Raghib "Rocket" Ismail was a two-time first-team All-American.

Summer Football Fix...Greatest College Athletes

July 5, 2006

Fifty-nine days and counting down until kickoff against Georgia Tech on Sept. 2 (see the countdown ticker on the right side of the front page from und.com for the exact hour and minutes until kickoff). Thirty-two days and counting down until Football Media Day on Sunday, Aug. 6. The und.com Summer Football Fix continues…

The University of Notre Dame placed three representatives – Raghib Ismail, Bob Golic and Jeff Samardzija — on the Sports Illustrated On Campus listing of the Top 15 Greatest College Athletes of All-Time. Ismail ranked ninth, Golic 12th and Samardzija 14th.

To make the list, athletes must have excelled in more than one sport at the college level. Notre Dame was the only school to produce three members of the list. North Carolina, UCLA and Florida State produced two each, and six other institutions produced one each.

Here’s the full list:

1. Jim Brown, Syracuse (football and lacrosse)
2. Jackie Robinson, UCLA (football, basketball, baseball, track and field)
3. Bo Jackson, Auburn (football and baseball)
4. Charlie Ward, Florida State (football and basketball)
5. Deion Sanders, Florida State (football, baseball and track and field)
6. Dave Winfield, Minnesota (basketball and baseball)
7. Marion Jones, North Carolina (basketball and track and field)
8. Jackie Joyner-Kersee, UCLA (basketball and track and field)
9. Raghib Ismail, Notre Dame (football and track and field)
10. Brian Jordan, Richmond (football and baseball)
11. Wilt Chamberlain, Kansas (basketball and track and field)
12. Bob Golic, Notre Dame (football and wrestling)
13. John Elway, Stanford (football and baseball)
14. Jeff Samardzija, Note Dame (football and baseball)
15. Julius Peppers, North Carolina (football and basketball)

The runnerup for the 1990 Heisman Trophy, Ismail was a unanimous All-American as a flanker/kick returner as a junior in ’90 and also was named Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year that season. The Wilkes-Barre, Pa., product started as a rookie on the ’88 national title team and was an Associated Press first-team All-American as a sophomore in ’89. He set an NCAA record by twice returning two kickoffs for touchdowns in a game (Rice 1988, Michigan 1989). In indoor track, Ismail ran 6.07 in the 55 meters in ’90 to break Tim Brown’s Irish record — and then finished second in the NCAA indoor 55 meters in ’91 to win All-America honors.

A member of Notre Dame’s 1977 national championship squad, Golic was a unanimous All-America linebacker in football in 1978. His 479 career tackles set an all-time Irish record, as did his single-game high of 26 versus Michigan in 1978. From Willowick, Ohio, he also excelled in wrestling, finishing fourth nationally in the NCAA heavyweight division in 1977 and third in 1976. He ended his career with a 54-4-1 record.

Samardzija burst onto the scene in football in 2005 as he tied the Notre Dame record for single-season receptions with 77 for a record 1,249 yards and a record 15 TD receptions on his way to consensus All-America honors. From Valparaiso, Ind., he also starred as a baseball pitcher, was a fifth-round pick by the Chicago Cubs in the 2006 Major League Baseball draft (he was rated one of the top 20 potential selections) and is now pitching for the Cubs’ Class A short-season team in Boise. Samardzija, who will return for his final season on the Notre Dame football field in 2006, finished with a 21-6 career record as a pitcher for the Irish – including an 8-1 record in ’05 and an 8-2 mark in ’06 on his way to all-BIG EAST Conference honors.