While at Sol C. Johnson High in Savannah, George Atkinson was a running back known for his sprinter's speed.
In 1963, Atkinson helped lead Johnson to a state championship game in the old Georgia Interscholastic Association, the governing body for black high schools during segregation. He would go on to play at Morris Brown in Atlanta, then the Oakland Raiders for 10 years. Atkinson was a starting strong safety for two Super Bowl teams, including the Raiders' 1976 squad that defeated the Minnesota Vikings.
Atkinson was back in his hometown last year to meet with Johnson's players and other students as part of the NFL's celebration of Super Bowl 50. As a former Super Bowl player, Atkinson presented the school with a commemorative golden football.
"I was an Atom Smasher first," Atkinson said, as reported by the Savannah Morning News. "You need to know where your roots are, and my roots are right here. Without Sol C. Johnson, I would never be where I am today. We grew up in some difficult times, but we had great circumstances at Sol C. Johnson."
Atkinson is the most accomplished player ever to come out of Savannah and the current Region 3-AAA schools.
*Beach: Eric Green (1985)
*Groves: Ricky McBride (1974)
*Islands: D.J. Cone (2016)
*Jenkins: Dewey Warren (1963)
*Johnson: George "Butch" Atkinson (1963)
*Savannah: Taz Anderson (1955)
*Southeast Bulloch: Delmus Lockhart (1973)
*Windsor Forest: Richard Mack (1969)
Best player in school history series
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