Mailbag: Mount Rushmore reactions

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Opening the mailbag for some initial reactions to my Mount Rushmore series:

Jason from New Brunswick, N.J., writes: The whole Mount Rushmore topic was fun to read. Regarding the Rutgers one, one very important player was left out. You can ask any Rutgers fan the last 10 years who was most important person to the program. Besides Greg Schiano, they will say Brian Leonard. He is legendary at Rutgers, much more so then Ray Rice, believe it or not.

Brian Bennett: I received a lot of support for Leonard. Shame on me for not mentioning him in my others to consider. Given that so much of Rutgers' success has come recently, I'm all for adding Leonard to the mountain and dropping one of the two old-timers.

Chris Pore from Parts Unknown writes: Greg Cook led the nation in total offense in 1968 and was a No. 1 draft pick before winning rookie of the year as a Bengal...unfortunately, he followed that up with a career ending injury in year two. No doubt, Cook would be HOF if not for the injury Also, 1968...Jim O'Brien (receiver & kicker) led the nation in scoring... two years later he kicked the winning FG in the Colts' Super Bowl victory!

Brian Bennett: Quite a few readers wrote in to say Cook belongs on Cincinnati's Rushmore. While I was aware of Cook, I didn't realize how popular he was among Bearcats fans, or how highly regarded he was in the area. He strikes me as a guy the average college football fan would not know. I think we could bump Rick Minter and insert Cook in his place. I still find it surprising how Cincinnati's list of greatest players fails to measure up to the other schools in this league, for the most part. That does seem to be changing now, at least.

Jim from Pittsburgh writes: I have some suggestions for Pitt's Mount Rushmore. Tony Dorsett, Hugh Green, Larry Fitzgerald and Dan Marino. You could also make a case for Mark May, Mike Ditka and Bill Fralic.

Brian Bennett: Our lists are the same, except I had Ditka in for Fitzgerald. Either one is a fine choice, though Fitzgerald did play just two seasons in college.

Greg Budzban from Carbondale writes: As a USF alum here's my take on the Bulls: 1) Jim Leavitt built the program from scratch. The fact that it's still less than 12 years since playing their first game against Kentucky Wesleyan, and people can (rightly?) say that the program has recently underachieved by going to four bowls in four years in the Big East, is a testament to the extraordinary job Leavitt has done. 2) George Selvie: The program's first concensus All-American. 'nuff said. 3) Matt Grothe: While MG's inconsistency can be infuriating at times, no one can doubt his competitive fire. Hard to find too much fault with the player who, barring the unforeseen, will graduate as the all-time yardage leader in the Big East. 4) Marquel Blackwell: The QB who took the Bulls from I-AA to I-A and led to them to their first marquee win at Pitt in 2001. Blackwell's senior season in 2002 ended 9-2 and produced what is still, arguably, their finest season. Other candidates: Anthony Henry, Kawika Mitchell, Andre Hall, Mike Jenkins.

Brian Bennett: That's a pretty good list. I had the first three but went with Jenkins over Blackwell. I can see the case for both. I chose Jenkins because Blackwell's success came against some inferior competition early on, while Jenkins played in the Big East era. But somebody had to get them there.