Georgia’s Pro Football Hall of Famers: There are six; here are five more candidates

Shannon Sharpe (Glennville) and Richard Dent (Muprhy) became the fifth and sixth former Georgia high school players to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. The others are Fran Tarkenton (Athens), Rayfield Wright (Fairmount of Griffin), Mel Blount (Vidalia Industrial) and Jim Parker (Ballard-Hudson).

Here are five former Georgia high school players who ought to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame some day:

*Champ Bailey (Charlton County) – Bailey has made 10 Pro Bowl games, the most of any former Georgia high school player, and the most of any cornerback in NFL history. Bailey, 33, remains active with the Denver Broncos, making the Pro Bowl again in 2010.

*Ray Guy (Thomson) – Guy was the first-team All-Pro punter six times for the Oakland Raiders and was named the punter for the NFL’s 7th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1994. No punter is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

*Sterling Sharpe (Glennville) – Shannon Sharpe’s brother averaged 85 catches for 1,162 yards and nine touchdowns for his seven-year career, which was ended abruptly by a neck injury. He was first-team All-NFL three times alongside Jerry Rice. His 107 receptions in 1992 were a single-season NFL record.

*Hines Ward (Forest Park) – Ward, a former Super Bowl MVP with the Pittsburgh Steelers, is tied for eighth all-time in career receptions (954) with Randy Moss. If he can catch 150 more (he had 59 receptions last season at age 34), he will jump to No. 2 behind Jerry Rice.

*Herschel Walker (Johnson County) – Walker’s 8,225 yards rushing rank 35th all-time, but consider that he spent three prime seasons in the USFL. His total rushing yards in pro football are 13,787, which would rank fifth. His total yards of 18,168 rushing, receiving and returning ranked No. 2 in NFL history when he retired.

Others worth watching: Safety Eric Berry (Creekside) of the Kansas City Chiefs was a Pro Bowl player in his rookie season of 2010. The last Georgia player to do that was George Rogers in 1981. … Former Colts center Ray Donaldson (East Rome) has as many Pro Bowl appearances (six) as Hall of Famer Rayfield Wright of Griffin. … Wide receiver Calvin Johnson (Sandy Creek) is a former No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft who has 270 receptions and 33 touchdowns in four seasons and made his first Pro Bowl last year with the Detroit Lions. … Jamal Lewis (Douglass)rushed for 1,000 or more yards seven times and hit 2,066 in 2003 with the Baltimore Ravens, the second-highest total of all-time. His 10,607 career rushing yards rank 21st in NFL history. … Guard Guy McIntyre (Thomasville) made five Pro Bowls and won three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers from 1984 to 1993. … Defensive end Bill Stanfill (Cairo) made the Pro Bowl in five of his first six seasons (more than Richard Dent) and won two Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins in the 1970s. … Kickers Jason Elam (Brookwood) and John Kasay (Clarke Central) rank sixth and eighth, respectively, in NFL scoring all-time.

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20 comments Add your comment

GeoffDawg

August 8th, 2011
9:30 am

Suprised the number isn’t higher. For comparison, what’s the total number of players all together in the Hall?

Gene

August 8th, 2011
9:36 am

Way to leave out Jessie Tuggle. He has a better shot of making it than Herschel.

GeoffDawg

August 8th, 2011
9:42 am

Gene, it’s the Pro Football HOF, not the NFL HOF. Even if it was, retiring 2nd in NFL history in all purpose yards is pretty darn impressive. Especially for a shortened career.

Todd Holcomb

August 8th, 2011
10:14 am

I had Tuggle on my mind. Not sure he has a better shot than Herschel, but he was very good. Five Pro Bowls, I think. Other former Georgia high schools w/ five pro bowls are Keith Brooking (East Coweta), Len Hauss (Jesup), Pat Swilling (Stephens County) and long-snapper Jeff Saturday (Chamblee). Tuggle had the longest career among them.

As for Hall of Fame numbers, there are roughly 225-250 players enshrined. So it’s surprising Georgia has only six – even though that ranks second among SE states. Mississippi has seven. Florida has only six.

One reason for the low numbers is while the NFL started in 1920, the numbers of great Southern players were low for the first 40 years. In the past 20-30 years, there have been quite a few more Georgia players in the NFL. I could research the numbers, but I’d imagine that there are twice, maybe three times, as many Georgia players in the NFL compared to the 1960s.

GeoffDawg

August 8th, 2011
11:14 am

Thanks for the update and analysis. The percentages 20-30 years from now will probably look a lot different.

Selhow

August 8th, 2011
11:41 am

Enter your comments here

Dude

August 8th, 2011
11:43 am

Of the candidates, Champ is probably the only hall of fame lock.

Selhow

August 8th, 2011
11:44 am

I think Hines Ward is the closest to being a sure HOF pick, followed by Sterling Sharpe. Check out my blog, Last Word n Sports, I have a story about the 2011 class.

http://www.marvelcitypress.com/thelastword/

JSS

August 8th, 2011
12:30 pm

Ray Guy is greatest omission in the present day Pro Football Hall of Fame. Sterling Sharpe is not far behind him. If Gale Sayers discounted time in good health was justified, then Sharpe was just as dominant. Walker should never be considered for the Hall. Shoot, Kevin Bryant put up number if that was the case. What’s next, Bobby Hebert in the Hall?

Todd Holcomb

August 8th, 2011
12:59 pm

Let me correct my numbers – Actually, Florida, Mississippi and Virginia, with seven apiece, have the most Hall of Famers among Southern states. Georgia has six.

Herschel Walker is an unusual case. It had to hurt that he took the pounding of some 2,000 rushing attempts in college + the USFL – before stepping foot into the NFL. Perhaps his best years were spent before the NFL. As for Kelvin Bryant, he wasn’t as good as Walker in college, the USFL or the NFL, so I don’t think that’s a fair comparison.not sure that’s a good comparison. But in judging Bryant or Jim Kelly, I think you should consider the USFL, while conceding that it wasn’t the NFL by any stretch.

JSS

August 8th, 2011
1:11 pm

@Todd Holcomb
It is not whether he was as good as Walker, it is whether he (Bryant) had the numbers in his USFL time. Herschel short changed himself in making the USFL choice. Even though I agreed with him challenging the old draft system, it was his decision and his chance at the NFL dominated Pro Football Hall of Fame was the price…

JSS

August 8th, 2011
1:34 pm

And Moon, Kelly, and to a lesser extent Anthony Carter had massive seasons post their CFL and USFL tenures…

brian

August 8th, 2011
1:56 pm

I have always wondered why there is talk about Terrell Davis getting into the HOF, but no one ever mentions Sterling Sharpe. Having said that, i don’t think he will get in. With the existing backlog of WRs (Cris Carter, Time Brown, Andre Reed) and more coming (Marvin Harrison -all-time fraud and Isaac Bruce, it will be tough. Ward may get in one day, but it will be way down the road. Herschel is an interesting argument. Voters will not count his USFL service (check out the HOF website. They do not credit USFL service).

KD

August 8th, 2011
2:39 pm

Herschel & Ray Guy, for sure, and then Champ as a distant third, and no one else.

Drew

August 8th, 2011
3:17 pm

Eastside Eagle

August 9th, 2011
6:38 am

Why is there no mention of Dale Carter and Jake Reed?! Jake was a part of that great trio that was in Minnesota, with Chris Carter and Randy Moss. Dale Carter was the highest paid cornerback in the NFL (and Deion Sanders was STILL in his prime), made 9 pro bowls, rookie of the yr. (defense), and as a matter of fact….. Didn’t he do in the 90’s what Eric Berry is doing now (All American at Tenn., 1st round draft pick to K.C “cornerback”)?

A Decatur Fan

August 9th, 2011
2:28 pm

Ronald Lee “Pete” Case (December 27, 1940 – December 18, 2008) was an American football offensive tackle in the National Football League who played for the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants. He played college football at the University of Georgia and was drafted in the second round of the 1962 NFL Draft. Case was also selected in the third round of the 1962 AFL Draft by the Houston Oilers.

Todd Holcomb

August 9th, 2011
7:07 pm

Good call on Dale Carter. He was a four-time Pro Bowl player. A fairly short career for a Hall candidate, tough. Only about 5-6 full-time seasons as a starter. Looks like some other seasons were shortened by injury. I don’t think he was a Hall of Famer, but was pretty strong in his day.

I saw Newton and Carter play Brookwood, which had Jason Elam at the time. Was Jake Reed on that team? Hard to remember this stuff 25 years later.

Eastside Eagle

August 9th, 2011
10:01 pm

Jake Reed was his brother and they BOTH played at Minnesota and New Orleans. He STILL has that same athleticism now, he runs a foundation for under priviledge kids (Dale Carter) called DCF. One of the first kids in his program is about to get a scholarship, he was the first kid to come up thru his organization…….

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