The Numbers Game II: The Single Digits

jheeter@macon.comAugust 24, 2013 

No. 0 James Florence, Mercer, 2006-10

Bio: Florence finished his career as the all-time leading scorer in Mercer history with 2,287 points – a total that ranked second in A-Sun history. He became the first A-Sun player to score 500 or more points in each of his first four seasons. Florence was Mercer male athlete of the year as a senior and made his fourth straight All-A-Sun team. He was one of three freshmen in Division I to lead their team in scoring when he averaged 19.3 points in 2006-07 and was named A-Sun freshman of the Year.

Why we picked him: Not many players can be the dominant scorer on their college team for four seasons, but Florence accomplished the feat. He was one of the best players in the A-Sun from the second he stepped on campus.

Others we considered:

Lewis Clinch, Georgia Tech, 2005-09

The Cordele native averaged a career-best 15.5 points as a senior and scored 1,048 points in his career.

Jeff Teague, Hawks, 2009-current

Teague has blossomed over the past two seasons after starting his career on the bench. He averaged a career-high 14.6 points and 7.2 assists in 2012-13.

No. 1 Ken Swilling, Georgia Tech, 1988-91

Bio: Swilling had 267 career tackles and 13 interceptions. He was the only consensus All-American from the 1990 team and one of two unanimous All-Americans in program history alongside Calvin Johnson. He was a two-time All-ACC pick and one of three Tech representatives on the ACC 50th Anniversary team. He finished sixth and third in the voting for the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back.

Why we picked him: Swilling was the best defensive player on Georgia Tech’s national championship team, which is quite the feat considering Marco Coleman and Coleman Rudolph were on the team.

Others we considered:

Reggie Ball, Georgia Tech, 2003-06

Ball is one of those guys who lives forever in infamy in this state. Georgia fans credit Ball for two Tech losses to the Bulldogs. But as a four-year starter, Ball remains near the top of many of Tech’s passing records. He ranks third in career passing yards with 8,128 and second in career touchdowns with 57. He also ranks in the top 25 in program history in rushing with 1,451 yards and 11 touchdowns.

B.J. Elder, Georgia Tech, 2001-05

The two-time All-ACC selection helped lead the Yellow Jackets to the national championship game in 2004, averaging 14.9 points during that season. He finished 13th in program history in points, averaging 13.2 points in his career.

Rafael Furcal, Braves, 2000-05

Furcal won the Rookie of the Year after hitting .295 with 40 steals in 2000. He made one All-Star game (2004) and stole 20 or more bases all six years in Atlanta. He hit .284 as a Braves’ shortstop.

Andre Hastings, Georgia, 1990-92

Hastings finished with 1,876 yards and 13 touchdowns in his three seasons at Georgia. He led the Bulldogs in receiving twice, finishing the 1992 season with 860 yards. Bowl stats didn’t count in 1992, but if you factor in his 113 yards from the 1993 Citrus Bowl, Hastings would have the second best single season receiving mark in UGA history.

Eddie McAshan, Georgia Tech, 1970-72

The first black quarterback at a major college in state history, McAshan passed for 4,080 yards (seventh in program history) and 32 touchdowns (fifth).

Otis Nixon, Braves, 1991-93

Nixon was one of the more reliable Braves’ leadoff hitters over the past 25 years, hitting .297 and .294 during the Braves’ first two World Series runs. He also stole 72 bases in 1991 and finished with more than 40 steals in his other two years in Atlanta.

Jay Payton, Georgia Tech, 1992-94

Despite playing on a team with Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek, Payton had the best offensive season of any Tech player during the College World Series run in 1994. He led the Yellow Jackets in all three Triple Crown categories, breaking the program record with a .434 average and knocking in a record 102 runs. He was a consensus All-American in 1994 and was inducted into the Georgia Tech Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.

No. 2 Matt Ryan, Falcons, 2008-current

Bio: The Falcons had never experienced consecutive winning seasons before Ryan arrived in 2008, and they’ve now put together five straight winning seasons. He made two Pro Bowls and led the Falcons to the NFC Championship game in 2012, passing for a team-record 4,719 yards and 32 touchdowns. He has passed for more than 3,700 yards and 25 touchdowns in the past three seasons. As a starter, Ryan is 56-22.

Why we picked him: Ryan is just in the beginning stages of his Falcons career after signing a five-year extension in July, but he is already the most productive quarterback in franchise history. He has the opportunity to become one of the greats in Georgia sports history, provided he maintains his production throughout the life of his contract.

Others we considered:

Stacey Augmon, Hawks, 1991-96

Augmon was a reliable scorer for the Hawks, averaging between 12.7 and 14.8 points in each of his five seasons with the Hawks.

Rafael Belliard, Braves, 1991-98

Belliard’s lack of power, reliable glove and long association with the Braves keep him on the mind of Atlanta sports fans. He hit .223 with one home run in 1,250 at bats.

Joe Johnson, Hawks, 2005-12

Johnson was a consistent scorer during his tenure with the Hawks, starting all 508 games he appeared in. He averaged at least 18 points every season in Atlanta and 20.9 points over his entire tenure. He made six consecutive All-Star teams and led the Hawks to the playoffs five straight seasons beginning in 2007-08.

Mike Kelley, Georgia Tech, 1978-81

Kelley ranks fifth in program history with 5,249 passing yards, and he’s seventh with 23 touchdown passes.

Moses Malone, Hawks, 1988-91

Malone had two seasons with the Hawks as a full-time starter. He averaged 20.2 points and 11.8 rebounds in 1988-89 – he made his 13th and final All-Star team that season – and 18.9 points and 10 rebounds in 1989-90.

Is’mail Muhammad, Georgia Tech, 2001-05

Known for his highlight-reel dunks and outstanding defense, Muhammad helped lead the Yellow Jackets to the national title game in 2004.

Shannon Sharpe, Savannah State, 1986-89

Sharpe is the most famous athlete in school history. He was a Division II All-American in 1989, playing football and basketball in college. He finished the 1989 season with 1,312 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns. He became one of the best tight ends in NFL history. He’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Division II Hall of Fame and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

No. 3 Dale Murphy, Braves, 1976-90

Bio: One of the greatest players in Braves history, Murphy made seven All-Star teams and won five Gold Gloves in Atlanta. He won back-to-back MVP awards in 1982 and 1983 – he hit 36 home runs both seasons and went 30-30 with 121 RBI in 1983. Murphy hit 20 or more home runs 11 times. Murphy hit 371 home runs as an Atlanta Braves player, second only to Chipper Jones. Albert Pujols, Barry Bonds and Frank Thomas are the only other guys to win consecutive MVP awards since 1982. He’s a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and his jersey number is retired by the Braves.

Why we picked him: The face of the Braves for a decade, Murphy was the bridge from the Hank Aaron-era to the division-champion era of the Braves beginning in 1991. He still may be the most popular Atlanta Braves player ever.

Others we considered:

Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Hawks, 2001-04

Abdur-Rahim was a quiet, but steady star for the Hawks for three years. He started every game he appeared in while with the Hawks, averaged 20 points in all three seasons. He made the All-Star team in 2002.

Tony Akins, Georgia Tech, 1998-2002

Akins was a reliable scorer and the backbone of Paul Hewitt’s first teams at Georgia Tech. He was a second-team All-ACC pick as a senior while averaging 17.0 points. He finished his career with 1,658 points. He averaged 14.5 points to lead the Yellow Jackets to the NCAA tournament in 2000-01.

Travis Best, Georgia Tech, 1991-95

Best took over as the starting point guard when Kenny Anderson left for the NBA. He averaged 12 or more points in each of his four seasons at Tech. He was a three-time All-ACC selection and earned second-team All-America honors in 1995 after averaging 20.2 points. He is one of six guys in Tech history with more than 2,000 career points.

Andrea Congreaves, Mercer, 1989-93

Congreaves was a three-time TAAC Player of the Year and a Kodak All-American in 1993. She led the nation in scoring twice. She holds the program record for career scoring, field-goal percentage and field goals made.

Bobby Hebert, Falcons, 1993-96

Hebert had two solid statistical seasons with the Falcons, but he went just 7-18 in those starts. He passed for 2,978 yards and 24 touchdowns to make the Pro Bowl in 1993 and then passed for 3,152 yards and 22 touchdowns in 1996.

Jarrett Jack, Georgia Tech, 2002-05

Jack may not have led the Yellow Jackets in scoring in 2004, but he was the team’s leader during the run to the national championship game. He averaged 12.5 that season and followed with 15.5 points as a junior to earn All-ACC honors. Jack declared for the NBA draft after his junior season and has enjoyed an eight-year NBA career.

John Kasay, Georgia, 1987-90

Kasay led the Bulldogs in scoring twice before heading off to a productive pro career.

Stephon Marbury, Georgia Tech, 1995-96

The electric Marbury stayed just one year at Tech, averaging 18.9 points and earning ACC Rookie of the Year and All-ACC first-team honors. He was a third-team AP All-American and a Basketball Weekly freshman All-American.

Adrian Peterson, Georgia Southern, 1998-2001

Peterson rushed for 1,000 yards in all four seasons at Georgia Southern, finishing with a program-record 6,559 yards and 84 touchdowns. He rushed for 100 yards in a jaw-dropping 48 straight games and led the Eagles to consecutive national titles.

No. 4 Champ Bailey, Georgia, 1996-98

Bio: Bailey had eight interceptions and 27 pass breakups in his three seasons with the Bulldogs. The versatile Bailey rarely left the feel when he added wide receiver to his repertoire in 1997 and went on to catch 47 passes for 744 yards and five touchdowns in 1998. He finished seventh in Heisman voting in 1998, but he did earn consensus All-America honors and won the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation’s best defensive player.

Why we picked him: If you just look at jersey numbers – that’s what the Numbers Game is about – then no player had more time on the field to showcase their number than Bailey. He played more than 1,000 plays during the 1998 season and played more than 1000 plays in seven different games. Bailey has done nothing but add to his legacy as a pro, making 12 Pro Bowls and almost certainly ensuring a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he retires.

Others we considered:

Jeff Blauser, Braves, 1987-97

Blauser was a fixture in the lineup for a decade at shortstop, spending most of the time as a league-average hitter for the position. But he had two huge seasons, hitting .305 with 15 home runs while making the All-Star game in 1993. He made his second All-Star team in 1997, hitting .308 with 17 home runs.

Chris Bosh, Georgia Tech, 2002-03

Bosh averaged 15.6 points in his one season at Tech, winning the ACC Rookie of the Year honors and landing on the USBWA Freshman All-America team. Bosh was the fourth overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft and has won two NBA titles with the Miami Heat.

Willie Clay, Georgia Tech, 1988-91

Clay is first in Tech history with 16 career interceptions, which includes a school-record nine in 1991. He was a two-time All-ACC pick and a second-team All-American (AP and UPI) in 1991.

Jayson Foster, Georgia Southern, 2004-07

Foster rushed for 3,835 yards (fourth-best in school history) and won the Walter Payton Award as Division I-AA’s best player after rushing for 1,844 yards in 2007.

Dennis Scott, Georgia Tech, 1987-90

Scott was a dominant scorer from the minute he stepped on the Georgia Tech campus. He averaged 15.5 points as a freshman, 20.3 points as a sophomore and 27.7 points as a junior. He was named National Player of the Year by the Sporting News in 1990 after leading the Yellow Jackets to the Final Four. He was a three-time All-ACC pick, the 1988 ACC Rookie of the Year and the 1990 ACC Player of the Year. He scored an ACC-record 970 points in 1989-90 and was the fourth overall pick in the 1990 NBA draft. Scott remains fourth in program history in scoring.

Spud Webb, Hawks, 1985-91

Webb was mostly known for his dunking skills as a 5-foot-7 guy. He started more than 50 games only once and averaged more than 10 points just one time. Webb beat teammate Dominique Wilkins to win the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, becoming the shortest player to do so.

No. 5 Garrison Hearst, Georgia, 1990-92

Bio: Hearst was a consensus All-American in 1992 after rushing for 1,547 yards and 19 touchdowns. He finished with 1,910 all-purpose yards that season. Hearst won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back and finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting. Hearst finished his career with 3,232 yards, second only to Herschel Walker. Hearst’s 33 career touchdowns in third in UGA history. He played 12 years in the NFL, making two Pro Bowls.

Why we picked him: Hearst has some very stiff competition at No. 5, but he was probably the most prominent player with that jersey number in state history. He is the closest successor among Georgia running backs to Herschel Walker.

Others we considered:

Morten Andersen, Falcons, 1995-2000, 06-07

Andersen was a thorn in the Falcons’ side for a decade as the Saints’ kicker, but he became an important weapon with the Falcons. Andersen made just one Pro Bowl with the Falcons (1995), but he obliterated franchise scoring marks. His scored 246 points more than any other Falcons player. He made a franchise record 184 field goals and 153 consecutive extra points. He returned to the Falcons as a 46-year-old in 2006, making 45-of-51 field goals in two seasons. He made the game-winning kick in the 1999 NFC Championship game to send the Falcons to the Super Bowl. He remains the leading scorer in NFL history.

Kevin Butler, Georgia, 1981-84

Butler finished his career as the leading scorer in Georgia history with 353 points – he currently is third behind Billy Bennett and Blair Walsh. Butler was a four-time All-SEC pick and a two-time All-American. His 60-yard field goal against Clemson in 1984 is the longest in UGA history and is tied for the longest in SEC history. Butler went into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Teresa Edwards, Georgia, 1982-85

One of the greatest girls basketball players in history, Edwards led the Bulldogs to the Final Four in 1983 and 1985. She won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics, starting a strong of five consecutive Olympic appearances. She played on four gold medal winners and one bronze medal team. She was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011 and the International Basketball Federation in 2013. The three-time All-SEC player and two-time consensus All-American was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.

Freddie Freeman, Braves, 2010-current

Freeman was the runner-up for NL Rookie of the Year in 2011 after hitting 21 home runs. He hit 23 home runs in 2012 and made his first All-Star team in 2013, hitting .316 so far this season.

Ron Gant, Braves, 1987-93

Gant’s career took off as the Braves became a power in the early 90s. He hit 32 home runs with 84 RBI in 1990, and following with seasons of 32 and 36 homers, respectively, in 1991 and 1993. He made one All-Star team with the Braves and finished in the top six in MVP voting twice.

Nomar Garciaparra, Georgia Tech, 1992-94

Garciaparra was a two-time All-American and a consensus All-America pick in 1994. He hit .427 with 13 home runs in 1994. He was MVP of an NCAA Regional and made the All-College World Series team in 1994. Garciaparra was named to the ACC 50th Anniversary Team. He was inducted into the Georgia Tech Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.

Bob Horner, Braves, 1978-86

Horner also wore No. 11, but he stuck with No. 5 for his first seven years with the Braves. He only had more than 500 at bats once, limiting his production. He did still manage three 30-home runs seasons and seven seasons with 20 or more home runs. He made one All-Star team and hit 215 home runs with the Braves.

Jim Nolan, Georgia Tech, 1945-1949

The Macon native averaged 13.2 points over his college career, earning All-SEC honors in 1949. He went in the Georgia Sports and Georgia Tech Athletic Halls of Fame in 1962.

Rex Robinson, Georgia, 1977-80

Robinson earned All-America honors in 1979 (Playboy) and 1980 (UPI, Football Writers Association of America, Playboy, Walter Camp). He made 101 consecutive extra points after missing the first of his career and went 15-of-17 on field goals in 1878. He was the Bulldogs’ placekicker during their national championship run in 1980.

Josh Smith, Hawks, 2004-13

When he was motivated and not settling for 3-point shots, Smith was one of the more dangerous players in the NBA. He averaged 11 or more points in all but one of his nine seasons in Atlanta and averaged 15.5 points more than seven times. He finished in the top five in blocked shots four times. Smith won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 2005.

No. 6 Bobby Cox, Braves, 1978-81, 90-2010

Bio: Cox led the Braves to unprecedented success, winning 14 consecutive division titles beginning in 1991. The Braves went to five World Series and won it in 1995, becoming the only major pro sports franchise in Atlanta history to win a world title. He’s a three-time NL Manager of the Year. He served as the general manager from 1985 to 1990, laying the foundation for the team that would embark on its historical success. Cox ranks fourth in baseball history in career wins with 2,504. He was inducted in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2006 and his jersey number is retired with the Braves.

Why we picked him: Cox arguably played the biggest role in the Braves’ success over his 20-year stint as a manager. He was the constant in the dugout, and he set the standard for how the Braves would operate and conduct themselves. The streak of 14 consecutive division championships is unmatched in American sports, and Cox was the pilot for that success.

Others we considered:

Clete Boyer, Braves, 1967-71

Boyer finished his career with the Braves, winning a Gold Glove in 1969. His best year came in his first season with the club when he hit 26 home runs and knocked in 96 runs.

Kelly Campbell, Georgia Tech, 1998-2001

Campbell is Tech’s all-time leading receiver with 195 catches. The two-time first-team All-ACC pick is second in program history with 2,907 yards and second with 24 catches.

Davey Johnson, Braves, 1973-75

Johnson’s stay in Atlanta was short, but he made a big impact in 1973 when he hit 43 home runs and knocked in 99 runs to make the All-Star team. He followed that with just 15 home runs the rest of his Braves’ career.

Sean Jones, Georgia, 2001-03

Jones was an All-SEC pick and an American Football Coaches Association All-American in 2003. He finished that season with 111 tackles, five interceptions, five tackles for loss, three blocked kicks and two fumble recoveries. He was one of the leaders of a unit that ranked second nationally in scoring defense.

No. 7 Michael Vick, Falcons, 2001-06

Bio: When he was healthy, Vick was one of the most dynamic players in the NFL. He led the Falcons to the playoffs twice in his four full seasons as a starter, leading the Falcons to a road playoff win against Green Bay in 2002 and to the NFC Championship game in 2004. He made three Pro Bowls in Atlanta, but his numbers were never great. He passed for more than 2,500 yards only once and had just one season with 20 touchdown passes. Of course he also rushed for 3,859 yards and 21 touchdowns and became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. His tenure in Atlanta ended abruptly when he was implicated in an illegal dog fighting operation in 2007. After nearly two years in prison, Vick signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Why we picked him: Regardless of how things finished in Atlanta, there is no doubting Vick’s influence on the city. The franchise was successful for most of his tenure, and his impact is still felt. Like it or not, people still wear Vick jerseys to Falcons games.

Others we considered:

Jeff Burroughs, Braves, 1977-80

Burroughs was a masher his first two seasons in Atlanta, hitting 41 home runs with 114 RBI in 1971. He hit 23 the next year to make the All-Star team. He managed just 24 total home runs over his final two seasons.

Jeff Francoeur, Braves, 2005-09

Francoeur is seen as a bust by many, a home-town boy with a lot of hype who was eventually traded for another big-leaguer who played the same position. Still, Francoeur had what appeared to be a breakout season in 2006 when he hit 29 home runs and knocked in 103 runs. He knocked in 105 runs the next year, hit .293 and won a Gold Glove. But a lack of patience at the plate derailed his career with the Braves after that 2007 season.

Rodney Hampton, Georgia, 1987-89

Hampton was consistent rushing for between 820 and 1,060 yards in each of his three seasons. He finished with 2,777 career yards and 23 touchdowns.

Matthew Stafford, Georgia, 2006-08

Stafford ranks fourth in career passing yards (7,731) behind the UGA big three of Aaron Murray, Eric Zeier and David Greene. He’s third in single-season passing (3,459) and touchdowns (25) in 2008.

No. 8 Tracy Ham, Georgia Southern, 1982-86

Bio: Ham perfected the flexbone (or Hambone) offense, passing for 1,600 or more yards in each of his final three seasons at Georgia Southern. He also rushed for more than 1,000 yards twice on the way to leading Georgia Southern to national championships in 1985 and 1986. Ham ranks seventh in career rushing (third among quarterbacks with 3,212 yards). He passed for 5,757 career yards, nearly 2,000 more than the next closest guy, and 33 touchdowns. Ham won two Grey Cups in the CFL and is in the CFL Hall of Fame.

Why we picked him: Ham is the most important player in program history. Erk Russell and Paul Johnson certainly played huge roles but, without Ham, does Georgia Southern go on to win six national titles in 15 seasons?

Others we considered:

Walt Bellamy, Hawks, 1969-74

Bellamy came to Atlanta near the end of his career, but he still managed to score in double digits each season. His best season came in 1971-72 when he averaged 18.6 points and 12.8 rebounds. He averaged 15.8 points and 12.2 rebounds in four full seasons with the Hawks.

Buck Belue, Georgia, 1978-81

Belue is forever immortalized as the quarterback on Georgia’s 1980 national championship teams. His stats weren’t gaudy – 1,314 yards and 11 touchdowns with nine interceptions – but they didn’t have to be with Herschel Walker in the backfield. His arm did play a role in one of the more iconic plays in UGA history when he connected with Lindsay Scott to beat Florida in 1980. Belue went into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.

Terrance Edwards, Georgia, 1999-2002

The Sandersville native holds the UGA record for career receptions (204), career receiving yards (3,093), single-season yards (1,004) and career touchdowns (30). He also holds the SEC record for career receiving yards. He is the only UGA receiver with a 1,000-yard season.

A.J. Green, Georgia, 2008-10

Despite playing one fewer season than most of the guys in the UGA receiving record books, Green ranks third in career receptions (166), single-season receiving yards (963) and career receiving yards (2,619) and second in career touchdowns (23).

Javy Lopez, Braves, 1992-2003

Lopez emerged as an important player during the World Series run in 1995. He remained a fixture in the lineup after that. He had five seasons with 20 or more home runs, including a career-best 43 in 2003. He also hit .328 with 109 RBI that season and earned the last of his three All-Star appearances with the Braves.

Steve Smith, Hawks, 1994-99

Smith averaged 16 points or more in each of his five seasons in Atlanta. He averaged 20.1 points twice and made the All-Star team in 1998.

Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech, 2007-09

The Dublin native became one of the top big-play receivers in school history. He finished sixth in school history with 2,135 yards and seventh with 13 touchdowns – he would rank fourth in both if he didn’t have to vacate 204 yards and two touchdowns per NCAA sanctions. Thomas was an All-ACC and AP third-team All-America pick in 2009.

No. 9 Bill Elliott, NASCAR, 1976-91, 2001-03

Bio: Elliott became one of Georgia’s most prominent athletes when he started his run in 1983. He won one race that year to go with 12 top 10s and added three more wins in 1984. He would win 11 of his 28 starts, the Daytona 500 ad the Winston Million in 1985, completing one of the great seasons in NASCAR history. He won six times in both 1987 and 1988. He won the Daytona 500 again in 1987 and won the Winston Cup Series championship in 1988. He won 34 races at No. 9 before switching to No. 11 in 1992. He returned to No. 9 in 2001 and snapped a seven-year winless streak with a win at Homestead. He won three more races at No. 9 before retiring as a regular driver in 2003. He finished his career with 44 wins.

Why we picked him: Elliott was a great ambassador for the state, and his success ranks high among Georgia athletes historically. He was voted the Winston Cup Series Most Popular Driver 16 times, making him one of the most beloved drivers in NASCAR history.

Others we considered:

Marquis Grissom, Braves, 1995-96

Grissom won a pair of Gold Gloves in his two seasons in Atlanta. His biggest moment came when he caught the final out of 1995 World Series. He had arguably the best season of his career in 1996, hitting .308 with 23 home runs, 74 RBI and 28 stolen bases.

Allen Leavitt, Georgia, 1973-76

Leavitt drilled a 33-yard field goal to beat Georgia Tech in 1976 and later earned All-America honors from Football Digest. He ranks third in career extra points and third with six field goals of more than 50 yards.

Josh Nesbitt, Georgia Tech, 2007-10

Nesbitt fit into Paul Johnson’s spread option offense with 3,276 passing yards and 2,806 rushing yards. He ranks eighth in passing yards and seventh in rushing yards and earned All-ACC honors in 2009 after leading Georgia Tech to the ACC championship.

Terry Pendleton, Braves, 1991-94, 96

Pendleton was one of the big reasons for the Braves’ turnaround. He won the NL batting title in 1991 by hitting .319 with 22 home runs and 86 RBI to earn NL MVP honors. He finished second in MVP a year later when he hit .311 with 21 homers and 105 RBI. He also made the All-Star team in 1992 and won the Gold Glove.

J.R. Revere, Georgia Southern, 1998-2001

Revere led the Eagles to their sixth national championship, passing for 1,639 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushing for 976 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2000.

Scott Sisson, Georgia Tech, 1989-92

Sisson finished his career as the all-time leader in field goals, extra points and total points. He now ranks third in extra points and total points and his 60 field goals are second only to Travis Bell’s 61. Sisson is remembered best for his game-winning field goal against top-ranked Virginia to keep alive Tech’s national championship hopes. He was a second-team AP All-American in 1992.

Ozzie Virgil, Braves, 1986-88

The catcher made the 1987 NL All-Star team by hitting 27 home runs with 72 RBI.

Kerry Watkins, Georgia Tech, 1999-2002

The reliable Watkins ranks fourth in program history with 171 catches, third in career yards (2,680) and third in touchdowns (22).

Ken Whisenhunt, Georgia Tech, 1980-84

Whisenhunt ranks in the top 20 in program history in receptions and in the top 15 in receiving yards. He later became the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, leading them to Super Bowl XLIII.

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