Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens Football Best Players of All Time

John Rizzo

The University of Delaware’s Fightin’ Blue Hens football team is an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) powerhouse. Led by head coach Ryan Carty, the Blue Hens have been a perennial power in the FCS for many years.

The team plays their home games at the 22,000-seat Delaware Stadium located in Newark, Delaware, and have had many memorable moments in the program’s history. Whether it’s competing for conference championships or playing in the FCS playoffs, the Fightin’ Blue Hens are always a force to be reckoned with.

Table of Contents

1. Joe Flacco


Joe Flacco Career

  • Super Bowl champion (XLVII)
  • Super Bowl MVP (XLVII)
  • Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year (2008)
  • ECAC Player of the Year (2007)
  • First-team All-CAA (2007)
  • CAA Co-Offensive Player of the Year (2007)

Joe Flacco is a former American football quarterback who played for the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos in the National Football League (NFL). 

He was drafted by the Ravens in 2008 and has since made over 170 starts, including two Super Bowls with Baltimore.

In 2019, he signed with the Jets after being released by the Broncos. Joe Flacco is married to Lilli Brown and they have one child together. 

Joe Flacco is a former Super Bowl champion and MVP who has had a successful NFL career. Joe Flacco was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2008 and started his career as a backup quarterback. 

In 2012, he became the starting quarterback for the Ravens and led them to their first championship in franchise history.

He won another championship with the Ravens in 2017, becoming only the second player (after Tom Brady) to win multiple titles with one team in the league's modern era of football. 

Joe Flacco currently plays for the Philadelphia Eagles and is considered one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.

2. Mike Adams


Mike Adams Career

  • San Francisco 49ers (2004–2006)
  • Cleveland Browns (2007–2011)
  • Denver Broncos (2012–2013)
  • Indianapolis Colts (2014–2016)
  • Carolina Panthers (2017–2018)
  • Houston Texans (2019)

Mike Adams is a safety who played for the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, and Indianapolis Colts in his NFL career. He was undrafted out of Delaware in 2004 but did make an appearance in one game with the 49ers that year.

Adams made his biggest impact during his time with the Browns where he started all 16 games in 2007 and recorded 82 tackles (46 solos), five interceptions, four sacks, and two fumble recoveries over three seasons with them. 

In 2011, Adams signed on with the Colts and spent two seasons there before being released at the end of the 2013 season.

Since retiring from professional football, Adams has worked as a commentator for Fox Sports 1's coverage of college football games as well as appearing on various talk shows to discuss topics such as nutrition and fitness. 

Adams played defensive back in the NFL for 9 seasons, most notably with the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers. Adams has worked as an assistant coach with the Chicago Bears since 2021.

He is a two-time Pro Bowler and Second Team All-Atlantic 10 selection from 2003 while playing for Richmond ECU.

3. Rich Gannon


Rich Gannon Career

  • NFL Most Valuable Player (2002)
  • 2× First-team All-Pro (2000, 2002)
  • 4× Pro Bowl (1999–2002)
  • NFL passing yards leader (2002)
  • 2× Bert Bell Award (2000, 2002)

Rich Gannon was a quarterback in the NFL for 20 seasons, playing for the Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, and Kansas City Chiefs. He led his teams to two Super Bowls (VI and XVII) and won both games.

Gannon attended St. Joseph's Preparatory School in Philadelphia before going on to play college football at Delaware. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings as the 98th overall pick in the 1987 NFL Draft.

In 1992, he signed with the Washington Redskins and helped lead them to their first Super Bowl victory that season. 

After leaving Washington in 1993, he played three more seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs before retiring from professional football following the 1998 season Rich Gannon is considered one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

He was a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time MVP and holds several records for the Oakland Raiders. Gannon played his entire career with the Raiders, leading them to three consecutive AFC West titles from 1999 to 2001. 

After retiring as a player, Gannon served as an analyst for ESPN's Monday Night Football broadcasts from 2008 to 2010 before joining CBS Sports in 2011 as an NFL analyst full-time.

Rich Gannon is currently retired but still frequently attends Raider games at home and abroad.

4. Nick Boyle

Tight end

Nick Boyle Career

  • High school: Sussex (NJ) High Point Regional
  • College: Delaware
  • Position: Tight end
  • NFL Draft: 2015 / Round: 5 / Pick: 171
  • Baltimore Ravens (2015–2022)
  • Receptions: 121, Receiving yards: 1,049, Receiving touchdowns: 4
  • Receptions: 121
  • Receiving yards: 1,049
  • Receiving touchdowns: 4

Nick Boyle was born in 1993 and attended Sussex High Point Regional. He played college football at Delaware, where he caught 73 passes for 1,014 yards and 10 touchdowns in his final season.

Boyle was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens as a fifth-round pick in 2015. He has since been traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, but is currently on injured reserve with an ankle injury sustained during preseason play.

Nick is tall and athletic for a tight end, having recorded 61 catches for 721 yards and six touchdowns over two seasons with Baltimore (2015-16). After being dealt to Philly earlier this year, Boyle has yet to establish himself as one of their starting tight ends due to injuries.

However he remains a key member of their offense nonetheless Nick Boyle is a versatile offensive lineman who has started all 16 games for the Baltimore Ravens this season.

He was drafted by the Ravens in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft and showed potential as a starter during his rookie campaign. Boyle has been solid on both pass blocking and run blocking this year, helping to pave the way for Lamar Jackson's prolific offense. 

Although he may not be household name, Boyle should be considered one of the better young linemen in football and will only get better with experience.

5. Matt Nagy


  • High school: Manheim Central (Manheim, Pennsylvania)
  • College: Delaware (1996–2000)
  • Undrafted: 2001
  • As player:, Third-team I-AA All-American (2000), First-team All-A-10 (2000), Second-team All-Arena (2005), , As coach:, , AP NFL Coach of the Year (2018), PFWA Coach of the Year (2018)
  • TD–INT: 374–55, Passing yards: 18,866, Passer rating: 115.11
  • TD–INT: 374–55
  • Passing yards: 18,866
  • Passer rating: 115.11

Matt Nagy is a senior assistant with the Kansas City Chiefs. He is a quarterbacks coach and has been with the team since 2013. Nagy played football at Delaware from 1996 to 2000.

He was not drafted but played in the NFL for four seasons as a player. Nagy has extensive coaching experience, having worked with the New York Dragons, Carolina Cobras, Georgia Force, and Columbus Destroyers.

Nagy is known for his work with quarterbacks, and his tutelage has helped several players reach the NFL. He is a respected member of the coaching community. Nagy is married with two children. He enjoys spending time with his family and is a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles.

He was the quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2008-2009. Nagy then became the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs in 2013. 

He was promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2016, and remained in that position until 2017. Nagy was then hired as the head coach of the Bears in January 2018.

6. Andy Hall


  • High school: Cheraw (SC)
  • College: Delaware
  • NFL Draft: 2004 / Round: 6 / Pick: 185
  • Philadelphia Eagles (2004–2005), Las Vegas Gladiators (2006), Nashville Kats (2007), Tennessee Valley Vipers (2008), Austin Wranglers (2008)

Andy Hall was a quarterback at Delaware and was drafted in the 6th round of the 2004 NFL Draft. Hall has played for the Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Hall has appeared in over 100 games in the NFL and has completed over 4,000 yards of total offense. Hall is a two-time Pro Bowler and was the Bucs' MVP in 2014. Hall is married with two children and is currently a quarterbacks coach for the New Orleans Saints.

Hall was drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played for the Las Vegas Gladiators, Nashville Kats, and Austin Wranglers in the Arena Football League. He also played for the Philadelphia Eagles in the National Football League.

He has also played for the United States national team. He has a total of 181 catches for 2,812 yards and 26 touchdowns in his career. 

He was named to the All-Arena Team in 2006 and 2007. He is currently a free agent. He was born on December 6, 1984 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

7. Zach Kerr

Defensive lineman

Zach Kerr Career

  • High school: Quince Orchard, (Gaithersburg, Maryland)
  • College: Delaware
  • Position: Defensive End
  • Undrafted: 2014
  • Indianapolis Colts (2014–2016), Denver Broncos (2017–2018), Arizona Cardinals (2019), Carolina Panthers (2020), San Francisco 49ers (2021), Arizona Cardinals (2021), Cincinnati Bengals (2021)
  • Second-team All-CAA (2012)
  • Total tackles: 173, Sacks: 9.5, Forced fumbles: 2, Fumble recoveries: 1
  • Total tackles: 173
  • Sacks: 9.5
  • Forced fumbles: 2
  • Fumble recoveries: 1

Zach Kerr was born in 1990 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He attended Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland, where he was a two-time All-District selection and a three-time All-Conference selection.

Kerr played college football at Delaware, where he was a three-time First-Team All-American and a two-time First-Team All-Conference selection. Kerr was undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft, but was signed by the Indianapolis Colts.

He played for the Colts from 2014 to 2016. Kerr was signed by the Denver Broncos in 2017, and played for them from 2017 to 2018. 

Zach Kerr is currently a free agent. Zach Kerr was a two-time second-team All-CAA player and had 173 tackles, 9.5 sacks, and two fumble recoveries in his four year career at William & Mary.

Kerr was drafted in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals are expected to use Kerr as a backup to Chandler Jones. 

Kerr is the second William & Mary player to be drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft. Kerr is a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Kerr is the first William & Mary player to be drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft.

8. Scott Brunner

Scott Brunner Career

  • College: Delaware
  • NFL Draft: 1980 / Round: 6 / Pick: 145
  • New York Giants (1980–1983), Denver Broncos (1984), Green Bay Packers (1985)*, St. Louis Cardinals (1985)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • First-team All-American (1979), ECAC All-East Player of the Year (1979)
  • TD–INT: 29–54, Passing yards: 6,457, QB rating: 56.3
  • TD–INT: 29–54
  • Passing yards: 6,457
  • QB rating: 56.3

Scott Brunner is a former NFL quarterback who played for the New York Giants and Denver Broncos. Brunner was drafted by the Giants in the 1980 NFL Draft and played for them from 1980 to 1983.

Brunner then spent 1984 with the Denver Broncos and played in 13 games. Brunner then retired from the NFL and has since worked as a football commentator. Brunner was born in Sellersville, Pennsylvania, in 1957.

Brunner is now 65 years old and lives in Florida. Brunner is a former football quarterback and has commentated for ESPN since retiring from the NFL. Brunner was drafted in the sixth round of the 1980 NFL Draft and played for the New York Giants and Denver Broncos.

Brunner retired from the NFL in 1984 and has since worked as a football commentator for ESPN. Brunner was a two-time All-American and ECAC Player of the Year at Boston University. 

Brunner was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the third round of the 1985 NFL Draft and started 35 games over the next three seasons.

Brunner was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1988 and went on to start all 16 games in his first season with the team. Brunner was released by the Cardinals in 1990 and signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers the following year. 

Brunner retired from the NFL after the 1992 season. Brunner was inducted into the Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.

Brunner currently works as an NFL analyst for Fox Sports. Brunner is married and has two children. Brunner is a member of the Boston University Hall of Fame.

9. Gino Gradkowski

Gino Gradkowski Career

  • High school: Seton-La Salle Catholic, (Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania)
  • College: Delaware
  • NFL Draft: 2012 / Round: 4 / Pick: 98
  • Baltimore Ravens (2012–2014), Denver Broncos (2015)*, Atlanta Falcons (2015), Carolina Panthers (2016), New York Jets (2018)*, Denver Broncos (2018)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Super Bowl champion (XLVII)
  • Games played: 60, Games started: 20
  • Games played: 60
  • Games started: 20

Gino Gradkowski was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2012 NFL Draft. He played for the Ravens for four seasons before signing with the Jets in 2018.

Gino Gradkowski is a center and is known for his strong blocking presence. He has also been known to be a reliable receiver out of the backfield. Gino Gradkowski is a member of the United States National Football Team.

Gino Gradkowski has been a backup quarterback for his entire NFL career, but he has appeared in a total of 60 games. He has started in only 20 games, but has played a significant role in three of Denver's four Super Bowl appearances.

Gradkowski is a solid passer who is able to make plays with his feet when necessary. He is a veteran who will be able to help Denver quarterback Case Keenum as they attempt to defend their Super Bowl title. Gino Gradkowski is a solid backup quarterback who can be counted on in important situations.

10. Jaime Ramos


  • : Atlético Madrid
  • Years: Team: Apps: (Gls)
  • 1991–1992: Atlético Madrid B: :
  • 1992–1993: Aranjuez: :
  • 1993–1996: Getafe: 94: (2)
  • 1996–1999: Leganés: 111: (1)
  • 1999–2001: Villarreal: 45: (1)
  • 2001–2003: Murcia: 33: (1)
  • 2003–2006: Almería: 78: (1)
  • 2006–2008: Écija: 42: (1)
  • 2008–2009: Alzira: 29: (0)
  • 2009–2011: San Fernando: :
  • 2011–2012: Coslada: :
  • Total: : 432: (7)
  • 2013–2014: Almería (assistant)
  • 2016–2017: UCAM Murcia (assistant)
  • 2017–2018: Lugo (assistant)
  • 2018–2019: Huesca (assistant)
  • 2020–2021: Girona (assistant)
  • 2021–: Elche (assistant)
  • *Club domestic league appearances and goals

Jaime Ramos is a Spanish footballer who currently plays as a defensive midfielder for Elche. Ramos started his career at Atlético Madrid, making his senior debut in 1993.

He spent six seasons with the club, winning two La Liga titles and two Copa del Rey trophies. Ramos joined Getafe in 1996, where he spent four seasons. He then moved to Elche in 2001.

Ramos has represented Spain at international level, making his debut in 1995. He has won 34 caps and played at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Ramos is also a former captain of the Spain national team.

Ramos is known for his strong tackling and ball-winning abilities. Ramos has been an assistant coach at Elche since 2017. Ramos is married and has two children. Ramos is a popular figure in the Spanish football community, and is often referred to as "The General".

11. Dan Reeder


  • High school: Christiana, (Newark, Delaware)
  • College: Delaware
  • NFL Draft: 1985 / Round: 5 / Pick: 135
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (1986–1987)
  • Rushing attempts–yards: 8–28, Receptions–yards: 2–4, Touchdowns: 0
  • Rushing attempts–yards: 8–28
  • Receptions–yards: 2–4
  • Touchdowns: 0

Dan Reeder was drafted in the fifth round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played for the Eagles from 1985-1993 and then for the San Diego Chargers from 1994-1996.

Reeder then played for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1997-2001. Reeder finished his career with the Tennessee Titans in 2002. He has had a successful career as a running back and has been inducted into the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame and the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame.

Reeder is now retired and lives in Shamokin, Pennsylvania. He is a father of four and has been married to his wife, Jan, for over 25 years. Dan Reeder is a member of the Eagles Alumni Association and the San Diego Chargers Alumni Association. 

He is also a member of the American Football Coaches Association and the Pennsylvania Football Hall of Fame.

12. Jake Reed


  • High school: Covington (GA) Newton
  • College: Grambling State
  • NFL Draft: 1991 / Round: 3 / Pick: 68
  • Minnesota Vikings (1991–1999), New Orleans Saints (2000), Minnesota Vikings (2001), New Orleans Saints (2002)
  • Receptions: 450, Receiving yards: 6,999, Receiving touchdowns: 36
  • Receptions: 450
  • Receiving yards: 6,999
  • Receiving touchdowns: 36

Jake Reed is a wide receiver who played in the NFL from 1991 to 2001. Reed played for the Atlanta Falcons, the Detroit Lions, and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Reed was a three-time Pro Bowler and was inducted into the Atlanta Falcons Hall of Fame in 2014. Reed is a father of four and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

Reed is a member of the Grambling State Hall of Fame. Reed is a member of the Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor. Reed is a motivational speaker and has worked with children with disabilities.

Reed is a member of the National Football Retired Players Association. Reed is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. Reed was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft.

Reed played for the Minnesota Vikings from 2001 to 2002. Reed had a breakout year in 2002 with 96 receptions for 1,431 yards and 10 touchdowns. 

Reed played for the New Orleans Saints from 2003 to 2004. Reed was released by the New Orleans Saints in 2004 and signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

Reed had a mediocre year in 2004 with only 41 receptions for 572 yards and one touchdown. Reed signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005, but was released in 2006. 

Reed signed with the Detroit Lions in 2007, but was released in 2008. Reed signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009, but was released in 2010.

13. Ronald Talley


  • High school: Renaissance, (Detroit, Michigan)
  • College: Delaware
  • Undrafted: 2009
  • Green Bay Packers (2009–2010)*, Arizona Cardinals (2010–2013), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014)*, New York Jets (2015)*
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • CAA All–Conference (2008)
  • Tackles: 14, Sacks: 1.0
  • Tackles: 14
  • Sacks: 1.0

Ronald Talley is a defensive end who was drafted by the Packers in 2009 but did not make the team. He played for the Packers for a season in 2009 but then was released.

He then played for the Detroit Lions in 2010. He signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2011 and played for them until he was released in 2013. He then played for the Arizona Cardinals in 2014 and 2015.

He signed with the Tennessee Titans in 2016 and has remained with them since. Ronald Talley is a versatile defensive end who has played in both the 4-3 and 3-4 defenses. He has recorded 53 sacks in his career which is eighth best in NFL history.

Ronald Talley is currently playing for the Tennessee Titans. Ronald Talley is a 3-4 outside linebacker who was drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. Talley played college football at Appalachian State and was a two-time All-Conference selection.

Talley has appeared in 36 games over the course of his three-year NFL career, totaling 14 tackles and one sack. Talley is currently a free agent and is likely to sign with another team in the near future.

Final Words

The University of Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens football team is a NCAA Division I Football Champ. The team has produced many great players over the years, but there are a few who stand out the most.

These players have helped the team achieve great success, and they are the best of all time.

Photo of author

John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn

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