BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southeastern Conference 2013 Football Legends Class includes 14 former SEC players who excelled on the gridiron and helped write the rich history of the sport at their respective institutions. The conference is announcing the legends from its Eastern Division schools Wednesday and the Western Division schools on Thursday.
Tennessee’s legend is Inky Johnson, who played in 23 games for the Vols from 2004-06 before a serious shoulder injury cut short his playing career.
Johnson started eight games in his career, including six in 2005 and the first two games in 2006. He finished his career with 41 tackles, one sack, 3.5 tackles for loss, 10 pass breakups, one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
Johnson opened the 2006 season with six tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass broken up in a season-opening win over California, but suffered a career-ending injury in the subsequent week’s win over Air Force.
Johnson has since used his story of overcoming adversity and adapting to change to help mentor underprivileged youth in Knoxville and his hometown of Atlanta.
This year’s class includes All-Americans, All-SEC selections and Academic All-Americans as well as NCAA and SEC record holders. 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 2013 SEC Football “Weekend of Champions” Dec. 6-7 in Atlanta, Ga. The annual SEC Legends Dinner presented by AT&T will be held Dec. 6 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 Georgia Dome on Sat., Dec. 7.
Below is a listing of the other players of the 2013 SEC Football Legends representing Eastern Division schools:
FLORIDA – Wes Chandler, Wide Receiver, 1974-77
A first-team All-American for the Gators in both 1976 and 1977, Wes Chandler is one of the most revered receivers in Florida history, leading the team in receiving three straight years. He hauled in 92 passes in his career, good for 1,963 yards and a then-school record 22 touchdowns. He now sits at No. 8 on the career touchdowns board. He finished his career with the Gators as the highest-scoring non-kicker in Florida’s history. He was also an Academic All-American his senior season. Drafted by the New Orleans Saints, he enjoyed an 11-year career in the NFL. He played in four Pro Bowls for the Saints and San Diego Chargers and he was an All-Pro wide receiver for the Chargers in 1982. He went on to a professional and college coaching career.
GEORGIA – Tim Worley, Tailback, 1985-88
As a junior in 1988, Tim Worley became the sixth back in Georgia history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season, totaling 1,216 while leading the SEC in rushing. He was only the seventh Bulldog ever to rush for over 2,000 yards in a career with 2,038. His 108 points scored was the second most in a single season, trailing only legendary Herschel Walker’s 120 points in 1981. Worley’s 18 touchdowns in 1988 were also second best in Bulldog history. As a junior in 1988, Worley was a consensus first team All-America selection and he was taken in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played six seasons in the NFL with the Steelers and the Chicago Bears.
KENTUCKY – Wilbur Hackett, Linebacker, 1968-70
Wilbur Hackett was a three-year starting linebacker at Kentucky, earning Sophomore All-SEC honors in 1968, honorable mention All-SEC as a junior and was Kentucky’s Co-Most Valuable Player as a senior. One of the pioneers of integration in the Southeastern Conference, in 1969 he became the first African-American team captain in any sport in SEC history. Hackett stayed close to athletics by becoming a baseball umpire and football game official, retiring recently after 15 seasons as an SEC football official. His officiating highlights included three SEC Championship Games, two Rose Bowls and a Fiesta Bowl. He is a member of the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame and the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame.
MISSOURI – Phil Bradley, Quarterback, 1977-80
Phil Bradley was one of the top quarterbacks in Mizzou history and arguably the best two-sport athlete in Tiger annals. A three-time All-Conference pick from 1978-80, he won the Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year award as a senior in 1980. He quarterbacked Mizzou to 23 wins and three bowl games in his final three years and set the Big Eight total offense career record with 6,459. He was a star outfielder on MU baseball teams that won the Big Eight title in 1980 and played in two NCAA Tournaments. Bradley enjoyed an eight-year Major League baseball career and was named to the American League All-Star Team in 1985. He is currently a special assistant for the Major League Baseball Players Association and a volunteer coach for the nationally-ranked Tiger softball team.
SOUTH CAROLINA – Max Runager, Punter 1974-78
Arguably the best punter in Carolina football history, Max Runager was a three-year starter and team captain in 1978. The strong-legged punter is tied for fourth in school history with a career punting average of 41.1 yards and was selected as the punter on South Carolina's all-time modern era team. Runager was selected to play in the Canadian-American Bowl following his senior season and then was an eighth round selection by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1979 NFL draft. He spent 11 years in the National Football League with the Eagles, 49ers and Browns and he punted for two Super Bowl teams, the 1980 Eagles and the 1984 49ers. Runager was elected to the University of South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.
VANDERBILT – Jimmy Williams, Cornerback/Running Back, 1997-2000
One of only three players in Vanderbilt history to return both a punt and kickoff for a touchdown, Jimmy Williams earned All-SEC honors in 1998, his first year as a starting cornerback. In 1997, Williams was a Freshman All-SEC pick as a starting running back who led the Commodores in rushing and receiving. After moving to defense, Williams was among the team's interception leaders three straight years and still ranks among the team's all-time interception leaders, also leading the team in kickoff returns three straight years. Drafted by the Buffalo Bills, he played six years in the NFL with San Francisco and Seattle before an injury forced his retirement. After his playing career, he started the Intercepting Our Youth Foundation to benefit youth in his hometown of Baton Rouge.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org)