Alshon Jeffery to Represent South Carolina in SEC’s 2022 Football Legends Class
The Southeastern Conference on Thursday announced its 2022 SEC Football Legends class, an assemblage of former football standouts who will be honored at events surrounding the SEC Football Championship Game in Atlanta in December. South Carolina will be represented by All-American wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
The class will be honored at the 2022 SEC Football “Weekend of Champions” December 2-3 in Atlanta, Ga, highlighted by the annual SEC Legends Celebration on Friday, December 2 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The group will also be recognized prior to the SEC Football Championship Game, which will be held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, December 3.
The 2022 Football Legends Class includes 14 former stars who excelled on the gridiron and helped write the rich history of the sport at their respective institutions. This year’s class includes All-Americans, All-SEC selections, Academic All-Americans, a Heisman Trophy winner and a Hall of Fame head coach. The group represents teams that won SEC Championships, won Super Bowl titles and are represented in state, school and college football halls of fame.
Below is a listing and biographies of the 2022 SEC Football Legends:
ALABAMA – Ozzie Newsome, Split End, 1974-77
Ozzie Newsome earned first-team All-America honors in 1977 and was a two-time All-SEC honoree while recording 102 receptions for 2,070 yards and 16 touchdowns during his Alabama playing career. Named the Alabama Player of the Decade for the 1970s, he led the Tide to a 42-6 record and three SEC titles during a stellar career. A first-round NFL draft pick, Newsome went on to a 13-year career for the Cleveland Browns and is considered one of the greatest NFL tight ends of all time. He earned Pro Bowl honors three times and also won the Byron “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year Award for community service. He is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After his playing career, Newsome moved into the Browns – and then Baltimore Ravens – front office. He was the Ravens general manager from 2002-18 after serving as Baltimore’s executive vice president/player personnel.
ARKANSAS – Steve Korte, Offensive Guard, 1981-82
Steve Korte lettered for Arkansas in 1981 and 1982, earning Consensus All-America honors at offensive guard as a senior while helping Arkansas rush for more than 2,300 yards and 22 touchdowns. In 1982, he helped lead the Razorbacks to a 9-2-1 record, a Bluebonnet Bowl victory and a final No. 8 national ranking. He was a consensus All-SWC selection in both 1981 and 1982, helping the Razorbacks to a 17-6-1 record in those two seasons. Known for his exceptional strength, he bench-pressed 585 pounds during his time in Fayetteville. A Senior Bowl selection, Korte was chosen as the No. 38 overall pick in the second round of the 1983 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He played eight seasons as a center and offensive guard with the Saints from 1983-90. Korte was a member of the UA All-Century Team and the UA All-Decade Team for the 1980’s and was inducted into the UA Sports Hall of Honor in 2015.
AUBURN – Ben Tamburello, Guard/Center, 1983-86
Ben Tamburello was a four-year starter under Auburn coach Pat Dye from 1983-86. A two-time All-America selection, he was a finalist for both the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award his senior season of 1986 as he anchored an offensive line that led the Southeastern Conference in rushing with 312.5 yards per game. A two-time All-SEC and Academic All-SEC selection, Tamburello blocked for Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson and All-America tailback Brent Fullwood during his Auburn career. A team captain, he was one of just four offensive linemen in Auburn history, and the only center, to earn All-America honors in multiple seasons. Tamburello was named SEC Lineman of the Year in 1986 by the Atlanta Touchdown Club and Birmingham’s Monday Morning Quarterback Club. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the third round of the 1987 NFL Draft, playing in 50 games for the Eagles for five seasons from 1987-91. He currently works in real estate and resides in Birmingham.
FLORIDA – Alex Brown, Defensive End, 1998-2001
Alex Brown, a three-time All-American and three-time All-SEC selection, was the 2001 SEC Defensive Player of the year and a finalist for the Nagurski and Lombardi awards his senior season. He emerged as a sophomore, setting a school record with 13 quarterback sacks in 1999 and became only the third sophomore in UF history to garner first-team All-America honors. In his UF career he registered 160 tackles and 120 “big plays,” including 33 quarterback sacks while helping lead Florida to four bowl appearances. Brown was a workhorse for the Gators, playing in 46 games for nearly 2,500 total career snaps in his career. A fourth-round pick of the Chicago Bears in 2002, he started 123 games for the Bears from 2002-09 before playing his final NFL season with the New Orleans Saints in 2010. His 43.5 career quarterback sacks ranks fourth in Chicago Bear history in that category. Brown was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.
GEORGIA – Thomas Davis, Linebacker, 2002-04
Thomas Davis started with Georgia as a redshirt freshman in 2002 and quickly made his presence known on the Dog defense. Davis helped the Dogs to three consecutive seasons of 10 wins or more and three bowl victories. He finished his career as a first-team All-SEC selection, first team All-American and was a semi-finalist for the Bednarik Award given annually to the nation’s top defensive player. Davis was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft. He survived three ACL surgeries and completed 14 seasons with the Panthers including a Super Bowl and Pro Bowl appearance. He completed his NFL career with the LA Chargers and Washington Football Team, finishing with 199 NFL games and 1,212 total tackles. He was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2014, an award recognizing a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence. Davis returned to Georgia in 2011 to complete requirements for his degree.
KENTUCKY – Joe Federspiel, Linebacker, 1969-71
One of the top linebackers in Kentucky history, Joe Federspiel lettered from 1969-71 and was named to the Kentucky All-Time Team by the Lexington Herald-Leader and Louisville Courier-Journal. He was named second-team All-America and first-team All-SEC as a senior and second-team All-SEC as a sophomore. Federspiel was chosen UK’s Most Valuable Senior and twice received the team’s “Unsung Hero Award.” He would be later named to the SEC All-Decade Team for the 1970s by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A fourth-round NFL draft selection, he went on to a 10-year career in the NFL, including nine years with the New Orleans Saints and one season with the Baltimore Colts, plus one year in the USFL. He was named to the Saints’ All-50th team in 2016. He is a member of the Saints Hall of Fame, the UK Athletics Hall of Fame and the (state of) Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame. After retiring as a player, Federspiel served several years as an SEC game official as an umpire.
LSU – Todd McClure, Center, 1995-98
A four-year starter at center for the Tigers from 1995-98, Todd McClure earned All-America honors as a senior in 1998 and first team All-SEC honors his junior and senior campaigns. He took over as LSU’s starting center midway through his true freshman season in 1995, helping LSU to its first winning record and bowl appearance in seven years. LSU’s team captain as a senior, McClure played his entire college career blocking for College Football Hall of Famer Kevin Faulk, who holds the school record for career rushing yards with 4,557. With McClure at center, LSU led the SEC in rushing yards in both 1996 and 1997. He was selected in the seventh round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons and played 14 seasons in the NFL, all with the Falcons. He appeared in 198 games, starting 195 times for the Falcons at center. It was announced in July of 2022 that he would be inducted into the Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor.
OLE MISS – Eli Manning, Quarterback, 1999-2003
Eli Manning set or tied 45 single-game, season or career records during his historic career at Ole Miss where he amassed more than 10,000 passing yards and threw for 81 touchdowns. A first-team All-American his senior season and second-team selection as a junior, he was recipient of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award which goes to the nation’s best quarterback and the Maxwell Award as the nation’s best all-around player. He was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year in 2003, a two-time bowl MVP and a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete. Selected as the No. 1 pick in the 2004 draft, he played for the New York Giants from 2004-2019. He led the Giants to two Super Bowl titles and was named Super Bowl MVP in both games. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, he was the 2016 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and winner of the 2020 Bart Starr Award. His No. 10 has been retired by both Ole Miss and the New York Giants.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – K.J. Wright, Linebacker, 2007-10
K.J. Wright lettered four years at linebacker for Mississippi State and was MSU’s second-leading tackler for three seasons from 2008-10 while starting 35 of 47 games in his career. He was named to the 2008 SEC Academic Honor Roll and later earned his degree from MSU in criminology in 2011. A 2011 Senior Bowl participant, Seattle selected Wright in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft and he went on to play 11 seasons in the NFL, including 10 for the Seahawks. He helped Seattle win Super Bowl XLVIII and earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2016. Wright was a 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award nominee after traveling to Kenya and then raising money to build fresh-water wells. He has also been active in the Seattle community, lending support to numerous causes throughout his career. In 2020 he won the Seahawks’ prestigious Steve Largent Award for best exemplifying the spirit, dedication and integrity of the former Seattle wide receiver.
MISSOURI – Gary Pinkel, Head Coach, 2001-15
Gary Pinkel is the winningest head coach in Missouri football history, winning 118 games from 2001-15 while earning two Conference Coach of the Year honors and a National Coach of the Year award in 2007. Pinkel is also the winningest coach in Toledo football history, making him one of only three coaches in college football history to hold that distinction at two Division I programs, joining Bear Bryant and Steve Spurrier. Pinkel led Missouri to five conference division titles, three in the Big 12 and two in the SEC, and led 10 teams to bowl games. He coached 10 first-team All-Americans, three Academic All-Americans, three National Scholar-Athletes and 79 first-team all-conference players. A member of multiple halls of fame, in December Pinkel will be inducted into the 2022 Class of the prestigious College Football Hall of Fame. Active in the community, he created the GP Made Foundation to help youth facing difficult challenges and he has raised more than $10 million for charitable causes.
SOUTH CAROLINA – Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver, 2009-11
Alshon Jeffery was an All-American receiver for South Carolina and a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award in his breakout sophomore year, helping lead the Gamecocks to their first SEC Championship Game appearance in school history in 2010. For his three-year career, Jeffery caught 183 passes for 3,042 yards and 23 touchdowns while playing in 40 games. He led the Gamecocks in receptions all three seasons and he currently ranks first in school history in 100-yard receiving games, tied for first in receiving touchdowns, second in receiving yards and third in receptions. Selected in the second round of the NFL draft by the Chicago Bears in 2012, he played five seasons for the Bears, making the Pro Bowl in his second year. In 2019 the Bears listed Jeffrey as one of the Top 100 players in franchise history. Following his stint with the Bears he played four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, winning a Super Bowl title following the 2017 season.
TENNESSEE – Peyton Manning, Quarterback, 1994-97
Peyton Manning finished his illustrious career holding 42 NCAA, SEC and Tennessee records. In 1997, Manning captured the Maxwell, Davey O’Brien and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm awards plus All-America honors and won the Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete. Manning became the fourth player in NCAA history to pass for 11,000 yards as he threw for more than 300 yards in 18 games, leading the Vols to the 1997 SEC Championship. The Indianapolis Colts made him the No. 1 pick in the 1998 NFL Draft and he won two Super Bowls during an 18-year, Hall of Fame career with the Colts and Denver Broncos. The MVP of Super Bowl XLI, Manning holds NFL records for MVP Awards, first-team All-Pro selections, 4,000-yard passing seasons, and most passing yards and touchdowns in a season. He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2017 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021. His jersey number was retired by both Tennessee and the Indianapolis Colts.
TEXAS A&M – Johnny Manziel, Quarterback, 2012-13
The 2012 Heisman Memorial Trophy recipient, Johnny Manziel was also the College Player of the Year by the AP and The Sporting News and won the Davey O’Brien Award and Manning Award. The SEC Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in 2012, he led the SEC in total offense in 2012 and 2013 and is the only player in NCAA FBS history to gain 5,000 total yards in a season while rushing for 1,000 yards. In 2013, Manziel became the first sophomore in FBS history to pass for 7,000 yards and rush for 2,000 career yards. Also in 2012, Manziel was the first player in NCAA history to have three games with 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards. In his two seasons at Texas A&M, Manziel set at least 35 school, SEC and NCAA records. He was a first-round NFL Draft selection by the Cleveland Browns. Manziel was inducted to Texas A&M Athletics Hall of Fame in 2022.
VANDERBILT – Allama Matthews, Tight End, 1979-82
Allama Matthews was a first-team All-America selection by Football News at tight end his senior season of 1982, but early in his career Vanderbilt coaches tried his skills at safety and wide receiver. Once all parties settled on tight end, Matthews put together one of the finest receiving campaigns ever, helping spark the team’s run to the Hall of Fame Bowl. His senior year he made 61 catches for 797 yards and 14 touchdowns, most ever by a Commodore. Later that season, Matthews was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Year by the Atlanta Touchdown Club. He also earned All-SEC first team honors by the Associated Press and United Press International in 1982. A four-year letterman from 1979-82, he concluded his Commodore career with 114 catches and 18 touchdowns. Matthews was selected in the 12th round of the NFL draft by Atlanta and he played two seasons as a running back and one season as a tight with the Falcons from 1983-85.