Louisiana by the Numbers: The best of every uniform (80-89)
Part 2 of a series
This is what happens when history meets numbers.
Crescent City Sports has decided to go back through the list of greatest players to compete on the fields, courts and diamonds of Louisiana and decide who was the best to wear every number from 0 to 99.
Our rules are simple: To be eligible for our list, you had to play for a college or professional team in Louisiana, and the list is based on the number you wore while in Louisiana.
The second of our 10-part series looks at Nos. 80-89.
No. 80 – Jackie Smith, Northwestern State football (1959-62): While the easier choice may have been more current, Natchitoches was the launch point for a Pro Football Hall of Fame career for Smith, who went on to play 16 seasons in the NFL after his time at Northwestern. Smith played in five Pro Bowls, was twice named All-Pro and retired in 1978 as the NFL’s all-time leading receiver among tight ends.
Honorable mention: Jimmy Graham, Saints (2010-14); Jarvis Landry, LSU football (2011-13); Doug Moreau, LSU football (1963-65)
No. 81 – Doug Atkins, Saints (1967-69): The first to reach the Pro Football Hall of Fame after playing for the Saints, Atkins’ number was retired by the franchise but has since been put back into circulation. He played the final three years of a Hall of Fame career in New Orleans and was a dominant pass rusher in an era before sacks were a part of statistics.
Honorable mention: Rich “Tombstone” Jackson, Southern football (1961-64)
No. 82 – Wendell Davis, LSU football (1984-87): Davis’ final two seasons at LSU would be great by today’s pass-happy standards – 152 receptions, 2,237 yards and 18 touchdowns. Davis was named first-team All-America as both a junior and senior as the Tigers won their first Southeastern Conference title in 15 years. His career with the Chicago Bears was cut short by a horrible leg injury.
Honorable mention: Bob Pollard, Saints (1971-77); John Tice, Saints (1983-92); Irv Smith, Saints (1993-97)
No. 83 – Donte Stallworth, Saints (2002-05): A tough choice here, but Stallworth accomplished a lot in just four seasons in New Orleans. When he left, his 23 touchdown receptions were sixth-most in franchise history and he had a 70-catch campaign under the difficult post-Katrina circumstances of 2005.
Honorable mention: Dave Parks, Saints (1968-72); Torrance Small, Saints (1992-96); Willie Snead, Saints (2015-17)
No. 84 – Eric Martin, Saints (1985-93): In nine seasons with the Saints, the former LSU standout had three 1,000-yard campaigns and put up career numbers that have only been surpassed by Marques Colston – 532 receptions for 7,854 yards. Martin led the team in receiving yards for seven straight seasons and was a 1988 Pro Bowl selection.
Honorable mention: Michael Lewis, Saints (2001-06); Abe Mickal, LSU football (1933-35)
No. 85 – Hoby Brenner, Saints (1981-93): Brenner’s durability and consistent production allowed him to remain in the NFL for 13 seasons. His 267 career receptions and 21 touchdowns don’t come close to telling the whole story. He was a great blocker at a time when the Saints’ running game was consistently among the league’s best.
Honorable mention: Henry Childs, Saints (1974-80)
No. 86 – Buck Buchanan, Grambling football (1959-62): Buchanan’s journey to the Pro Football Hall of Fame started at Grambling, where he earned NAIA All-American honors. He was the first overall pick of the 1963 American Football League draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he played 13 seasons and would land on the AFL’s all-time team.
Honorable mention: Jeff Groth, Saints (1981-85)
No. 87 – Joe Horn, Saints (2000-06): Horn’s career in New Orleans was bookended by division championships, but he remained a consistent, high-volume producer throughout his seven seasons. He had at least 78 catches and seven touchdowns in each of his first five seasons as a Saint, topped the 1,000-yard mark four times and made four trips to the Pro Bowl. He left New Orleans with a franchise-record 50 TD catches.
Honorable mention: Rodney Holman, Tulane football (1978-81)
No. 88 – Mark Carrier, Nicholls football (1983-86): Before the Colonels’ current run of three straight playoff appearances, Carrier was the star of Nicholls’ best-ever team in 1986. He had 78 catches for 1,513 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior in 1986, and still holds the school’s career records in all receiving categories today. He played 12 seasons in the NFL and was a one-time Pro Bowl selection.
Honorable mention: Jeremy Shockey, Saints (2008-10); Floyd Turner, Saints (1989-93)
No. 89 – Wes Chandler, Saints (1978-81): Chandler, the third overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft, only spent a little more than three seasons in a Saints uniform, but they were highly productive. He had back-to-back seasons of 65 catches and became only the second Saint to top 1,000 receiving yards in a season – 1,069 in his Pro Bowl season of 1979.
Honorable mention: Quinn Early, Saints (1991-95); Josh Hill, Saints (2013-present); Billy Truax, LSU football (1961-63)
Next: The best of Nos. 70-79.
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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…