No. 1: Charley Trippi
As the story goes, Charley Trippi
was cut from the Pittston High School football team as a sophomore.The following year he came back out for the team and played center and linebacker to test his mettle.
gathered the ball and in a wild sprint returned it for a touchdown.
Thus, the legend of Charley Trippi
began.Born Dec. 14, 1922 in Pittston, Trippi was discovered by former University of Georgia player Harold "War Eagle" Ketron, who worked locally for Coca-Cola.
Ketron was a Georgia booster who followed local high school athletics with the intention of directing great ones to Georgia.A skinny 160-pounder, Trippi, the son of a coal minor, elected to enroll at a prep school, LaSalle Military Academy in New York.
After adding more weight and receiving extensive exposure, scholarship offers began to come in from schools such as Fordham
and Notre Dame
.But true to his
stuck with Georgia.
first season at Georgia, Trippi
played on the freshman team - at that time, freshmen were not allowed to play varsity.He
sophomore season in 1942 as a part-time player and midway through the year he
became the starting halfback and gained 1,239 yards in total offense with 672 rushing and 567 yards passing.
The 1942 Georgia squad won the SEC championship, finishing 11-1 and earning bid to the Rose Bowl
, where Trippi
gained 130 yards and was named the game's Outstanding Player. Trippi served in the Air Force from 1943-45, where he was a staff sergeant.
returned to Georgia for the final six games of the season.
returned in 1945, the offense had changed and Georgia was now running the T-formation.
After taking a while to get acclimated to the switch, Trippi
flourished throwing the ball, setting an SEC record for passing yards at the time against Georgia Tech
with 323 and also gained 61 on the ground for a total of 384, which was another SEC record at the time.He
capped the shortened season by leading the Bulldogs to a victory over Tulsa in the Oil Bowl.Largely considered one of the greatest to ever wear a Georgia uniform, Trippi was a two-time All-America with the Bulldogs and finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1946 to Army's Glenn Davis.
...Despite not winning the Heisman Trophy, Trippi did receive several accolades, including the Maxwell Award and was honored by the Washington, D.C. Touchdown Club and the Atlanta Touchdown Club, signifying him as the outstanding college football player in 1946.
career at Georgia, Trippi
immediately became a key figure in the on-going battle between the All-America Football Conference and the National Football League
.The AAFC's New York Yankees thought they had Trippi
signed to a contract and even called a press conference to announce the deal.However, Charles W. Bidwell Sr. of the NFL's Chicago Cardinals had made an announcement that the club had signed Trippi to a then unheard of four-year deal worth $100,000.
...Once signed, Trippi became a member of the famed "Dream Backfield," which included Trippi, Paul Christman, Pat Harder and Marshall Goldberg.
In the 1947 NFL Championship game, wearing basketball shoes on an icy field in Chicago to get better footing, Trippi
accumulated 206 yards, 102 coming on a pair of punt returns in the Cardinals 28-21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.Trippi
scored on a 44-yard run and a 75-yard punt return.In 1948 he
was an All-NFL selection.
Trippi's greatest asset was his
versatility.While playing for the Cardinals, he was a left halfback for four seasons; a quarterback for two years and was then switched back to halfback.
In 1954 and 1955 he
was on the defensive side of the ball and also punted and returned punts and kicks.Not only did Trippi excel on the football field; he was also an All-American baseball player, hitting .473 during his senior year at Georgia.He played for the AA Atlanta Crackers in 1947, batting .331 but decided to give up baseball to spend more time with his family and concentrate on his football career.
In nine years with the Cardinals
rushed for 3,506 yards, caught 130 passes for 1,321 yards and scored 11 touchdowns in 99 games.Trippi
also threw for 2,547 yards and 16 scores.He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968 and is also a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.
DID YOU KNOW?Trippi
is one of four members in Georgia football history to have his
While at Georgia, Trippi
was referred to first as the Pittston Flash and later as the Golden Boy from Georgia.
Because of relaxed rules and regulations during the War, Trippi
played in five College All-Star classics, two while at Georgia, two in the service and a fifth as a member of the Cardinals