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CLASS OF 2004

 

JIMMY HARPER

Jimmy Harper grew up in Thomasville. After earning All-State honors in football for Thomasville High School in 1951, Harper was named to the All-SEC freshman team and earned academic All-American honors while at UGA. After several years of high school officiating, he became an SEC official in 1963. During his 33 years working on the field as an SEC official, Harper called 43 bowl games, including three national championship games. He served as Chairman of the Board National for the National Association of Sports Officials in 1993-1994. In 2002, he was honored with the Outstanding Football Official Award in 2002 from the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.

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CLAUDE HUMPHREY

Claude Humphrey grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and went on to play football at Tennessee State University in 1964. He was initially an Offensive Tackle, but was switched to Defensive End in his freshman year, where he became a three-time All-American. He was drafted in the first round of the 1968 NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons as the third overall selection. Humphrey made an immediate impact on Falcons’ defensive front, earning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 1968. He was a six-time Pro Bowl selection while in Atlanta and became one of the most popular players in franchise history. He is a member of the Falcons’ Ring of Honor. The final three years of his NFL career were spent with the Philadelphia Eagles where he was part of the 1980 NFC Championship team. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

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WADE MITCHELL

Wade Treutlen Mitchell grew up in Atlanta where he was four-sport standout at North Fulton High School. He went on the quarterback Bobby Dodd’s Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during one of the most successful periods in Tech football history (1953-1956). He led Tech to four consecutive bowl victories: Sugar 1953, Cotton 1954, Sugar 1955, Gator 1956. He was MVP of the 1956 Gator Bowl. Mitchell was an Academic All-American and Team Captain during his career at Tech. He is a member of the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame. He graduated from Tech, served in the Navy, attended Harvard Business School, and went on to a successful career as a businessman and community leader. 

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JOHN "BLUE MOON" ODOM

John “Blue Moon” Odom was a standout pitcher for the Ballard Hudson Tigers in Macon back in the early 1960’s. He received the catchy nickname “Blue Moon” by a classmate who thought Odom's round face resembled the moon. Odom led Ballard-Hudson High School  to two consecutive state championships while amassing a 42-2 record. He signed with the Kansas City Athletics upon graduation and moved with the team to Oakland to embark on a 12-year career primarily with the A’s. He was on three world Championship teams with Oakland. The two-time All-Star also played for the Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago White Sox compiling a career record of 84-85 with a 3.70 era. 

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PEPPER RODGERS

Franklin Cullen “Pepper” Rodgers was from Atlanta and was a three-sport star at Brown High School. Rodgers played quarterback and kicker at Georgia Tech for legendary coach Bobby Dodd. In 1952, Rodgers led Tech to an undefeated season and a national championship. Although drafted in the 12th round of the 1954 NFL draft, he chose to stay at Tech and finish his degree and work as a student assistant under Dodd. After graduation, he joined the Air Force and was a pilot and assistant coach at the Air Force Academy. He was an assistant coach at Florida and UCLA before landing his first head coaching job in 1967 at Kansas where he won the Big Eight Title in 1968. He went on to serve as the head coach at UCLA and Georgia Tech as well as The Memphis Showboats of the USFL and the Memphis Mad Dogs of the CFL. He served as Vice President of Football Operations for the Washington Redskins from 2001 until his retirement from football in 2004. 

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GEORGE ROGERS

George Washington Rogers Jr. grew up in Duluth and was a star running back at Duluth High School. Rogers played college football for the University of South Carolina, earned All-America honors, and won the 1980 Heisman Trophy. He was the first overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft and played professionally for the New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins of the NFL. As a professional, Rogers rushed for over 7,000 yards and 54 touchdowns. He had 4 seasons in the NFL where he rushed for more than 1000 yards. Rogers was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the year in 1987, a three time Pro-Bowler (1981, 1982, and 1986), and won a Super Bowl with the Redskins in 1987. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and his number 38 was retired by the University of South Carolina.

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TIM SIMPSON

Simpson was born and raised in Atlanta, where he became an avid golfer as a child.  He attended high school at Woodward Academy and was the Atlanta Junior Champion, Georgia Junior Champion and Westlake National Junior Champion. He attended the University of Georgia where he was All-SEC as a freshman. He left college early and turned professional at age 20. During his career, he had nine professional wins including four PGA Tour victories. His career year was 1989 when he captured the PGA Tour's Comeback Player of the Year award, and won two Tour events: the USF&G Classic and the Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic. Tim had 66 top-ten finishes in PGA tour events, but his career was brought to a sudden end due to his contracting Lyme disease on a hunting trip in 1991. He has been called one of the greatest ball strikers in golf history. He is a member of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.

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PAT SWILLING

Pat Swilling grew up in Toccoa and was a football standout at Stephens County High School. Swilling went on to be a dominating linebacker at Georgia Tech between 1982 and 1985. He set the NCAA record for sacks in a game, with seven against North Carolina State and the Georgia Tech mark for sacks in a season (15). Voted first-team All-America in 1985, Swilling left Georgia Tech as the all-time sack leader. He was drafted in the third round of the 1986 NFL Draft and had a long and successful career with New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, and Oakland Raiders. He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1991. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame.

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DOMINIQUE WILKINS

Dominique Wilkins was born in Paris while his father was stationed there as an airman in the U.S. Air Force. His family eventually settled in Washington, North Carolina where he attended Washington High School. He was the back-to-back MVP for the team's consecutive Class 3-A State Championships (1978–1979). To the surprise of many, he spurned the home state North Carolina Tar Heels and opted to play his college basketball at the University of Georgia. Dominique averaged 21.6 points over his career and he was SEC Player of the Year in 1981. He was drafted in the first round of the 1982 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz, but was acquired by the Atlanta Hawks in a trade with the Jazz that same year. Wilkins played 18 years as a professional, most notably for the Hawks from 1981 to 1994. He was a nine-time NBA All-Star and league scoring champion in 1986. He is the Hawks All-Time leading scorer, and his number 21 is retired. Known for his incredible athleticism and flashy style, Wilkins was a fan favorite and a two-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest Champion.

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