Much has been made, and rightly so, about the legacy of quarterbacks at Stanford University, but few schools in America can match the rich history of running backs who have worn the Cardinal and White. Brad Muster was a senior when I was a freshman, so the first great tailback whose career I followed completely was Tommy Vardell. A bruising back, Vardell ended his career at or near the top of must Stanford rushing lists and held the mark for career touchdowns scored until Toby Gerhart passed him a few years ago. If you weren't lucky enough to watch Vardell play, click here and be thankful you weren't playing linebacker or defensive back in the Pac-10 back in the early 90s.
Vardell's playing days are obviously behind him, and rather than running through would-be tacklers, he instead spends his free time wrangling sheep, goats, pigs, a horse, and a cow on a five-acre farm in Northern California. Last fall he was kind enough to spend some time talking to me about his playing days with Stanford and in the NFL. I know you'll enjoy our conversation, so I'll get out of the way now.