BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southeastern Conference on Tuesday announced its 2015 SEC Football Legends class, a collection of former football standouts who will be honored at events surrounding the SEC championship game in Atlanta in December.
The 2015 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 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 2015 SEC Football “Weekend of Champions” Dec.
4-5 in Atlanta. The Legends Dinner will be held Dec. 4 at the Hyatt Regency and the group will also be recognized prior to the title game at the Georgia Dome on Dec. 5.
ALABAMA – Woodrow Lowe, Linebacker, 1972-75
One of Alabama’s all-time great linebackers, Woodrow Lowe played for the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1972-75. Lowe is one of just two players in Alabama history to earn All-America honors three times. In 1973, he set an Alabama single-season record with 134 tackles which still stands today, and he was Alabama's all-time leading tackler with 315 when he finished his career. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009 and is a member of both Alabama's All-Decade Team and second team All-Century Team. A fourth round pick by San Diego in 1976, he missed only one game in 11 seasons with the Chargers and tallied 21 interceptions.
ARKANSAS – Madre Hill, Running Back, 1994-95; 1998
Among the best running backs ever to come out of the state of Arkansas, Madre Hill lettered at Arkansas in 1994-95 and 1998. He led the Razorbacks to two SEC Western Division titles and the Hogs’ first SEC Championship Game appearance in 1995. He was a first-team All-SEC selection in 1995 and is a member of the Arkansas All-Decade Team. He rushed for 2,407 yards and 25 touchdowns in his career and holds Razorback single game records for rushing touchdowns and rushing attempts. In 1995 he broke school season records with 1,387 rushing yards and six 100-yard rushing games. Drafted by the Cleveland Browns, he played two seasons in the NFL, including Super Bowl XXXVII in 2002 with Oakland.
AUBURN – Takeo Spikes, Linebacker, 1995-97
A three-year letterman from 1995-1997, Takeo Spikes was Auburn’s leader in tackles and solo stops in 1996 and 1997, earning All-America honors as a junior in 1997. As a junior he recorded 136 tackles, including nine for loss and two interceptions while helping Auburn to its first SEC Championship game appearance and an SEC Western Division title. Spikes finished his Auburn career 10th in tackles and fourth in solo tackles. A two-time first-team All-SEC pick, Spikes was selected in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. The Sandersville, Ga., native played with five teams over his 15-year NFL career and was a Pro Bowler and All-Pro selection in 2003 and 2004.
FLORIDA – Fred Taylor, Running Back, 1994-97
A standout running back for Florida from 1994-97, Fred Taylor earned first-team All-America honors by the Walter Camp Football Foundation and was named All-SEC his senior year, leading the Gators in rushing that season with 1,292 yards on 214 carries and a team-high 13 touchdowns. Taylor had eight 100-yard rushing performances and served as a team captain that stellar season. He was a first-round selection in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and went on to record seven 1,000-yard rushing seasons to rank No. 15 on the NFL’s all-time rushing yards list. He retired from the NFL following the 2010 season after a 13-year career with the Jaguars and Patriots.
GEORGIA – Richard Seymour, Defensive Tackle, 1997-2000
A four-year letterman for Georgia from 1997-2000, Richard Seymour led the Bulldogs with 74 tackles in 1999, becoming one of only two defensive linemen in UGA history to lead the team in tackles for a season. Following his junior season, Seymour was elected as a permanent team captain by his teammates. Seymour was a two-time All-SEC first-team selection and was named a first team All-American in 2000. He ended his career in Athens with a total of 233 tackles, 26 tackles-for-loss, and 10 sacks. The New England Patriots took Seymour with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2001 NFL draft. With the Patriots, Seymour won three Super Bowl rings and was named to five Pro-Bowl teams.
KENTUCKY – Dave Roller, Defensive Line, 1968-70
Dave Roller was a stalwart defensive lineman for the Kentucky Wildcats from 1968-70, earning All-America honors his senior season. Roller was named first-team All-SEC his junior and senior seasons and earned second-team honors as a sophomore. He was named to Kentucky’s All-Time Team in celebration of the first 100 years of Wildcat football in 1990 and was inducted into Kentucky’s inaugural Hall of Fame class along with the likes of George Blanda, Babe Parilli and Bear Bryant. He was chosen in the 13th round of the 1971 NFL draft by the New York Giants and enjoyed a 10-year pro career, including seven years in the National Football League.
LSU – Alan Faneca, Offensive Guard, 1995-97
A dominating blocker for LSU from 1995-97, Alan Faneca earned consensus first-team All-America honors as a junior in 1997. He was a finalist for the Outland Trophy in 1997 and was named the winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given to the best blocker in the SEC, in 1997. Faneca anchored an LSU offensive line that helped the Tigers, which featured All-American back Kevin Faulk, lead the SEC in rushing in 1996 and 1997. He opted to leave LSU after his junior season in 1997 and was the first round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He won a Super Bowl with the Steelers in 2005 and retired from the NFL in 2010 after being named to the Pro Bowl nine times and to the All-Pro first team six times.
OLE MISS – Ken Lucas, Defensive Back, 1997-2000
As a senior in 2000, Ken Lucas earned All-America and All-SEC honors, leading the nation with an Ole Miss-record 30 passes defended while also leading the Rebels with five interceptions. In 2000 he anchored a secondary that ranked first in the SEC and ninth nationally in pass efficiency defense. Lucas was a Rebel letterman from 1997-2000 and helped lead Ole Miss to four straight bowl games. He was selected in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks and played five years with the Seahawks and four years with the Carolina Panthers. He finished his NFL career with 529 tackles and 25 interceptions. Lucas was inducted into the Ole Miss Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mario Haggan, Linebacker, 1998-2002
Mario Haggan played linebacker from 1998 to 2002 for Mississippi State and was a first-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press and All-America honoree by The Sporting News in 2000. A native of Clarksdale, Mississippi, Haggan was the Bulldogs’ leading tackler in each of his last three seasons, including 119 tackles in his senior campaign. He was a second-team All-SEC selection in both 2001 and 2002 before he was selected in the seventh round of the NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills in 2003. Haggan went on to a successful 10-year career in the NFL with Buffalo, Denver and St. Louis. He served as defensive team captain for the Denver Broncos in 2009.
MISSOURI – Roger Wehrli, Defensive Back, 1966-68
A consensus All-American in 1968, Roger Wehrli broke Missouri and Big Eight punt return records during his Tiger career from 1966-68 under head coach Dan Devine. A two-time All-Big Eight player and the Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year his senior season, he intercepted 10 passes during his Missouri career, including seven in 1968. In his senior year, he led the nation in punt returns with an average of 12.0 yards per return. Wehrli went on to a standout career with the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals and was a perennial All-Pro defensive back selection. He was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004, and later was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
SOUTH CAROLINA – Andre’ Goodman, Cornerback, 1997-2001
Andre’ Goodman lettered four years and started two for South Carolina at cornerback. During his career he totaled 86 tackles with four interceptions and 20 pass deflections (8th in school history). He earned second-team All-SEC honors by the league coaches as a senior and was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll in 1999 as a sophomore. Goodman tied for the team-lead with three interceptions as a senior in 2001. Chosen in the third round of the 2002 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions, he played 10 years in the NFL with Detroit, Miami and Denver and collected 342 tackles, a sack and 19 interceptions. He currently serves as Director of Football Student-Athlete Development at South Carolina.
TENNESSEE – Chuck Smith, Defensive End, 1990-91
Hailed as the “best defensive end I ever coached” by Tennessee Coach Johnny Majors, Chuck Smith enjoyed a successful two years on Rocky Top from 1990-91. Smith was a pivotal piece to the Vols’ 1990 SEC and Sugar Bowl championship team before going on to earn All-SEC honors in 1991. That season, he totaled nine quarterback sacks as UT advanced to the Fiesta Bowl. Following the conclusion of his senior season, Smith was named MVP at the Senior Bowl and was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the 1992 NFL Draft. He would spend eight seasons in Atlanta, earning an All-Pro selection in 1997 and captaining his team to Super Bowl XXXIII in 1998.
TEXAS A&M – Bubba Bean, Running Back, 1972-75
Bubba Bean was named All-Southwest Conference twice during a four-year career that spanned from 1972-75 under Coach Emory Bellard at Texas A&M. He finished his career as the Aggies’ all-time leading rusher with 2,846 yards and held the school record for the longest touchdown run from scrimmage (94 yards vs. Texas Tech in 1975), top single-game record (204 yards vs. Clemson in 1973) as well as the top single-season rushing record (944 yards in 1975). He was named to the Texas A&M Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in 2009. Bean was selected in the first-round of the NFL draft by Atlanta in 1976 and he played three seasons for the Falcons.
VANDERBILT – Earl Bennett, Wide Receiver, 2005-07
In just three seasons with Vanderbilt, Earl Bennett became the SEC’s all-time leading receiver with 236 receptions, 28 more than any other SEC pass catcher at the time. An All-American in 2005 and a three-time All-SEC honoree, he left the Commodores after the 2007 season with numerous team receiving records and All-America honors. He became the only receiver in SEC history with 75 receptions or more in three consecutive seasons. Bennett was a third round draft choice by the Chicago Bears in 2008 and played seven seasons in the NFL. He retired after the 2014 season, then returned to Vanderbilt where he completed requirements to earn his degree in the summer of 2015.