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.