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Southern Boys in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

This weekend, three more southern boys were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. To say that we grow them tough here in the south is an understatement. The list of our southern boys who have gone on from college, not only to play in the pros, but to be the best on the field, should make all southerners proud. This list was compiled from the Pro Football Hall of Fame website and filtered through southern high schools. This list is divided by state and the pro teams listed are those with whom the player was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Southern Boys in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Southern Boys Pro Hall of Fame

State of Alabama

Kenny “The Snake” Stabler played for Foley High School until he became quarterback for the University in Alabama under Coach Bear Bryant. He played for the Raiders and was just inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.

Junious (Buck) Buchanan was born in Gainesville, AL and attended Parker High School. He went to Grambling State University and went on to play defensive tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990. He only missed one game in 13 years and was quoted as saying,

“The only thing I ever tried to do as a football player was be consistent.”

Walter Jones was born in Aliceville, AL and went to Aliceville High School. He played tackle for Florida State University and was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. He became a Hall of Famer in 2014 and has performed in 180 games in his career.

Ozzie Newsome was born in Muscle Shoals, AL and went to high school in Leighton, AL at Colton County. He played tight end for the University of Alabama and was the Brown’s first round draft pick in 1978. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.

Bart Starr is a Hall of Famer from Montgomery, AL. He played quarterback at Sidney Lanier High School and for the University of Alabama. He played under Vince Lombardi with the Green Bay Packers and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977. He believed his job was to be a coach on the field:

“I’d say there are three things a quarterback must have: 1) He’s got to have the respect of his teammates; 2) His authority must be unquestioned; and 3) His teammates must be willing to go to the gates of hell with him.”

Johnny Lee Stallworth went to Tuscaloosa High School. He played wide receiver for the University of Alabama A & M and then went on to play for my husband’s favorite team, The Steelers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.

John Hannah attended Albertville High School, but was born in Canton, Georgia. He played guard for the University of Alabama and the New England Patriots. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

Andre Tippett is a linebacker born in Birmingham, AL, but who went to high school in New Jersey. He played for Ellsworth Junior College and pro for the New England Patriots. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.

Auburn University

I would be remiss if I didn’t include the inductees from Auburn University. Kevin Greene played linebacker for the Steelers and was just inducted this year.

Frank Gatski was from Farmington, WV and played center at Auburn and for the Browns. He was inducted in 1985.

Arkansas

Willie Davis was actually born in Lisbon, LA, but went to high school at Booker T. Washington in Texarkana, AR. He was a defensive end who played for Grambling State and the Green Bay Packers. He became part of the Hall of Fame in 1981.

Dan “Danimal” Hampton played high school football at Jacksonville High School in Jacksonville, AR. He was the defensive tackle-defensive end for Arkansas and then for the Chicago Bears. He was inducted in 2002.

Bobby Mitchell played high school football at Langston in Hot Springs. He was a wide receiver and halfback for Illinois and then for the Browns. He was inducted in 1983.

Willie Roaf went to Pine Bluff High School and played tackle for LA Tech. He went on to play with the Saints and was inducted in 2012.

Florida

Warren Sapp was born in Orlanda, FL and went to Apopka High School. His position was defensive tackle for the University of Miami. He played pro with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.

David (Deacon) Jones played football for Hungerford High School in Orlando, before he became a defensive end for Mississippi Vocational. He then went on to play for the Rams and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.

Larry Little was a guard at Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, but was born in Groveland, GA. He played college ball for Bethune-Cookman and pro with the Miami Dolphins. He was in the class of 1993 Hall of Fame.

Derrick Brooks played high school ball at Booker T. Washington, Pensacola. He was a linebacker who went on to play at Florida State and for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

Deion Sanders attended North Fort Myers and played cornerback, kick returner, and punt returner for Florida State. He played pro ball with the Falcons, Cowboys and others. He was inducted in 2011.

Emmitt Smith went to Escambia High School in Pensacola where he began his career as a running back. He attended the University of Florida and went pro with the Dallas Cowboys. He was inducted with the class of 2010.

Ted Hendricks, born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, went to high school in Hileah, FL where he began his career as a linebacker. He played for the University of Miami and then the Raiders. He was inducted in 1990.

Jack Youngblood played at Jefferson County High School in Monticello, FL. He was a defensive end at Florida and then with the Rams. He was inducted with the class of 2001.

Rickey Jackson played for Pahokee High School, the University of Pittsburgh and then as a linebacker for the New Orleans Saints. He was inducted in 2010.

St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, FL was the high school home of Michael Irvin. He played wide receiver for Miami and the Dallas Cowboys. He was inducted in 2007.

Georgia

Fran Tarkenton was born in Richmond, VA, but went to high school in Athens, GA. He was quarterback for the University of Georgia and the Minnesota Vikings. He played in 3 Super Bowls and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.

“I scramble because I’m good at it, because I can twist and dodge those big pass rushers better than most guys and we get a lot of touchdowns that way.”

Fairmont High School in Griffin, GA is where “Big Cat” Rayfield Wright got his start. He then went on to play tackle at Fort Valley State and pro with the Dallas Cowboys. He was inducted in 2006.

Shannon Sharpe began his football career at Glennville High School in Glennville,GA. He played tight end for Savannah State and the Broncos. He was inducted in 2011.

Mel Blount attended Lyons High School and then played cornerback at Southern University. He continued his career with the Steeler’s and was inducted in 1989.

Jim Parker was born in Macon, GA, and played his first three years of high school ball in Macon before moving to Ohio. He played guard-tackle for Ohio State and with the Baltimore Colts. He was inducted in 1973.

Ray Guy was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014 after playing as a punter for Thomson High School and then Southern Mississippi. He went on to play for the Raiders.

Kentucky

Flaget High School in Louisville was home to Paul Hornung, who began his career as a halfback in the game of football. He played for Notre Dame and then for the Green Bay Packers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.

Louisiana

Aeneas Williams was born in New Orleans and went to Alcee Fortier High School. He played college football as a cornerback and safety for Southern University. He was drafted by the Phoenix Cardinals and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

Terry Bradshaw attended Woodlawn High School in Shreveport. He played quarterback for Louisiana Tech and with the Steelers. He is part of the class of 1989.

Jim Taylor was a fullback from Baton Rouge. He played for Louisiana State University and the Green Bay Packers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1976.

Marshall Faulk went to George Washington Carver High School in New Orleans. He played running back for San Diego State and then for the Rams. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.

Jackie Smith went to Kentwood High School in LA. He played tight end for Northwestern Louisiana and then with the Cardinals. He was inducted in 1994.

Fred Dean played at Ruston High School. He then went to LA Tech where he played defensive end. He had 11 seasons split between the Chargers and the 49ers. He was inducted in 2008.

Steve Van Buren began his career at Warren Easton High School. He played halfback at LSU and with the Eagles. He was inducted with the class of 1965.

Charlie Joiner went to William Oscar Boston in Lake Charles, LA. He was a wide receiver for Grambling and then the San Diego Chargers. He was inducted in 1996.

Mississippi

Brett Favre began his quarterback career in Kiln, MS at Hancock North Central High School. His college years were spent at Southern Mississippi and he was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. He played most of his career with the Packers and was inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.

Lem Barney was born in Gulfport, MS and played cornerback for 33rd Avenue High School. He played for Jackson State and had an eleven season career with the Detroit Lions. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Jerry Rice is a wide receiver who played at B. L. Moor High School in Crawford, MS and college ball at Mississippi Valley State. He is arguably one of the greatest wide receivers of all time and played for the San Francisco 49ers. His NFL record is pages, not paragraphs, long. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.

Flanker, “Bambi” Lance Alworth, was born in Houston, TX, but started his career at Brookhaven High School. He played at Arkansas and then for the San Diego Chargers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.

Billy Shaw was born in Vicksburg and played guard at Carr Central High School. He continued his career at Georgia Tech and then for the Buffalo Bills. He was inducted in 1999.

Tackle, Frank “Bruiser” Kinard played at Central High School in Jackson. He was recruited by the University of Mississippi and then the Dodgers. He was inducted in 1971.

Running Back, “Sweetness” Walter Payton, was born in Columbia, MS and played for Jackson State and the Chicago Bears. He was inducted in 1993.

Jackie Slater grew up in Jackson, MS and went to Wingfield High School, Jackson State and then played tackle with the Rams. He was inducted in 2001.

Willie Brown went to Yazoo Training High School in Yazoo City, Mississippi. He played cornerback for Grambling and the Raiders. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.

Missouri

Robert (Cal) Hubbard went to Keytesville High School and played tackle at Centenary. He continued his career with the Green Bay Packers and was inducted in 1963.

Roger Wehrli played cornerback at King City High School. He went to Missouri and then had 14 seasons with the Cardinals. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.

Jimmy Conzelman went to McKinley High School in St. Louis. He played quarterback for Washington University of St. Louis and then went on to play for the Providence Steam Roller. He was inducted in 1964.

North Carolina

Carl Eller was born in Winston-Salem and played defensive end at Atkins High School. He played college ball at the University of Minnesota and for the Vikings. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.

Born in Shelby, NC, Bobby Bell began at Cleveland High School. He played linebacker and defensive end for both Minnesota and the Kansas City Chiefs. He was inducted in 1983.

Greensboro, NC at James B. Dudley High School is where you would have found Charlie Sanders. He played tight end at Minnesota and then for the Detroit Lions. He was inducted in 2007.

Sonny Jurgensen played for New Hanover High School in Wilmington. He was a quarterback for Duke and then played for the Redskins. He was inducted in 1983.

South Carolina

Art Shell is part of the class of 1989 Hall of Famers and went to high school at Bonds-Wilson in North Charleston, SC.  He played tackle for Maryland State-Eastern Shore and wore number 78 for the Oakland Raiders. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989.

Harry Carlson played high school football at McCleneghan in Florence, SC. He was a linebacker for South Carolina State and with the New York Giants. He was inducted in 2006.

Tennessee

Howard High School in Chattanooga, TN was home to Reggie White before he played defensive end for Tennessee. He continued his career with the Green Bay Packers and was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2006.

Doug Atkins played at Humbolt High School in Tennessee before he became a defensive end for Tennessee. He went on to play for the Chicago Bears and was inducted in 1982.

Gene Hickerson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007. He began his football career at Trezevant High School and played guard at Mississippi. He had 15 seasons with the Cleveland Brown’s.

 Texas

Don Maynard was a wide receiver who played at Texas-El Paso, but got his start at Colorado City High School in Colorado City, TX. He went on to play for the New York Jets and was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1987.

Charley Taylor is a wide receiver from Arizona State, but began his career on the field of Dalworth High School in Grand Prairie. He played for the Washington Redskins and was inducted in 1984.

Dunbar High School in Temple, TX is home to “Mean Joe” Greene. He was defensive tackle for North Texas State and played for the Steeler’s. He is also the star of the all-time greatest Super Bowl commercial for Coco-Cola.

Ken Houston played at Dunbar in Texarkana, TX as a strong safety and then for Prairie View A & M. He played pro ball with the Washington Redskins and was inducted in 1986.

Tim Brown attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas. He played wide receiver, kick returner and punt returner for Notre Dame and the Raiders. He was with the class of 2015.

Mike “Samurai” Singletary played high school ball at Evan E. Worthing in Houston, TX. In college, he played for Baylor and went pro with the Chicago Bears. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.

Hearne, Texas is where John Randle played defensive tackle at Hearne High School. He continued his career at Texas A & I and then as a free agent with the Vikings. He was inducted in 2010.

Bobby Layne played high school ball at Highland Park High School in Dallas, TX. He was quarterback for Texas and then with the Detroit Lions. He was inducted in 1967.

Doak Walker began at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, TX. He played halfback at Southern Methodist and then for the Detroit Lions. He was inducted in 1986.

Darrell Green went to high school at Jessie H. Jones in Houston, TX. He played cornerback at Texas A & I and then with the Redskins. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.

Earl Campbell played running back at John Tyler High School and then at Texas. He played for the Houston Oilers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

Dick (Night Train) Lane grew up in Austin and went to high school at L. C. Anderson. He played cornerback for Scottsbluff-NE Jr. College and then for the Lions. He was inducted in 1974.

Emmitt Thomas played for Marshall High School in Angleton, TX. He joined the Kansas City Chiefs as a free agent and was inducted in 2008.

Y. A. Tittle grew up in Marshall, TX and played quarterback for LSU. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971 for his performance with the New York Giants.

I’m sure most of you have heard of this guy. Tom Landry “God’s Coach” led the Dallas Cowboys as their head coach for 29 years. He went to Mission High School and played for the New York Giants. He was inducted in 1990.

Clyde “Bulldog” Turner grew up in Sweetwater, TX and played at Newman High School. He went to Hardin-Simmons and played center-linebacker for the Chicago Bears. He was inducted in 1966.

Yale Lary played at North Side in Fort Worth and went on to play defensive back for Texas A & M. He continued his career with the Detroit Lions and was inducted in 1979.

Raymond Berry played for Paris High School and then as an end for Southern Methodist. He was inducted in 1973 for his performance with Baltimore.

Gene Upshaw went to Robstown High School and then played guard for Texas A & I. He played for the Oakland Raiders. He was inducted in 1987.

Sealy High School was home to Eric Dickerson, running back for Southern Methodist and the Rams as well as the Colts. He was inducted in 1999.

Forrest Gregg attended Sulphur Springs High School and played tackle and guard for Southern Methodist. Vince Lombardi called him “the best player he ever coached” with the Packers. He was inducted in the class of 1977.

Sammy Baugh was the Sweetwater, TX quarterback who went on to Texas Christian. He played for the Washington Redskins. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1963.

Bob Lilly played high school ball at Throckmorton and then as defensive tackle for Texas Christian. He continued with the Cowboys and inducted in 1980.

Thurman Thomas was a running back who played for Willowridge High School in Sugar Land, TX. He went to Oklahoma State and then played for the Buffalo Bills. He was class of 2007.

Live with Kelly and Michael is his current team, but Michael Strahan started out in Houston, TX at Westbury High School. He played defensive end at Texas Southern and for the New York Giants. He was inducted in 2014.

Virginia

Henry Jordon, class of 1995, started at Warwick High School in Newport News, VA. He was a defensive tackle who played at the University of Virginia and for the Green Bay Packers.

Clarence “Ace” Parker went to Woodrow Wilson High School in Portsmouth, VA. He played quarterback for Duke and with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was inducted into the class of 1972.

Bill Dudley played high school ball at Graham in Bluefield, VA. He attended the University of Virginia where he played as halfback. He went on to play for the Lions, Steelers and the Redskins, with a brief hiatus to serve in the Army Air Corp during WWII. He was inducted in 1966.

Chris Hanburger was born in Fort Bragg, NC, but went to high school at Hampton in Virginia. He played linebacker for North Carolina and then the Redskins. He was inducted with the class of 2011.

Dwight Stephenson was born in Murfreesboro, NC, but also went to high school at Hampton High School. He played center for the University of Alabama and the Miami Dolphins. He was inducted in 1998.

Roosevelt Brown went to high school in Charlottesville, VA at Jefferson. He played offensive tackle at Morgan State and for the New York Giants. He was inducted in 1975.

Lawrence Taylor played high school ball at Lafayette in Williamsburg. During his college years, he played linebacker for North Carolina and then with the New York Giants. He was inducted in 1999.

Willie Lanier played for Maggie L. Walker in Richmond, VA. He was linebacker for Morgan State and then the Kansas City Chiefs. He was inducted in 1986.

Charles Haley attended William Campbell High School in Naruna, VA. He played defensive end/linebacker at James Madison and with the Cowboys and 49ers. He was part of the class of 2015.

West Virginia

Earle “Greasy” Neale went to high school at Parkersburg and then on the West Virginia Weslyan where he played end. He had a long career as player and coach in the NFL with part of it being with the Eagles. He was inducted in 1969.

Joe Stydahar went to Shinnston High School and played tackle for West Virginia. His pro career included him being the first ever NFL draft pick for the Chicago Bears. He was inducted in 1967.

 

In the words of Paul Bear Bryant:

“If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride – and never quit – you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.”

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Kim Burdette

Kim Burdette

Comments:

  • Jenna

    February 23, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Wow, I didn’t realize there were so many!!! Southerners love their football!! Bart Starr’s son used to live next door to us!

  • Leslie Anne

    February 16, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    Emmitt Smith and I went to high school together. I tried to get him to go to FSU, but he broke my heart and went with the Gators instead.

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