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Top 50 football players in Arizona Wildcats history: No. 26 Chuck Levy

Photo illustration by azcentral sports

Photo illustration by azcentral sports

Position, years at UA: Running back, 1991-93

Honors, accomplishments at UA: Earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors, in 1991 and 1993 as an all-purpose player. … Led the conference in kick returns in 1991 with 25.3-yard average.

Why he made our list: Of the offensive standouts in UA history, probably none had more raw ability than Levy. The lasting image of him wearing cardinal and navy explains why:

Taking a second-quarter hand-off up the middle in the Fiesta Bowl, he appeared to be bottled up at the line of scrimmage. But he broke through and then went from zero to a 67-yard touchdown, rocket-boosting past a pair of Miami defensive backs (scroll to bottom of story for video of the run).

“He hit that, and he was gone,” former UA coach Dick Tomey said. “Those two guys in the Miami secondary, they had an angle and they still couldn’t catch him. He was a breed apart. He was so quick and so fast.”

Levy, a Parade High School All-American, never could quite settle into one role at UA. He shared time with a deep group at running back. He played as an option quarterback, starting against Oregon in 1993 for injured Dan White in a game that produced one of the great statistical oddities of the past two decades: UA won 31-10 without completing a pass. Levy was 0 for 1, intentionally throwing a pass out of bounds under pressure.

He didn’t pile up huge numbers that dot the UA record book, but he was the needed home-run hitter for UA’s defensive-minded teams of the early 1990s. Five of Levy’s 10 touchdowns in 1993 covered at least 27 yards.

“Chuck was just a scary, freaky athlete,” Tomey said. “He could do anything.”

Life after college: Levy left UA as a redshirt junior with one season of eligibility remaining, selected in the second round of the 1994 NFL draft by the Cardinals.

Used mostly as a kick returner as a rookie, he had to sit out the 1995 season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. He was released by the Cardinals in their 1996 camp but signed with the 49ers in December that year. He played two seasons with San Francisco.

Levy averaged 20.1 yards on 84 career kick returns in the NFL, rushing 44 times for 217 yards and catching 24 passes for 217 yards. He later had stints in the Canadian Football League and the Arena League.

Levy has done training and coaching since his playing days. He is the stepfather of Mountain Pointe High School receiver/defensive back Jalen Brown, rated the No. 3 senior prospect in the state by The Arizona Republic.

In partnership with the Arizona Republic, we are counting down the top 50 football players in Arizona Wildcats history. Leave your top 10 at AG’s Wildcat Report on Facebook, and check out azcentral.com for the countdown of ASU’s Top 50 football players.

Arizona’s top 50

No. 50 — LaMonte Hunley

No. 49 — Hubie Oliver

No. 48 — Rob Gronkowski

No. 47 — Jim Donarski

No. 46 — Ontiwaun Carter

No. 45 — Steve McLaughlin

No. 44 — John Fina

No. 43 — Glenn Parker

No. 42 — Bobby Lee Thompson

No. 41 — Marcus Bell

No. 40 — Fred W. Enke

No. 39 — Ka’Deem Carey

No. 38 — Juron Criner

No. 37 — Dana Wells

No. 36 — Tom Tunnicliffe

No. 35 — Bruce Hill

No. 34 — Chuck Osborne

No. 33 — Brandon Sanders

No. 32 — Sean Harris

No. 31 — Mike Thomas

No. 30 — Bobby Wade

No. 29 — T Bell

No. 28 — Joe Salave’a

No. 27 — Eddie Wilson

* * *

Check out these highlights from 1993; the very first play shown here is Levy’s touchdown run vs. Miami in the Fiesta Bowl:

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