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July 26, 2004

Who is the greatest Sooner defensive tackle?

In the coming weeks, OUFans.com will continue to make nominations for the top Oklahoma football players since the 1990 season. However, it will be the readers who will make the ultimate decision as to who stands as the greatest of the recent Sooners.

Each Monday a group of nominees will be listed for a new position, with the fans being able to cast their votes on the OUFans.com poll, that can be found on right border of the front page. The following Sunday, the poll will be closed and a recap of the winner's career will be written. The next day, the next position will start the cycle all over again.

This weeks position falls to the defensive tackles. With one first round draft choice, another player possibly on the brink, a three time all-conference selection, the school's single season sack record holder, and even another making big paychecks in the NFL there are five canddiate who would win at most any other school lacking Oklahoma's high level of competition.. The five finalists are, Scott Evans, Martin Chase, Kelly Gregg, Tommie Harris, and Dusty Dvoracek.

Scott Evans: Evans is one of only 18 Sooners, to receive three time all-conference honors(1988-90), and only the third since the end of the 1987 season. Due to his time in Norman falling in one of the darkest and most turbulent times in the program's history.

Evans may not be one of the players that people readily remember, but it's clear that has his talents give him an obvious reason to be included among this group. His 41 tackles for loss puts him in the top five in school history, and his 24 career sacks puts him second all-time in school history.

Career Numbers:
•220 tackles, yards, 41 tackles for loss, 24 sacks

Martin Chase: Many had high hopes for the Lawton Eisenhower star when he signed with the Sooners as part of possibly the top class of defensive linemen the state has ever produced -Jonathan Brown, and Dusty Loveless, among others.

He did little to dissapoint as the terrorizing tackle teamed with Kelly Gregg to form one of the lone bright spot's in a particularly dark period of Oklahoma football. Chase's career tackles for loss and sacks both rank among the school's elite, and his 1997 season of 21 tackles for loss, with 14 sacks still ranks as possibly the greatest statistical season ever by a Sooner defensive lineman.

Career Numbers:
•33.5 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks

Kelly Gregg: When Gregg arrived to campus no one knew if he was a wrestler trying to play football, or a football player who was a national champion wrestler.

As it turns out the Edmond native, was one of the great Sooner defenders of not only his era, but of all time. Gregg was a two-time all-conference selection, and is near the top of the defensive linemen in nearly every statistical category.

He now spends his time making big paychecks as a pestering, hard working, and more importantly talented Baltimore Raven.

Career Numbers:
•319 tackles, 53 tackles for loss, 19 sacks

Tommie Harris: Maybe the most famous defensive tackle in college football history. It's rare to see a defensive tackle on one college football cover, it's unheard of to find the same interior defensive lineman showing his smile -or not- on numerous pre-season college football magazines.

However, that was Harris' life as an Oklahoma Sooner, but of course as most any player can tell you, stardom stems from lots of talent, hardwork, and results. Some will mock Harris' meager statistics but would do so without looking at the amazing numbers put up by those who benefited from the attention that Harris' received in each opponents film session each week.

He was recently selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the Chicago Bears, and figures to be one of the focal points of Lovie Smith's defensive scheme.

Dusty Dvoracek: As a testament to the recruiting prowess of the current Oklahoma recruiting staff, Dvoracek was almost an afterthought when arriving to Norman from Lake Dallas in the wake of Harris' massively covered commitment to Oklahoma.

All Dvoracek has done is gone on to earn All Big-12 honors as a junior and set the mark for statistical brilliance from a defensive tackle. In his three years in Norman, he's also become a fan favorite due to his eccentric and colorful personality. However, his hit on Chris Simms, after yet another Simms interception, probably raised him to another echelon of fan worship.

Dvoracek figures to finish with some of the best career numbers posted by a defensive tackle, and compete for All-American, and Lombardi nominations.

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