The Florida-Georgia game on Saturday contains some Georgia high school football trivia. Will Muschamp, a former player at Darlington in Rome, is Florida’s head coach and the brother of Lovett head coach Mike Muschamp.
Will was injured in his senior season at Darlington in 1989 and not recruited heavily but walked on at Georgia and became a starter at safety. He became a graduate assistant at Auburn in 1995 and worked his way up from there.
Former Georgia high school players who have risen to prominence in college football or the NFL are not that common, but there are a few. In fact, three have coached Super Bowl teams.
Besides Muschamp, here are 10 Georgia natives you’ve probably heard about on the sidelines:
*Frank Broyles, Decatur: Broyles, a star halfback at Decatur High (1939-41), is the most successful Georgia coach at the college level, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. He was the offensive coordinator for his alma mater, Georgia Tech, on the 1952 national championship team. From 1958 to 1976, he led Arkansas to seven Southwest Conference titles and an FWAA national title in 1964.
*Bill Curry, College Park: Curry, the head coach at Georgia State, was Georgia’s Class C lineman of the year in 1959. He was better known as head coach at Georgia Tech (1980-86), Alabama (1987-89) and Kentucky (1990-96).
*Derek Dooley, Clarke Central: Dooley, the head coach at Tennessee, was a receiver on Clarke’s 1985 state championship team, then played at Virginia. Before taking the Tennessee job in 2010, Dooley was head coach at Louisiana Tech (2007-09).
*Pat Dye, Richmond Academy: Dye, who led Auburn to four SEC titles in the 1980s, was Georgia’s Class AAA lineman of the year in 1956, when Richmond Academy won its last state title. Dye was an All-America defensive lineman at Georgia and head coach at East Carolina (1974-79), Wyoming (1980) and Auburn (1981-92).
*Chan Gailey, Americus: Gailey, the head coach of the Buffalo Bills, was an all-state quarterback in 1969 and led Americus to an 8-1 finish. Gailey is best known locally for his tenure at Georgia Tech (2002-07). Gailey also has been head coach at Troy State (1985-86) and Samford (1994-95) and with the Dallas Cowboys (1998-99).
*Ray Goff, Moultrie: Goff was a star quarterback at Moultrie (1970-72) and Georgia (SEC player of the year in 1976). After eight years as an assistant at his alma mater, Goff was Georgia’s head coach from 1989 to 1995.
*Dan Reeves, Americus: Reeves was head coach in four Super Bowl games, all losses, with the Denver Broncos (1986, 1987, 1989) and Atlanta Falcons (1998). A running back in the NFL, Reeves made all-state in high school, but in basketball, not football, in 1962.
*Pepper Rodgers, Brown: Rodgers led Brown High of Atlanta to a state title in 1949 as a quarterback and played on Georgia Tech’s 1952 national championship team. Rodgers was head coach most prominently at Georgia Tech (1974-79) but also at Kansas (1967-70) and UCLA (1971-73). He also coached the Memphis Showboats (1984-85) of the USFL.
*Ken Whisenhunt, Richmond Academy: Whisenhunt, the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, was injured as a senior at Richmond Academy in 1979 and was not recruited but walked on at Georgia Tech in the Bill Curry era. He wound up playing nine seasons in the NFL as a tight end. Whisenhunt became the Cardinals’ head coach in 2007 and led the team to a Super Bowl in 2008.
*Sam Wyche, North Fulton: Wyche, head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals’ Super Bowl team of 1988, was not a standout in high school but played quarterback at Furman (1963-65), then seven seasons in the NFL. He was head coach at Indiana (1983) before going to the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals (1984-91) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1992-95). He even coached in high school at Pickens High in South Carolina (2002-03, 2006-08). Wyche is credited with the popular use of the no-huddle offense.
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