Newport News, Va.
As a coach, Frank Emanuel once said, "Give me a guy who'll get excited and chase the football, and he's got a chance to play defense." As a player, it's difficult to describe Emanuel any better.
The Tennessee linebacker set the standard for playing the position in the mid-1960s as the defensive signal caller and paved the way for dozens of Vol greats to follow. Emanuel started in 1964 and 1965 during Doug Dickey's first two seasons as head coach, also the first years Tennessee fielded teams with separate offensive and defensive squads.
Emanuel was one of the Vols' last two-way players in 1963 under coach Jim McDonald, playing linebacker and single-wing center. But when Dickey became coach the following season, Emanuel concentrated solely on tackling. In 1964, he buried Alabama quarterback Joe Namath in the dirt on a goal-line stand in a loss against the No. 3 Crimson Tide. The following week, he led another goal-line stand to preserve a 3-3 tie against seventh-ranked LSU.
As good as Emanuel was his junior year, he was better as a senior after overcoming several difficulties. He was named co-captain of the squad in 1965 and became a student of the game. One example was his 26-tackle performance against Kentucky after he picked up on a guard's movement, which allowed him to read the plays. The Vols went 8-1-2 that year and beat Tulsa in the Bluebonnet Bowl. Emanuel was named All-America on a defense that gave up just 98 points on the year, 37 coming from UCLA alone.
Emanuel was drafted by and signed with the Dolphins in 1966 and spent four years in Miami before finishing his professional career with the Saints in 1970.