Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The time that ... They were No. 1

Who's No. 1?
June 12, 2005

By Nick Deriso
It's a central issue in football, this idea of being No. 1.

Fans argue over it, while statisticians furiously calculate yardage and tackles. We set our sights a little lower, taking the question more literally.

Who actually wore No. 1 on their jerseys? We looked for players from Grambling State, we stumbled upon some singular stories, as well:

--Kicker Brian Morgan, who sported '1' from 2001-04, was only the latest in a long line of GSU kickers to use that number.

None was perhaps more intriguing than Gilad Landau, a multiple all-Southwestern Athletic Conference team member from Netanya, Israel, who was a former Israeli Army veteran. He had not played or even seen a football game before coming to the United States and enrolling in Grambling.

Landau's senior season in 1994 included a game played after the observance of Yom Kippur, a day of atonement in which Jews are prohibited from eating or drinking. The weakened Landau had to be given fluids intravenously.

He finished at Grambling with Division I-AA records for extra points attempted and made - conference records that still stand.

Morgan's just-finished four-year stay was stellar, too. A three-time all-SWAC selection, he is the conference record holder in most field goals made in a single season with 18 and in a career with 50.

Surprisingly, Landau (1990-94) is not the only Middle Eastern kicker to share the number and position. His tenure was followed by Palestine-born Ayman Nawash (1995-97), a kicker who prepped at East Jefferson in New Orleans.

· Landau's No. '1' stat: Gilad won the first-ever Ernie Davis Award - given by the Leukemia Foundation to a Division I-AA player in recognition of character and integrity through adversity - in 1992 as a sophomore.

Not the only '1': Receiver Scotty Anderson, a key component in two titles after the 2000-01 seasons, was drafted by Detroit in the fifth round and played for the Lions until 2003. The Jonesboro product's school records include those for most receiving yards and touchdowns in a career, most catches as a sophomore and longest reception.

Other '1's: Ardashir Nobahar, another No. 1 who kicked in 1985-86, holds the SWAC record for longest field goal, a 54-yarder. ... Nobody was No. 1 in 1975, 1978-79, and 1990.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great piece! I didn't think anyone remembered me.

I still speak with Gilad to this day. He is at a technology school learning computers in Israel while I teach American government in New Orleans.

You forgot to mention one of most successful Grambling kickers by the name of Jorge Rosales who made several All SWAC and All America teams. Currently, he is the store manager is Marshall's in New Orleans and is doing very well.

Before Scotty Anderson came along, it was tradition to give all kickers #1. To verify, just ask for Chuck (the long time equipment manager).

Hey, thanks for including me in your piece. It was fun just reading up on all the old names, so your piece was the highlight of my day.

Ayman Nawash