BIRMINGHAM, Ala.– The Southeastern Conference 2013 Football Legends Class (Western Division) includes 14 former SEC stars who excelled on the gridiron and helped write the rich history of the sport at their respective institutions. Legends from the Eastern Division schools were announced Wednesday.
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 and biographies of the 2013 SEC Football Legends representing Western Division institutions.
ALABAMA – Marty Lyons, Defensive Tackle, 1975-78
One of the greatest defensive linemen in Alabama history, Marty Lyons played for coach Bear Bryant's Alabama teams from 1975-78. At Alabama, he had career totals of 202 tackles, 6 forced fumbles and 4 fumble recoveries, earning consensus first-team All-America honors as a senior in 1978 when he helped lead the Tide to a national championship. He was a key player in the famous goal line stand in the 1979 Sugar Bowl. Lyons was named All-SEC in 1977 and 1978 and he was selected to the Tide’s Team of the Century. His best game came against Auburn in 1978 (16 tackles, 3 quarterback sacks) in a 34-16 win. He was a first round NFL Draft pick of the New York Jets in 1978. Lyons is a member of the State of Alabama Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame.
ARKANSAS – Wayne Martin, Defensive Tackle, 1985-88
A consensus first-team All-American and All-Southwest Conference defensive tackle, Wayne Martin racked up 162 tackles in his Razorback career including 37 tackles for loss (-189) and 25.5 sacks. He helped lead Arkansas to four bowl games and a Southwest Conference Championship in 1988. He still holds the single game and career records for sacks at Arkansas and is tied for third in the school record book for tackles for loss. Following his Razorback career, Martin went on to star for the New Orleans Saints for 11 seasons, playing in 171 games and posting 596 tackles and 82.5 sacks. Martin is a member of the University of Arkansas’ All-Century Team, 1980s All-Decade Team and the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame.
AUBURN – Frank Sanders, Wide Receiver, 1991-94
A four year letter-winner at wide receiver for Auburn from 1991-94, Frank Sanders was named first-team All-America by the Associated Press, the Football Writers of America and Scripps his senior season after leading the SEC in receiving yards per game and breaking Auburn’s single-season record for receptions (58). A consensus All-SEC selection as a senior, Sanders finished his Auburn career second in total receptions with 121, receiving yardage with 1,998 and receiving touchdowns with 15. He had a nine-year NFL career from 1995-2003, including eight with the Arizona Cardinals and one with Baltimore Ravens. A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sanders had 507 receptions for 6,749 yards and 24 touchdowns during his professional career.
LSU – Kevin Faulk, Running Back/Return Specialist, 1995-98
Kevin Faulk is LSU’s all-time leading rusher and a three-time All-SEC selection in 1996, 1997 and 1998 for the Tigers. After earning SEC Offensive Freshman of the Year honors in 1995, he was named first-team AP All-America as an all-purpose back his sophomore year in 1996 as he led a resurgence of LSU football. He finished his career with 4,557 rushing yards – third in the SEC behind only Georgia’s Herschel Walker and Arkansas’ Darren McFadden -- and an SEC record 6,833 all-purpose yards. He is still the LSU career record holder in rushing TDs (46) and during his career he rushed for 1,000 or more yards in three seasons. Faulk spent 13 years with New England Patriots and was a member of three Super Bowl winning teams in 2002, 2004 and 2005.
OLE MISS – Jeff Herrod, Linebacker, 1984-87
During his four-year career at Ole Miss, linebacker Jeff Herrod became the school’s all-time leader in tackles with 528, while also leading the Rebels in tackles all three years as a full-time starter. A two-time All-SEC selection and a third-team All-America pick, Herrod was named the Defensive MVP in the 1987 Senior Bowl. He had over 1,300 tackles during his 11-year career in the NFL, playing 10 years with the Indianapolis Colts and one year with the Philadelphia Eagles. Even in retirement, he has represented the Colts on several occasions, including the 2012 NFL Draft and the 2012 NFL Kickoff celebration, taking part in NFL Play 60 Youth Clinics. He is a member of the Ole Miss Team of the Century, the Ole Miss Sports Hall of Fame and Athlon Sports All-Time Rebel Team.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Glen Collins, Defensive Line, 1978-81
Glen Collins was one of Mississippi State’s most fierce defensive linemen in the early 1980’s. His 1981 campaign landed him in the national spotlight as he led a unit that held 11 opponents to 88 yards rushing per game and 261 yards in total offense per game - both Top 15 nationally. Collins helped the Bulldogs post an 8-4 record that season, including a 10-0 shutout victory in the Hall of Fame Bowl against Kansas. He was named first team All-American by Kodak and The Sporting News, and was a UPI First Team All-SEC choice. He finished his collegiate career by playing in the East-West Shrine Game and the Olympia Gold Bowl. Collins was drafted in the first round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals and enjoyed a successful seven-year career in pro football.
TEXAS A&M – Dat Nguyen, Linebacker, 1995-98
Dat Nguyen was the winner of the 1998 Lombardi Award and Bednarik Award as well as a consensus All-America linebacker at Texas A&M. He was named All-Big 12 three straight years, leading the Aggies and its famed “Wrecking Crew” defense to the 1998 Big 12 Championship by upsetting top-ranked Kansas State and went on to lead A&M to the Sugar Bowl. Nguyen started every game of his Texas A&M career, setting a school record with 51 consecutive starts while collecting a school-record 157 career tackles. He is the only player in school history to lead the team in tackles four consecutive years. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and played from 1999 to 2005, earning All-Pro honors in 2003 while becoming the first Vietnamese-American linebacker in the NFL.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com)