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SOUTH DAKOTA'S NATIONAL RANK
No. 47 pro | No. 46 college | No. 41 high school
Jim Langer would have a spot carved in stone on a Mount Rushmore of South Dakota football players. He played linebacker at South Dakota State before the Dolphins turned him into a monumental Hall of Fame center in 1970. Quarterback Norm Van Brocklin was born in Eagle Butte. Halfback and kicker "Automatic Jack" Manders played with the Bears for eight seasons starting in 1933. John Dutton from Rapid City played 14 seasons in the NFL with the Colts and Cowboys.
With no Division I-A programs, South Dakota's best players have often drifted south to neighboring Nebraska. Offensive lineman Randy Schleusener, who made that move, is perhaps most famous for scoring on the "fumblerooskie" against Oklahoma in 1979. Larry Jacobson of Sioux Falls won the 1971 Outland Trophy at Nebraska. University of South Dakota greats include Ordell Braase, who played for the Colts from 1957-68. Pete Retzlaff, a South Dakota State grad spent 11 seasons with the Eagles in the 1950s and '60s.
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South Dakota might not be a football titan, but residents can hang their hat on being the home of three-time Super Bowl winner Adam Vinatieri, the best clutch kicker in NFL history. High school greats from the state include Fred Gushurst, who played end opposite Knute Rockne on the 1912 and 1913 Notre Dame teams, and Gene Vidal from Madison, who was captain of the 1918 Army football team. Spring 2006 D-I signees: one. Fall 2006 high school football teams: 151.
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