SEC Legends in the Sugar Bowl
NEW ORLEANS (October 4, 2019) – The Southeastern Conference announced its 2019 AT&T 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. Four of the legends are alums of the Sugar Bowl.
The class will be honored at the 2019 SEC Football “Weekend of Champions” December 6-7 in Atlanta, Ga, highlighted by the annual SEC Legends Dinner on Friday, December 6 at the Hyatt Regency 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 7.
The 2019 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 and Academic All-Americans as well as successful head coaches. The group represents teams that won National and SEC Championships, participated in Super Bowl titles and are represented in state, school and college football halls of fame.
SEC Legends in the Sugar Bowl:
ALABAMA – Ray Perkins, Wide Receiver, 1964-66/Head Coach, 1983-86
Ray Perkins lettered from 1964-66 as a wide receiver on three Southeastern Conference championship teams and two national championship teams at Alabama. As a senior he caught 33 passes for 490 yards and seven touchdowns, earning All-America honors as he capped his senior year with 178 yards receiving in the Crimson Tide’s 34-7 Sugar Bowl win over Nebraska. Perkins was drafted by the Baltimore Colts and played in the NFL for five years, including appearances in Super Bowls III and V. After his playing career, Perkins established himself as a head coach, beginning with the New York Giants from 1979-82. Perkins succeeded Paul “Bear” Bryant as Alabama’s head coach, compiling a 32-15-1 record and three bowl victories from 1983-86. He followed that with a stint as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1987-90 and as head coach at Arkansas State in 1992. He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.
FLORIDA – Jevon Kearse, Outside Linebacker, 1996-98
Jevon Kearse, also known as “The Freak,” came to Florida as a free safety, but became a legend as an outside linebacker. Kearse was a first-team All-SEC selection as a sophomore in 1997, when he capped the year with a Sugar Bowl appearance, though his 1998 season was one of the most dominant in school history. Kearse racked up 54 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 13.5 tackles for loss in just 11 games. Those numbers made him a first-team All-American, a Chuck Bednarik Award finalist and the Associated Press SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Kearse declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season and was chosen in the first round by the Tennessee Titans. Kearse was the 1999 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and a first-team All-Pro selection. Kearse made three Pro Bowl appearances in his 11-year career with the Titans and Philadelphia Eagles.
GEORGIA – Vince Dooley, Head Coach, 1964-88
In Vince Dooley’s 25 years as head football coach (1964-88), he guided the Bulldogs to a career record of 201-77-10 becoming only the ninth coach in NCAA Division I history to win over 200 games. The Bulldogs won six SEC titles and one national championship (1980, an undefeated season capped with a victory over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl) under his direction. He took his teams to 20 Bowl games (five Sugar Bowls) and coached a Heisman Trophy winner (Herschel Walker, 1982), a Maxwell Award Winner (Walker, 1982), an Outland Award Winner (Bill Stanfill, 1968), 40 First Team All-Americans and 10 Academic All-Americans. He was named NCAA National Coach of the Year in 1980 and SEC Coach of the Year seven times. Under his watch as athletic director (1979-2004), Georgia teams won 23 national championships, 78 SEC team championships and numerous individual national titles in both men’s and women’s sports. In recognition of his achievements, the field at Sanford Stadium was named in his honor on September 7, 2019. He was inducted into the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame in 2018.
LSU – Johnny Robinson, Halfback, 1957-59
Starring on both sides of the ball for LSU in the late 1950s, Johnny Robinson earned first-team All-SEC in 1958. He was a member of LSU’s 1958 national title team playing alongside Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon for three years. He was a member of back-to-back Sugar Bowl teams (1959 and 1960) for the Tigers. Robinson finished his LSU career with 893 rushing yards, 453 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns and was then selected No. 3 overall by the Detroit Lions in the 1960 NFL Draft and as the first-round draft pick by the Dallas Texans in the 1960 AFL Draft. He played 12 seasons in AFL/NFL, winning Super Bowl IV with the Kansas City Chiefs. Earlier this year, he was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, recognized for his lead in AFL interceptions in 1966 and NFL interceptions in 1970. Robinson is also a member of LSU Athletic Hall of Fame, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, and Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame. In 2019 he was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.