There have been many successful athletes that have come through the Beehive State that have turned into decorated professionals. In my four-part series, I’ll dive into the top 20 athletes from each school: University of Utah, BYU, Utah State, and a combined list from other Utah schools.
In this series, I’ll rank the top 20 pro athletes from the University of Utah, which includes career highlights and accolades.
Without further ado, here are the top professional athletes from the U of U.
No. 20 — Michael Doleac (1998-08) NBA
Doleac enjoyed a 10-year NBA career, where he played for six different teams. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team for the 1998-99 season and played a valuable role as a backup to Shaquille O’Neal to help the Heat win the 2006 NBA championship.
No. 19 — Dick Hall (1952-71) MLB
Dick Hall played 19 seasons in MLB for four teams, nine of which were for the Orioles. During his Baltimore tenure, Hall helped the O’s win the 1966 and 1970 World Series while also reaching the Fall Classic in 1969 and 1971. After his career, Hall was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1989.
No. 18 — Marv Fleming (1963-74) NFL
A tight end, Fleming played 12 years in the NFL with the Packers and Dolphins. With Green Bay he won Super Bowls I and II, and in Miami helped the Dolphins win Super Bowls VII and VIII. Fleming was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 2010.
No. 17 — Jordan Gross (2003-13) NFL
During an 11-year career with the Carolina Panthers, Gross was named to three Pro Bowls and was selected First Team All-Pro in 2008 while helping the Panthers appear in Super Bowl XXXVIII as a rookie.
No. 16 — Mervin Jackson (1968-73) ABA
Despite playing just five seasons in the old ABA, Jackson left his mark on the Stars franchise, being named an All-Star in 1969 and making the ABA Finals in 1970 when the team was in Los Angeles. The team then moved to Utah where Jackson helped the team win the 1971 ABA championship before finishing his career with the Memphis Tams.
No. 15 — Jamal Anderson (1994-01) NFL
Drafted in the seventh round of the 1994 NFL Draft, not much was expected of Anderson. Instead, during a career year in 1998 he led the NFC in rushing yards while being named First Team All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl while helping the Falcons reach Super Bowl XXXIII.
No. 14 — Keith Van Horn (1997-06) NBA
A nine-year NBA vet, Van Horn was named to the All-Rookie First Team in 1998 and averaged a career high 21.8 points per game – good for 5th in the NBA – during the 1998-99 season. Van Horn helped the Nets reach the 2002 NBA Finals and helped the Mavericks reach the NBA Finals in 2006.
No. 13 — Leilani Mitchell (2008-present) WNBA
Mitchell is currently in her tenth season in the WNBA, winning Most Improved Player in 2010. While playing in France, she was named the French League Import Player of the Year and named First Team All-LFB and during a stint in Croatia won the league title and Croatian Cup. Mitchell plays in Australia now during the WNBA off seasons and has been named to the WNBL All-Star Five Team three times while helping the Sydney Uni Flames win the 2017 WNBL title and being named WNBL Grand Final MVP.
No. 12 — Andre Miller (1999-16) NBA
Miller was well traveled during his career, playing for nine teams in 17 seasons, making the playoffs 10 times. He was named to the All-Rookie First Team for the 1999-00 season and led the league in assists during the 2001-02 campaign. Miller is currently 10th in NBA history in assists and won a gold medal at the 2001 Goodwill Games playing for the United States.
No. 11 — Alex Smith (2005-present) NFL
The No. 1 pick of the 2005 NFL Draft by San Francisco, Smith helped the team reach Super Bowl XLVII. He was then traded to Kansas City, being named to three Pro Bowls while helping the Chiefs reach the playoffs four times in five years. Following the 2017 season, Smith was traded to Washington.
No. 10 — Manny Fernandez (1968-75) NFL
During an eight-year NFL career as a defensive tackle, Fernandez was named All-AFC three seasons in a row (1971-73) and was named a two-time All-Pro while helping the Dolphins win both Super Bowl VII and VIII. Following his playing career, Fernandez was inducted into the Miami Dolphins Honor Roll in 2014.
No. 9 — Andrew Bogut (2005-present) NBA
The No. 1 pick of the 2005 NBA Draft, Bogut played 13 seasons for five teams before returning to his native Australia earlier this year. Bogut played for the Bucks for seven years, being named to the All-Rookie First Team in 2006 and All-NBA in 2010 and leading the NBA in blocks in 2011. He then played four seasons with Golden State, winning a championship in 2015 while being named Second Team All-Defense and helping the Warriors return to the Finals in 2016. Bogut also helped Australia win a gold medal at the 2015 FIBA Oceania Championship.
No. 8 — Frank Andruski (1966-74) CFL
A star defensive back in the CFL (also played one season in the WFL), Andruski was selected to six CFL West All-Star teams and three CFL All-Star teams. During his career he helped Calgary win the 1971 Grey Cup and was enshrined on the Stampeders Wall of Fame in 2008.
No. 7 — Roy Jefferson (1965-76) NFL
During a 12-year career with three teams, Jefferson was named to three Pro Bowl rosters and three All-Pro teams while leading the NFL in receiving yards in 1968. His one-year stint with the Colts earned him a Super Bowl title, and he also helped Washington to a Super Bowl appearance. In recognition of their 80th season, the Redskins named Jefferson one of the 80 Greatest Redskins in 2012.
No. 6 — Eric Weddle (2007-present) NFL
One of the top safeties in the NFL, Weddle started his career in San Diego and now plays for the Ravens. He has been selected for five Pro Bowls and named to five All-Pro teams (two 1st, three 2nd) and led the NFL in interceptions in 2011. During his time in San Diego he helped lead the Chargers to three-straight AFC West titles from 2007-09.
No. 5 — Tom Chambers (1981-97) NBA
During a 16-year career, 15 of which were in the NBA, Tom Chambers was named to four All-Star teams and two All-NBA squads and won the 1987 NBA All-Star Game MVP playing for six teams. A prolific scorer, Chambers netted over 20,000 career points while helping the Suns advance to the 1993 NBA Finals. Chambers played one season in Israel, helping his team win the league title and once he retired, his No. 24 jersey was retired by the Suns and he was inducted into the Suns Ring of Honor.
No. 4 — Ray Elgaard (1983-96) CFL
During a 14-year career in the CFL with Saskatchewan, Elgaard was selected to six CFL West All-Star teams and four CFL All-Star teams while winning the CFL Most Outstanding Canadian award three times. The slotback helped lead the Roughriders to the 1989 Grey Cup championship and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
No. 3 — Steve Smith (2001-16) NFL
Steve Smith was one of the top receivers during his 16-year NFL career, being named to five Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams while helping lead the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance. Smith’s best season came in 2005 when he was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year while leading the league in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. After finishing his career in Baltimore, Smith now awaits a possible induction into Canton in the future.
No. 2 — Mac Speedie (1946-55) NFL
Mac Speedie played seven seasons in the AAFC (pre-NFL) and NFL with the Cleveland Browns, leading the league in receptions four times and receiving yards twice, while being named a First Team All-Pro six times. Speedie was also selected for two Pro Bowls and was named to the NFL 1940’s All-Decade Team while helping the Browns win five championships (4 AAFC, 1 NFL). He finished his career in the CFL, playing three seasons and being named First Team All-Western Conference twice.
No. 1 — Larry Wilson (1960-72) NFL
Larry Wilson played 13 seasons in the NFL with the St. Louis Cardinals, being selected to eight Pro Bowls. One of the best defensive players in the league, the free safety was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1966 while leading the league in interceptions. Wilson was also named a First Team All-Pro five times and second Team once. Wilson was named to the 1960’s NFL All-Decade Team, as well the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. His No. 8 jersey is retired by the Cardinals, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978.