As we continue the BYU Football Top 100 players countdown we hit player No. 92 on the list.
92 days from now we’ll all be at work unable to concentrate. Tapping our pencils, hitting our heads on the keyboard and watching Youtube videos of Beck to Harline. That is sort of what happens when you go more than 230 days without BYU Football, 175 days without football period and it just so happens that the first game of the season is the Holy War on a Thursday night… yeah work isn’t going to be very productive that day.
Originally, my thought was to always have a second page that would feature the player in our countdown with a bit of a story before going into the rankings and then breaking down the impact, statistics and memorable moments of that player. As I researched, tapped my pencil, hit my head on the keyboard and watched Youtube videos including Beck to Harline I realized that for today’s player and quite possibly for another dozen or so other players on this that it just isn’t realistic or possible to get statistics or memorable moments from certain players. This is especially true when those players played in the 1960’s and were linemen.
Player No. 92 Gordon Gravelle – Lineman – 1967-1971
Gordon Gravelle played for BYU during a time when running the football was the main focus of the offense. In fact in 1967, Marc Lyons was the quarterback and he threw for only 1310 yards. To put some perspective on that, this season that would have put Lyons as 127th in the nation only ahead of Georgia Tech, Army, Georgia Southern and Navy, all option running teams.
So to be successful, linemen had to be be big, quick and strong to help the running backs get up the field. I watched a few highlights from this time period (there aren’t many) and honestly I couldn’t make out which player was Gravelle because of the fuzziness of the cameras back then, but what I was able to see was that for a offense to work at that time, the backbone of the team was the linemen.
Something else that showed me how good Gordon Gravelle was is the fact that he was named an All-American second teamer in 1971. That season, the Cougars went 5-6 overall meaning that Gravelle likely was the best lineman in the country that season in college football but because of it being a team from the WAC (sixth best conference that season) and that he came from a losing team, he was not awarded with the top award. In total he earned second-team All-American recognition from the AP, UPI and Universal Sports.
After playing at BYU, Gravelle went on to play in the NFL for eight seasons and played in three super bowls, winning two of them (IX and X) with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2012 Gravelle was added to the BYU Sports Hall of Fame being the sixth lineman to ever join that group alongside 32 other players.
Although we do not have the statistics, video or memorable moments that we like to see from players in this countdown, there is no question that Gordon Gravelle absolutely deserves a spot on this list. He is in a sense the unknown hero, the player who received all the awards but yet we can’t find anything about him.
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If you have missed any of the other stories in out Countdown be sure to check them out here and come back tomorrow as we unveil No. 91!