Hometown: Vanderbilt, PA
Record: 25-7, Bowl Record: 1-0
Jim Braxton was an all-purpose athlete for the West Virginia football team. He was a beast of a running back, earning playing time his sophomore season. He would become a featured runner during the 1969 season. That season, he would also serve as the kicker for the Mountaineers making three field goals and converting 26 of 30 extra points. With the emergence of Bob Gresham in the running game during 1969, Braxton moved out to play tight end for his senior season in 1970. That year, Braxton would earn 1st team All-America honors. For his career, Braxton amassed 1,462 yards rushing, 906 yards receiving, 93 yards passing, and 25 total touchdowns. Following a successful career in Morgantown, he would go on to be drafted by the Buffalo Bills. In Buffalo, he paved the way for O.J. Simpson. He was posthumously inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.
Memorable Game: The 1969 season was a tremendous one for the Mountaineers. Coach Jim Carlen had gotten the Mountaineers to a 10-1 record, earning the team a spot in the Peach Bowl to play the South Carolina Gamecocks. One of the critical wins that season was over the Cincinnati Bearcats. West Virginia opened the 1969 campaign with a home blow out of Cincy. WVU ran all over the Bearcats, piling up 483 yards rushing. Jim Braxton had a field day, scoring virtually at will. He contributed two touchdowns on the ground, one touchdown reception, and added 4 extra points. Braxton’s 22 points alone were enough to put away Cincinnati. The Mountaineers won the game 57-11.
Competition: Braxton is the lone WVU Sports Hall of Famer at #44. He was a remarkable athlete that could do virtually anything on offense. He ran, caught, and kicked WVU to multiple wins over his Mountaineer career. Other notables include: Mortty Ivy, Tim Agee, and Reggie McLee.
Teaser: The featured player at #43 is an incredible rusher from the early 1990s. He was an intimidating player. He was like the Chuck Norris of running backs in his day. Okay, this may be an exaggeration, but I could not resist the opportunity to incorporate Walker, Texas Ranger into the countdown.