ppg and 3.9 rpg with Huskies' hoop squad.
Bill Saul Penn State LB 1959 Liberty Defeated Alabama 7-0 before averaging 6.1 ppg and 4 rpg with Nittany Lions' hoopsters.
Otto Schnellbacher Kansas E 1947 Orange Football co-captain finished career with records for receptions (58) and receiving yards (1,069) standing for 22 years. Leading scorer for KU's hoop squad in 1947-48.
Dick Schnittker Ohio State E 1950 Rose Rushed once for five yards in 17-14 victory against California before All-Big Ten Conference first-team selection was game-high scorer in two 1950 NCAA playoff contests for Buckeyes.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins Washington TE 2011 Alamo Caught five passes for 59 yards in highest-scoring regulation bowl game in history (67-56 loss to RGIII-led Baylor) before collecting seven points and nine rebounds in four NIT contests for Huskies' semifinalist.
Dick Soergel Oklahoma State QB 1958 Bluegrass Completed 6 of 12 passes for 77 yards and 2-point conversion in 15-6 win against Florida State before averaging 8.5 ppg and 4.9 rpg for Pokes' basketball squad plus posting 8-1 pitching record and winning national championship baseball game.
Wilson Thomas Nebraska WR 2001 Rose Huskers leading receiver caught three passes for 36 yards in 37-14 loss against Miami (Fla.) before averaging 4.6 ppg and 3.8 rpg.
Willie Townsend Notre Dame WR 1972 Orange Irish's top pass catcher and teammates lost to Johnny Rodgers-led Nebraska 40-6 before averaging 2.1 ppg for Digger Phelps-coached hoop squad.
Charlie Ward Florida State QB 1992 Orange/1993 Orange Completed 39-of-73 passes for 473 yards in back-to-back victories over Nebraska (27-14 and 18-16) while pacing FSU in assists and steals average his final two hoop campaigns.
Ron Widby Tennessee P 1965 Bluebonnet/1966 Gator Nation's top punter for coach Doug Dickey's second of first two Vols football teams that both went to bowl games (wins over Tulsa 27-6 and Syracuse 18-12) while also being an All-SEC basketball selection (including 50-point outburst in final home game).