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Stan Becton | | February 28, 2022

We picked the top-5 players all-time for Delaware football

Delaware defeats Jacksonville State 20-14 in the FCS quarterfinals

The Delaware football program has won one FCS championship (2003) and has finished as runner-up three times (1982, 2007, 2010). The Blue Hens have had plenty of great seasons, producing transcendent players along the way. That said, here's a look at the top individual players in Delaware history.

The top-5 players of all time for Delaware football

*The first year of I-AA/FCS play was in 1978. Delaware joined the FCS in 1981. In no particular order, this list looks at players since that season, taking into consideration things including, but not limited to, national awards won, championships won, and All-American accolades*

QB Andy Hall

For all of Delaware's FCS success, it has just one championship to show for it. A big reason for that championship is quarterback Andy Hall.

Hall led the Blue Hens to the 2003 FCS title, capping off a 15-1 season. Hall tossed two touchdowns in the 40-0 win. More impressively, he did so battling through a separated left shoulder during the championship run.

Hall earned First-Team All-American honors during the 2003 season. He finished his career with 4,596 passing yards and 6,169 total yards of offense. His 863 career rushing yards are a record for any Delaware quarterback.

QB Rich Gannon

Rich Gannon kicked off a long line of great Delaware quarterbacks. After playing on the freshman team in 1983, Gannon took the Blue Hens by storm once he took the field.

From 1984-86, Gannon passed for a then-school record of 5,927 yards. He added 1,509 rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns in the Wing-T offense under the legendary head coach Tubby Raymond.

Although the Blue Hens may not have gotten back to the championship with Gannon under center, Gannon still put on a show for the Delaware faithful.

AWARDS: Walter Payton Award history | Buck Buchanan Award history | Jerry Rice Award history

QB Matt Nagy

Before Matt Nagy drew headlines as an NFL coach, he was lighting up the scoreboard at Delaware.

Nagy threw for 8,214 yards from 1997-2000, the most passing yards in school history. He owns the second and fourth-most single-season passing yardage record all-time, throwing for 3,436 yards in 2000 and 2,916 yards in 1998, respectively.

Also in that 2000 season, Nagy led the Blue Hens to a 12-2 record and a trip to the FCS semifinal round.

S Mike Adams

Delaware's 2003 championship defense was full of great players, but in the championship game, safety and team captain Mike Adams led the team in tackles with 10 (eight solo). Against the Walter Payton Award winner, Adams and crew led a shutout effort to secure the title.

Earlier in his career, Adams started as a true freshman cornerback. In the 2003 championship season, he led the team in interceptions. By the time his career ended, he had 11 interceptions, 213 tackles and a national title to his name. 

DB Kenny Bailey 

From 1993-96, Kenny Bailey roamed the Delaware secondary. He grabbed 11 interceptions, with three turning into pick-sixes; his 408 career interception return yards is a school record.

However, what stands out the most and gets Bailey on this list is his tackling ability. His 414 tackles are the most by a Delaware defensive back and fourth-most by any player all-time. Throughout his college career, Bailey displayed versatility and the willingness to do whatever it took for the team to be successful.

HISTORY: Schools with the most FCS titles | 9 winningest FCS programs all-time | Championship history

Notable Omissions

  • QB Leo Hamlett
  • QB Joe Flacco
  • RB Omar Cuff
  • DE Shawn Johnson
  • LB Darrell Booker
  • S Dorrell Green 
  • S Nasir Adderley

The two most notable omissions from this list are Joe Flacco and Nasir Adderley. Flacco and Adderley were the two highest draft picks from Delaware, respectively. Flacco misses the cut because he played just two seasons for the Blue Hens, even though his 7,046 yards are second-most in UD history. Adderley started every game (45) at Delaware, but his counting stats, while impressive, don't boost him up the list.

Another notable omission is quarterback Leo Hamlett. In 1995, Hamlett had what Tubby Raymond referenced at the time as the best Delaware quarterback season ever. He had a passer rating of 165.4, the best in program history, and won the Yankee Conference MVP. However, Hamlett's Blue Hens fell short of reaching the championship game.

ALL-TIME UPSETS: See every FCS-over-FBS upset here

Who could be next

  • S Kendrick Whitehead
  • QB Nolan Henderson

Safety Kendrick Whitehead and quarterback Nolan Henderson are two current Blue Hens capable of etching their names in the Delaware history books. Whitehead has earned All-American status in three straight seasons and announced his return for his fifth year. 

Henderson makes his return to the Blue Hens with deep playoff experience as he continues to climb the passing charts.

Both players were a part of the 2020-21 FCS semifinals team. If the duo of Whitehead and Henderson can lead Delaware to its second championship, they'll firmly be in the top five discussions.

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