Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame announces 100-player ballot

Among the 100 players announced Tuesday for the Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame were (from left) William Andrews of Thomasville, Jeff Francoeur of Parkview and Tray Blackmon of LaGrange.

Credit: AJC

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Among the 100 players announced Tuesday for the Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame were (from left) William Andrews of Thomasville, Jeff Francoeur of Parkview and Tray Blackmon of LaGrange.

Credit: AJC

Credit: AJC

The Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame finalized its ballot Tuesday, revealing the 100 candidates in contention for 36 spots in the inaugural class to be inducted in October.

The 100 players span 100 years from the University of Georgia’s first All-American, Bob McWhorter, whose final prep season at Gordon Institute was 1909, to Lassiter’s Hutson Mason, who set state high school passing records in 2009 before signing with Georgia.

The 100 include Heisman Trophy winners George Rogers of Duluth, Herschel Walker of Johnson County and Charlie Ward of Thomas County Central.

The high school with the most balloted players is Valdosta with four. They are Bruce Bennett, Stan Rome, Buck Belue and Coleman Rudolph. Represented with three players apiece are Spencer, Americus and LaGrange.

More than half the 100 played their college ball at Georgia (35) or Georgia Tech (20). Those include Georgia’s Scott Woerner (Jonesboro), Garrison Hearst (Lincoln County), Eric Zeier (Marietta), David Pollack (Shiloh) and Hines Ward (Forest Park) and Tech’s Bill Curry (College Park), Eddie Lee Ivery (Thomson), Pat Swilling (Stephens County) and Jonathan Dwyer (Kell).

Three of the 100 didn’t play college football. Jeff Francoeur, the AJC’s all-class player of the year in 2001 when he was a state-winning Parkview wide receiver and defensive back, was committed to Clemson as a tight end but opted for baseball when drafted by the Braves. He played 12 seasons in the big leagues.

Al Pinkins, who set Georgia’s single-season passing record in 1989 while leading Mitchell-Baker to a state championship, played basketball in college. He’s now an assistant basketball coach at Texas Tech.

Then there’s Otis Sistrunk, who played at Columbus’ Spencer High in the 1960s and was discovered playing semi-pro football, got a tryout with the Oakland Raiders and played seven seasons, starting from Day 1. TV announcers of his time commonly said Sistrunk was from the University of Mars.

The 100 are broken into eight eras from pre-1950 to post 2000.

One of the eras is the Georgia Interscholastic Association, which governed Black high school sports from 1948-70. GIA players on the ballot include NFL players Sistrunk, Emerson Boozer and Ernie Green along with others who are hardly known today. One is John Henry Jackson, a quarterback who led Spencer of Columbus to a 1956 state championship. He’s believed to be the first Black player from Georgia to play for a historically white college in a major conference. He was Indiana’s leading passer in 1960 playing in the Big Ten.

The Hall last month announced nine automatic inductees as those former Georgia high school football players who are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Those are Calvin Johnson of Sandy Creek, Champ Bailey of Charlton County, Ray Guy of Thomson, Fran Tarkenton of Athens, Mel Blount of Lyons Industrial, Shannon Sharpe of Glennville, Richard Dent of Murphy (Atlanta), Rayfield Wright of Fairmont (Griffin) and Jim Parker of Ballard-Hudson (Macon).

Hall of Fame eligibility criteria require that players be out of high school for eight seasons and retired from football, which excludes active players from Georgia such as Trevor Lawrence and Cam Newton.

The Hall of Fame’s board, comprising 36 members, will vote next month to reach the final 36. They will be announced July 14, 100 days ahead of the Oct. 22 induction at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta.

The Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame ballot:

Pre-1950 (7)

HB – Bob McWhorter, Gordon Institute (1909)

QB – Everett Strupper, Riverside Military (1913)

E – Vernon “Catfish” Smith, Lanier-Macon (1927)

HB – Bill Hartman, Georgia Military (1933)

HB – Clint Castleberry, Boys (1941)

E – George Maloof, Marist (1947)

HB – Lauren Hargrove, Fitzgerald (1949)

1950s GHSA (8)

B – Larry Morris, Decatur (1950)

G/LB – Pat Dye, Richmond Academy (1956)

L – Ken Rice, Bainbridge (1956)

L – Pete Case, Decatur (1957)

QB – Stan Gann, Northside-Atlanta (1957)

RB – Jimmy Burson, LaGrange (1958)

L – Bill Curry, College Park (1959)

B – Len Hauss, Wayne County (1959)

1960s GHSA (8)

QB – Bruce Bennett, Valdosta (1961)

L – Edgar Chandler, Cedartown (1963)

L – Bill Stanfill, Cairo (1964)

L/FB – Chip Kell, Avondale (1966)

QB – Charlie Dudish, Avondale (1967)

RB – Isaac Jackson, Lanier-Macon (1969)

RB – Andy Johnson, Athens (1969)

RB – Doyle Orange, Waycross (1969)

1948-70 GIA (9)

B – Milton Byard, Risley (1950)

QB – John Henry Jackson, Spencer (1957)

RB – Ernie Green, Spencer (1957)

B – Emerson Boozer, Laney (1961)

L – Otis Sistrunk, Spencer (1964)

DL – Julius Adams, Ballard-Hudson (1965)

QB –J ack Pitts, Trinity (1965)

WR/CB – Clarence Scott, Trinity (1966)

L – Henry Childs, Douglass-Thomasville (1969)

1970s (21)

LB – Andy Spiva, Chamblee (1972)

QB – Ray Goff, Moultrie (1972)

WR/TE – Stan Rome, Valdosta (1973)

QB – Anthony Flanagan, Southwest Atlanta (1973)

LB – Ben Zambiasi, Mount de Sales (1973)

LB – Lucius Sanford, West Fulton (1973)

DE – Reggie Wilkes, Southwest Atlanta (1973)

RB – Runt Moon, Commerce (1973)

OL – Kent Hill, Americus (1974)

RB – William Andrews, Thomasville (1974)

RB – Eddie Lee Ivery, Thomson (1974)

LB – Mackel Harris, Americus (1975)

DB/QB – Scott Woerner, Jonesboro (1976)

RB – James Brooks, Warner Robins (1976)

DL – Ron Simmons, Warner Robins (1976)

RB – George Rogers, Duluth (1976)

QB – Buck Belue, Valdosta (1977)

LB – Chip Banks, Laney (1977)

DL/FB – Larry Kinnebrew, East Rome (1977)

TE/L – Guy McIntyre, Thomasville (1978)

RB – Herschel Walker, Johnson County (1979)

1980s (11)

RB – Robert Lavette, Cartersville (1980)

OL – Bill Mayo, Dalton (1980)

LB/DB – Pat Swilling, Stephens County (1981)

OL – John Davis, Gilmer (1982)

DL – Tracy Rocker, Fulton (1983)

RB – Jerry Mays, Thomson (1984)

DL – John Johnson, LaGrange (1986)

QB – Charlie Ward, Central-Thomasville (1987)

LB/DL – Coleman Rudolph, Valdosta (1988)

WR – Andre Hastings, Morrow (1989)

RB – Garrison Hearst, Lincoln County (1989)

1990s (21)

QB – Al Pinkins, Mitchell-Baker (1990)

OL – Clay Shiver, Tift County (1990)

QB – Eric Zeier, Marietta (1990)

LB – Randall Godfrey, Lowndes (1991)

TE/OL – Adam Meadows, McEachern (1991)

OL – Jeff Saturday, Shamrock (1992)

QB – Hines Ward, Forest Park (1993)

LB/TE – Takeo Spikes, Washington County (1994)

OL – Matt Stinchcomb, Parkview (1994)

DL – Marcus Stroud, Brooks County (1994)

QB – Quincy Carter, Southwest DeKalb (1995)

DB – Deon Grant, Josey (1995)

OL – Cosey Coleman, Southwest DeKalb (1995)

OL – Jeff Backus, Norcross (1995)

RB – Jamal Lewis, Douglass (1996)

RB – Joe Burns, Thomas County Central (1997)

QB – Terrence Edwards, Washington County (1997)

RB/DL – Charles Grant, Miller County (1997)

WR – Reggie Brown, Carrollton (1998)

QB – Fabian Walker, Americus (1998)

RB – Ronnie Brown, Cartersville (1999)

2000s (15)

DL – David Pollack, Shiloh (2000)

RB – Daccus Turman, Washington-Wilkes (2000)

QB – D.J. Shockley, North Clayton (2001)

RB – Monte Williams, Commerce (2000)

DB/WR – Jeff Francoeur, Parkview (2001)

RB – Darius Walker, Buford (2003)

DL – Charles Johnson, Hawkinsville (2003)

OL – Duke Robinson, Washington (2004)

LB – Tray Blackmon, LaGrange (2004)

OL – Chris Scott, Lovejoy (2004)

QB/DB – Eric Berry, Creekside (2006)

RB – Jonathan Dwyer, Kell (2006)

LB – Rennie Curran, Brookwood (2006)

LB – Jarvis Jones, Carver-Columbus (2008)

QB – Hutson Mason, Lassiter (2009)

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