SEC Announces 2017 Football Legends Class; Nate Northington Representing UK
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Southeastern Conference on Tuesday, Oct. 10 announced its 2017 SEC Football Legends class, a collection of former football standouts who will be honored at events surrounding the SEC Football Championship Game in Atlanta in December.
The 2017 Football Legends Class includes 14 former stars who excelled on the gridiron and helped write the rich history of the sport at their respective institutions. This year’s class includes All-Americans, All-SEC selections and Academic All-Americans. The group represents teams that won National and SEC Championships and are represented in state, school and college football halls of fame.
The class will be honored at the 2017 SEC Football “Weekend of Champions” Dec. 1-2 in Atlanta, Ga. The annual SEC Legends Dinner presented by AT&T will be held Fri., Dec. 1 at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta and the group will also be recognized prior to the SEC Football Championship Game, which will be held at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sat., Dec. 2.
Below is a listing and biographies of the 2017 SEC Football Legends:
ALABAMA – Gene Stallings, Head Coach, 1990-96
Gene Stallings served as the head coach at Alabama from 1990-96. He led the Crimson Tide to the National Championship as well as the Southeastern Conference title in 1992, and won four SEC Western Division titles along with five bowl victories and four top-10 final national rankings. Under Stallings’ direction, Alabama posted a 28-game winning streak which spanned the 1991-93 seasons. In 1992, he was the National Coach of the Year, the AFCA Coach of the Year, the Paul Bryant Coach of the Year and the SEC Coach of the Year, an honor he earned twice at Alabama. Overall, Stallings led the Tide to an on-field record of 70-16-1. The legendary coach was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame as part of the 2010 class. Stallings became the 22nd member of the Alabama family to be inducted in the Hall of Fame.
ARKANSAS – Dan Hampton, Defensive Tackle, 1975-78
Arkansas defensive tackle Dan Hampton was a four-year letterman from 1975-78 and a three-year starter as well as a two-time All-Conference selection. Arkansas produced a 35-10-2 record during Hampton’s career, including a mark of 22-8-1 in Southwest Conference play. He totaled 239 tackles in his career, with 32 behind the line of scrimmage, while recovering six fumbles. Hampton was a first-team All-American in 1978, and he helped Arkansas to a No. 3 national finish after winning the 1978 Orange Bowl. During his senior campaign in 1978, he was named the SWC Defensive Player of the Year and earned first-team All-SWC honors. Hampton also earned the SWC Player of the Year award from the Houston Post for his senior season. A first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears, he played in the NFL for 12 seasons and became one of only two Bears’ players to play in three decades for the team. Hampton finished third on the team’s all-time career sacks list with 82 and earned All-Pro honors five times.
AUBURN – Carlos Rogers, Defensive Back, 2001-04
Auburn defensive back Carlos Rogers was a consensus All-American, a first-team All-SEC recipient and winner of the Jim Thorpe Award during his senior season in 2004 while helping lead Auburn to a perfect 13-0 record and an SEC Championship. A native of Augusta, Ga., Rogers helped Auburn's defense lead the nation in scoring defense in 2004 while being named a finalist for the Bronco Nagurski Award and a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award. He started 44 games over his four-year career with 182 tackles and seven interceptions, and holds the Auburn career record with 40 pass deflections. Rogers was selected ninth overall in the 2005 NFL Draft, making him the highest drafted defensive back in Auburn history. He played 10 years in the NFL from 2005-14, with stints with the Washington Redskins (2005-10), San Francisco 49ers (2011-13) and Oakland Raiders (2014).
FLORIDA – Danny Wuerffel, Quarterback, 1993-96
Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel was one of the most decorated players in Florida’s football history. A key member of the Gators’ teams that won four consecutive Southeastern Conference titles between 1993 and 1996, Wuerffel graduated from Florida with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. In addition, that same year, he was inducted into the Gator Football Ring of Honor alongside his former coach Steve Spurrier and former Gators Jack Youngblood and Emmitt Smith. A first-team All-American in 1995 and 1996, Wuerffel finished his career with 10,875 passing yards and 114 touchdown passes, which was the best in SEC history and the second-most in major college football history. The 1996 National Champion and Heisman Trophy winner was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
GEORGIA – Roland “Champ” Bailey, Defensive Back, 1996-98
Georgia defensive back Roland “Champ” Bailey was a consensus All-American performer on offense, defense and special teams for the Bulldogs. A workhorse player, Bailey played more than 1,000 plays during his junior season in 1998, including more than 100 plays in seven different games. The All-Southeastern Conference selection was named winner of the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defensive player and was a consensus All-American selection. Bailey was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the first round of the 1999 NFL draft and was a 12-time Pro Bowl selection from 2000-2013 as a member of the Redskins and the Denver Broncos. He was named a member of the Football Writers Association of America 75th Anniversary All-America first team in 2015.
KENTUCKY – Nate Northington, Defensive Back, 1966-67
Kentucky defensive back Nate Northington (pictured) became the first African-American to participate in a varsity football contest in the Southeastern Conference on September 30, 1967. 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the year Northington integrated SEC Football. He and fellow African-American Greg Page entered UK in 1966 and were stars on the Wildcat freshman team. They were expected to make major contributions to the varsity as sophomores; however, Page sustained a neck injury in practice in August 1967, and passed away in September. Northington played his first varsity game against Indiana on Sept. 23, 1967; one week later, he made his debut in an SEC game vs. Ole Miss. He eventually left UK but encouraged the team’s African-American freshmen, Wilbur Hackett and Houston Hogg, to stay at UK and continue his and Page’s trailblazing legacy.
LSU – Glenn Dorsey, Defensive Tackle, 2004-07
LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey is the most decorated defensive player in school history. As a senior in 2007, Dorsey captured the Lombardi, Outland, Nagurski and Lott Trophies, becoming the first LSU player in history to win any of those awards. He was often double-, and sometimes triple-teamed by opposing offensive lines. A two-time first-team All-America as both a junior and senior, Dorsey opted to return to LSU for his senior season, despite being projected as a first-round NFL draft pick following his junior campaign. He led the Tigers to the SEC and National Championship that season. He finished his career by playing in 52 games for the Tigers with 31 starts while totaling 179 tackles, including 27 for losses and 13 quarterback sacks. Dorsey was chosen with the fifth overall pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2008 NFL Draft, becoming the 31st player in LSU history to be selected in the first round.
OLE MISS – Terrence Metcalf, Offensive Line, 1997, 1999-2001
Ole Miss offensive lineman Terrence Metcalf was one of the best offensive linemen ever to suit up in the Rebel Red and Blue. Metcalf was a consensus All-American in 2001 after receiving first-team honors from Walter Camp, the American Football Coaches Association, Football News and the All-America Football Foundation. He was selected the 2001 SEC Most Valuable Lineman and played in the 2002 Senior Bowl. The Clarksdale, Mississippi, native was a four-year starter, a two-time All-SEC choice and a two-time All-America selection as a left guard and left tackle. He helped Ole Miss to three bowl appearances before being taken in the third round of the 2002 NFL Draft and playing seven seasons with the Chicago Bears. He is now coaching at Pearl River Community College, and his son D.K. is a wide receiver on the Ole Miss team.
MISSISSIPPI STATE - Floyd “Pork Chop” Womack, Offensive Line, 1997-2000
Mississippi State offensive lineman Floyd “Pork Chop” Womack is one of the greatest offensive linemen in MSU history, starting in 31 games at tackle. The 2000 season saw him earn first-team Associated Press All-America and All-Southeastern Conference honors. Womack was a member of three Mississippi State bowl teams as well as the school's only SEC Western Division championship team in 1998. A fourth-round NFL draft pick in 2001, he went on to play in the NFL for 11 seasons for the Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals. Womack started 71 NFL games before retiring at the end of the 2011 season.
MISSOURI – Brad Smith, Quarterback, 2002-05
Missouri quarterback Brad Smith helped lead the Mizzou program to national prominence in his record-setting quarterback career, as he left holding 69 school, conference and NCAA game, season and career records. Smith became the first player in NCAA Division I-A history to throw for 8,000 yards and rush for 4,000 yards in a career, and he broke the NCAA record for most career rushing yards by a quarterback. He led Mizzou to a pair of bowl games in 2003 and 2005, as well as 25 wins in four years as a starter. Smith was an outstanding student as he was named a finalist for the prestigious Draddy Award, also known as the Academic Heisman, and was named a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete. He was a fourth-round pick by the New York Jets in the 2006 NFL Draft, and played in 104 games over nine seasons with the Jets, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles before retiring after the 2014 season.
SOUTH CAROLINA – John Abraham, Outside Linebacker, 1996-99
South Carolina outside linebacker John Abraham was a high school track star who played just one season of prep football, but was nonetheless recruited to play for head coach Brad Scott at South Carolina. The outside linebacker led the Gamecocks in quarterback sacks each of his four seasons, amassing 23.5 sacks in his career, the fourth-highest total in school history. Abraham earned All-Southeastern Conference honors his senior season and went on to become a first-round pick by the New York Jets in 2000, the 13th selection overall. He logged 15 seasons in the NFL with the Jets, Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals, earning five trips to the Pro Bowl. The four-time All-Pro selection is the Falcons’ all-time career leader in quarterback sacks.
TENNESSEE – Chad Clifton, Offensive Line, 1995-99
Tennessee offensive lineman Chad Clifton, who hails from Martin, Tennessee, enjoyed an All-SEC career for the Volunteers from 1995-99. After using his redshirt in 1995, Clifton emerged as a fixture on the Vols' offensive line, earning All-SEC honors in 1997 and 1998 and Sporting News All-American honors as a senior in 1999. UT went 43-7 with SEC titles in 1997 and 1998 and one national title in 1998 during his four-year playing career at Rocky Top. In the summer of 2016, Clifton was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in honor of his outstanding 12-year, 165-game NFL career with the Packers, who selected him the second round of the 2000 NFL Draft with the 44th overall pick. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection (2007, 2010) and a member of the Packers' Super Bowl XLV champion team.
TEXAS A&M – Dave Elmendorf, Defensive Back, 1968-70
Texas A&M defensive back Dave Elmendorf earned All-America honors in football as a defensive back and in baseball as an outfielder, as well as being a CoSIDA Academic All-American. Elmendorf was drafted out of high school by the Atlanta Braves, but he chose to attend Texas A&M. He lettered three years in football and earned All-SWC honors twice while earning All-America honors in 1971. Elmendorf started for the Aggie baseball team four years, earning All-SWC honors three times and All-America honors in 1971. He was drafted by the LA Rams in football and the New York Yankees in baseball following his graduation, and chose the NFL. Elmendorf played nine seasons for the Rams and was named to the All-Rookie team in 1971 as a defensive back. He earned All-NFC honors in 1974 and second-team All-Pro in 1975. Elmendorf was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
VANDERBILT – Don Orr, Quarterback/Safety, 1954-56
Vanderbilt quarterback/safety Don Orr helped lead Vanderbilt to the school’s first-ever bowl game in the 1955 Gator Bowl. Orr overcame polio as a child to excel in athletics, eventually playing for the Commodores from 1954-56. After missing much of his sophomore season due to injury, he earned the starting quarterback position his junior year while doubling as a safety on defense. It was that year that Orr led Vanderbilt to an 8-3 record and the Commodores’ first-ever bowl trip. His senior season, he served as team captain and was invited to play in the North-South All-Star Game. Orr was drafted by the Chicago Bears, but he chose to enlist in the Army. He eventually found his way back to football as an SEC official for 10 years and an NFL official for 25 seasons, officiating three Super Bowls.