High School Legends at the Next Level

ATLANTA, Ga. (SCORE Atlanta) - The greatness of high school football players in Georgia is unrivaled and the countless legacies left behind provide memories that will last a lifetime. The talents of these premier athletes were not limited to their high school years and the recognition of their successes at the next level is a feather in their collective caps.

Of the overlapping 18 members of the Georgia High School Football and College Football Halls of Fame, eight are from the University of Georgia, two are from Georgia Tech, two from Florida State and one each from Tennessee, Maryland State, South Carolina, Ohio State, Southern Miss and Auburn.

The group from the University of Georgia is headed by arguably the greatest football player to come out of the state, Johnson County standout running back Herschel Walker, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

The eldest of the Athens group, and all 45 inductees, is legendary halfback Bob McWhorter. Born in 1891, McWhorter was the first well-known football player in the state. He played football at Georgia from 1910 to 1913 after a storied career at Gordon Institute in Barnesville, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954.

Georgia lineman Bill Stanfill (Cairo) was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998. Bulldogs linebacker David Pollack (Shiloh) was inducted in 2020. Legendary quarterback Fran Tarkenton (Athens) was inducted in 1987, a year after his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Georgia lineman Matt Stinchcomb (Parkview) was inducted in 2018. Linebacker Pat Dye (Richmond Academy) was inducted as a coach (Auburn) in 2005. Most recently, Champ Bailey (Charlton County) was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2022.

Georgia Tech and Sandy Creek High School great Calvin Johnson spent his time on ‘The Flats’ making other worldly receptions before embarking on an NFL career with the Detroit Lions. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018. Alongside Johnson, Georgia Tech linebacker Larry Morris, who played at Decatur High School, was a member of head coach Bobby Dodd’s greatest Tech team. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992, one of 12 Georgia Tech players there.

Florida State’s overlapping members of both the Georgia High School Football and College Football Halls are 1993 Heisman-winning quarterback Charlie Ward (2006), who played at Thomas County Central, and Ron Simmons (2008) who played at Warner Robins.

In 2010, running back Emerson Boozer (Maryland State, Laney) became the first graduate of a GIA school to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Tracy Rocker (Fulton) played defensive tackle at Auburn and in 1988 he won both the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy, the first SEC player to do so. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004. Center Chip Kell (Tennessee, Avondale) was a dominant blocker for runners behind him and was a three-time All-SEC selection at Tennessee. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Punter Ray Guy (Southern Miss, Thomson) is arguably the greatest punter of all time and joined the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014, the same year he joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Guard Jim Parker (Ohio State, Ballard-Hudson) was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973 and College Football Hall of Fame in 1974. Running back George Rogers (Duluth, South Carolina) became the first South Carolina player to have his number retired while he was still active at the school and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

Hall of Fame Game is Friday at 8 PM on Peachtree TV. Here is the link to watch.