BTN selects IU Football’s Mount Rushmore

Big Ten Network asked fans to select four players to make up a fictitious Indiana Football Mount Rushmore, which I’m not sure where, exactly, such a thing could be accommodated in Bloomington.

Perhaps in one of the old limestone quarries south of town? Maybe.

Either way, the network released the results of its informal poll during Tuesday’s broadcast of BTN Live. Did fans get it right? Here, you be the judge:

— Anthony Thompson
— Vaughn Dunbar
— Antwaan Randle El
— George Taliaferro

Personally, I’d replace Dunbar with Pete Pihos, the only IU player enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Pihos played from 1942-43 and again from 1945-46, leaving IU to serve in World War II, where he received the Bronze Star and Silver Star medals. He earned All-America status as both an end and a fullback, while shattering previous program records for touchdowns, total points and receptions.

A worthy pick, in my eyes. To me, Thompson, Taliaferro and Randle El are surefire candidates, but a few solid arguments could be made for the fourth.

Which four players would you select?

You can watch BTN Live’s Indiana segment by clicking here.


  1. The fans in the 1940s would have selected Pihos and maybe others also. That is why I do not like to make a big deal of comparing athletes and coaches from years ago to current athletes (different times, equipment, nutrition, values, philosophies, priorities, teams, team mates, coaches, different situations and circumstances, different hardships, and life is different etc). No one selected from only rose bowl team??? but who…rose bowl team was more of a team effort rather than individual, however there were stars on that team. To me it just makes for some fun I suppose.

  2. It’s hard to pick against Dunbar, but Pihos should definitely be in the group. I wonder about including Randle El. He had great stats, but never played on a winning team at IU. I think I’d pick Dave Schnell or Trent Green over him – great QBs who led their team to big wins and bowl games.

  3. Joe Norman was the best linebacker in the history of Indiana Football. Four year letter winner, three year starter, two-time team captain, All Big Ten, 2nd team All American, 2nd round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks, IU Athletics Hall of Fame (2009). If you’re going to put a defender on the mountain, Joe has to be considered.

  4. Randle El was probably the best out of all of them. His receiving corp was below average and, only towards the end, was Levron good enough to pick up some of the slack in the backfield. The fact the IU had no defense wasn’t his fault. He single handedly won games for us. The most memorable being that 21 pt comeback win against Illinois at home (I was at that game–1999, I think??).

  5. This is a fun topic.

    I didn’t know about who Peter Pihos was and that IU even had anyone in Canton. Seems like he was an even better man than football player.

    He served under Patton in the 35th ID. They weren’t part of the initial invasion, but they landed on Omaha Beach and helped fend off the German counterattack in the infamous Normandy hedgerows. But, at the Battle of the Bulge, they really were in the thick of it. They had been on R&R at Metz after 160 days of fighting (!!!!), but with the German offensive, they were ordered to push north and did so without armor, which was being refueled and refitted. 2 days later, they stood right in the way of the brunt of the German assault. They held and eventually push to relieve the 101st in Bastogne.

    The fact that he made it back is amazing, let alone to have a HOF career.

  6. i remember when clifford picked iu over wisconsin. he said indiana had a better football program. hysterical now

  7. Now if Tevin Coleman comes back next year, rushes for over 2000 yards again and wins the Heisman, he should be in the mix. VBG

  8. It would be interesting to know the overall combined career record of the iu Mt Rushmore.

    Now basketball will be tough. Isaiah Thomas, Steve Alford, Scott May have to be locks for that.

  9. Pete Pihos, George Taliaferro, Tim Clifford, Anthony Thompson. Antwaan was over-rated as a college player.

  10. ARE was over rated as a college FB player?

    Antwaan was the best player in CFB his Senior year and Eric Crouch knows it. It is little mentioned but Crouch won with only 27.75% of the vote. Lowest in modern history.

  11. Ben – The players you name were very good but suggest you look a little deeper before naming sure locks. Have you ever heard of Don Schlundt, Bobby Leonard, Hallie Bryant, Jimmy Rayl, or the Van Arsdales. Or Buckner, Bailey, Benson, Woodson, and Cheney. On your list I would have to think only Isiah would merit even consideration as a lock and keep in mind even he only played two years.

  12. …and if Isaiah gets consideration as a lock so should McGinnis, an absolute stud for IU…if not for a very real hardship situation developed he over another season or 2 would be the 1st name(along with RMK)to come to mind when IU BB is mentioned…

  13. Mr Walker I like your thoughts.I dont think you could build a “Mt Rushmore” with less than 5 people and even then there are arguements for 10 . going by position: Pt Guard Isiah Thomas, now it gets interesting because where do you fit in Calbert actualality he was more a #2 guard than now you get to argue Alford or Cheaney. SF Scott May or 1 of the VanArsdale Twins. PF…. Steve Downing …at C either Walt Bellamy or Kent Benson

  14. Tj – position has no bearing

    Mr. Walker

    – Isaiah was by far the best pro from IU
    And led iu to a championship as a soph

    – Scott May national player of the year on the last undefeated team in college basketball.

    – Alford. …not only the epitome of an Indiana basketball player..but iu’s all time leading scorer until Calvert cam along.

  15. As good as Isaiah was he played only 2 years at IU. Does that matter as far as criteria? Should you only include 3 and 4 year players. (freshman use to not be eligible to play varsity). I agree with all the above. How about McCraken and Knight. I am not aware of bb players in to much depth before the 1950s….Impossible!

  16. My Mount Rushmore would be…


    Three 4 year players and the iconic coach that brought 3 national championships to Bloomington – one with May and one with Alford. The top 2 leading scorers in IU history and 2 National POY’s.

    McGinnis and Zeke are left off for short tenures. The Van Arsdale’s don’t have the accolades or championships. McCracken plays second fiddle to Knight, and the rest of those players from the 70’s play second fiddle to May.

    Tis now cast in STONE!

  17. Well knight for sure but I don’t think it includes coaches. Walt Bellamy would have to be in consideration as well.

  18. Cheney would be hard to leave off even without a championship, but it’s also safe to say his all time big 10 record won’t ever be beat due to early nba departures.

  19. I would pick John Ritter…..Mount Rushmore could use some premature balding…Hair follicles can be very tricky and time consuming to carve into limestone….Ritter was very unheralded(un-hair-alded?)and instrumental to Knight’s very early first Final Four run. During the carving of Ritter’s crown, it’s my understanding that a team of Indiana’s finest master stone carvers will reach the top of his head and set up a Mellancamp…….John Cougar will not be in attendance.

    There’s also the celebrity confusion thing that would add to the appeal and number of tourists visiting the mountain ….Many visitors would take extra interest not realizing that the late star of “Three’s Company” played for the Hoosiers..

    Tom Crean can bus driver and expert tour guide…(“This mountain has a huge upside!”)…All visitors will board a bus headed for “Mount Because.” Beware of sharp turns, Sampson Falls(roads can ice from the mist during winter months on Banners Pass)… and very strange passenger substitution patterns at rest areas with regards to seating…..

  20. Looking at Post #10. About 2 1/2 years ago the IndyStar beat writer did a month long blog on the top 50 IU basketball players of all time. If you guessed the top rent in order you won IU tickets. I was totally into that then, and had a few questions on who they had where. I say they as the beat writer used 3 anonymous prominent people who were quite knowledgeable about IU basketball. (I always assumed two of the three were Don Fischer and Bob Hammel. The 3rd might have been Fred Glass). Anyway, I think that the top two IU players of all time were #1 Scott May and #2. Isaiah Thomas. I think the remaining top ten, in order, were….Cheaney, McGinnis, Alford, Bellamy, Schlundt, Woodson, Buckner, & Dees. I think May should be there based on MVP of conference, National player of year, & national champion. Thomas did that too, but played but two years. It was quit interesting. Thought I’d add this info for what it is worth.

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