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franklin county times

Some kids live their sports dreams

By By Stan Torgerson
April 18, 2002
Every kid playing high school football dreams of getting a college scholarship, playing four years in front of large and adoring crowds, making All-America and eventually going on to a productive professional career with its accompanying big money.
Some of them will make it. Most won't. But enough will to keep the dream alive. There are always youngsters who will never stop trying until they realize that dream or else realize for them, it's just not going to happen.
The NCAA recently published a booklet for the media that lists 2,868 players from 156 colleges over the 112 years college football has been played who made at least one first team on the selections used by the organization to compile its annual consensus All-America team for major college or Division I-A players.
There were 1,535 consensus All-America players during that time, players who were selected on most teams following a particular season, and 364 of those were unanimous selections in at least one year of their playing career. These choices seem to have begun in the early 1920s. Apparently that was the time period when it first became popular to recognize the country's best football players, even as we do it today.
Included in the book is a list of coaches with .700 or better winning percentages or at least 200 wins who were head coaches for at least 10 seasons at major or Division I-A colleges. John Vaught, Ole Miss; Bear Bryant, Alabama; Frank Broyles, Arkansas; Vince Dooley, Georgia; Pat Dye, Auburn; John Heisman, Auburn; Lou Holtz, South Carolina; John McEwan, Vanderbilt; Dan McGugin, Vanderbilt; Robert Neyland, Tennessee; Darrell Royal, Mississippi State; Red Sanders, Vanderbilt; Steve Spurrier, Florida; Frank Thomas, Alabama; and Wallace Wade, Alabama are among those listed. Each spent all, or a substantial portion, of his coaching career at a school represented in the Southeastern Conference, although some coached before there really was an SEC.
It's fascinating stuff.
There are 24 Ole Miss players on the list, 11 from Mississippi State, and two from Southern Mississippi. There's also one from Mississippi Valley. Despite their long list of successful pro players, Jackson State didn't have any. However there is another section of the book listing the greatest players in history and that's where you find a guy named Walter Payton. When Payton played (1971-1974), Jackson State was a Division II school.
It's your privilege to differ with this list if you so choose but remember these are the All-America players from Mississippi schools as listed by the NCAA.
OLE MISS Frank Kinard, Parker Hall, Charley Connerly, Barney Poole, Kline Gilbert, Crawford Mims, Rex Boggan, Jack Simpson, Charlie Flowers, Marvin Terrell, Jake Gibbs, Billy Ray Adams, Jim Dunaway, Glynn Griffing, Kenny Dill, Allen Brown, Glenn Cannon, Harry Harrison, Jim Miller, Fred Nunn, Bill Smith, Wesley Walls, Everett Lindsay and Rufus French.
Those making the consensus All-America, that is virtually every team of importance, were Conerly, Mims, Flowers, Gibbs, Dunaway, Miller, Lindsay and French.
You may question why Archie Manning is not included. Archie made only the Football News All-America in 1969. It apparently was not one of the teams given consideration by the NCAA in its rankings. Then in 1970, his senior year, Archie Broke his arm and missed a large portion of the season. He made the Football News team again but it was not used by the NCAA for that season either. Archie is, however, listed in the portion of the book devoted to the greatest football players of all time, as is, incidentally, his son Peyton who played at Tennessee.
MISSISSIPPI STATE Buddy Elrod, Jackie Parker, Hal Easterwood, Scott Suber, Art Davis, D.D. Lewis, Jimmy Webb, Glen Collins, Johnnie Cooks, Barrin Simpson and Fred Smoot.
The consensus All-America members were Webb and Smoot.
SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI Ray Guy and Adalius Thomas.
Neither was a consensus pick.
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY Jerry Rice.
Also not a consensus pick.
The number of All-Americas listed for other Southeastern Conference schools looks like this. Alabama 61; Arkansas 35 (Most of them from the Razorback's years in the Southwest Conference, only one since then); Auburn 37; Florida 39; Georgia 38; Kentucky 14; LSU 31; South Carolina 10 (Nine were before the Gamecocks joined the SEC); Tennessee 54; Vanderbilt 15.
This book, all 211 pages of it, is the stuff of which dreams are made If these men could make it, why not someday a kid from Meridian or Laurel or any other town or city in our football-loving state?
Why not indeed?

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