BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (SECDigitalNetwork.com) – The Southeastern Conference 2012 Football Legends Class includes 14 former SEC stars who have made a name for themselves as great athletes on the playing field. The conference is announcing the legends from its Western Division schools today. The Eastern Division legends were announced yesterday.
This year's class has Heisman Trophy winners, All-Americans, All-SEC and Academic All-Americans as well as NCAA and SEC record holders. The group represents teams that won National and SEC Championships and are represented in state, school and National Football Foundation Halls of Fame.
The class will be honored at the 2012 SEC Football "Weekend of Champions" Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Atlanta, Ga. The annual SEC Legends Dinner presented by AT&T will be held Nov. 30 at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta and the group will also be recognized prior to the SEC Football Championship Game, which will be held at the Georgia Dome on Sat., Dec. 1.
Below is a listing and biographies of the 2012 SEC Football Legends representing Western Division institutions:
2012 SEC FOOTBALL LEGEND BIO's – WESTERN DIVISION
ALABAMA – Paul Crane, Center/Linebacker, 1963-65
Paul Crane played both center and linebacker and earned unanimous All-America accolades in 1965 at center. He also earned SEC Lineman of the Year honors in 1964. Crane played on three bowl teams at Alabama while the Tide collected a 28-4-1 record during his playing career. Two of those teams were crowned national champions (1964 and 1965). He was a team captain on the 1965 national title squad. Crane went on to an excellent pro career, playing for seven seasons with the New York Jets (1966-73), including the 1969 Super Bowl Champions. He went on to serve as an assistant coach at Alabama (1974-78) and Ole Miss (1978-81). He has been honored with the "Paul Crane, I Like to Practice Award", given each spring at Alabama.
ARKANSAS – Pat Summerall, Kicker/Defensive End/Tight End, 1949-51
Pat Summerall was a defensive end, tight end and placekicker for the Razorbacks from 1949-51 before going on to a successful NFL playing and broadcasting career. A team captain for the Razorbacks in 1951, his field goal provided the winning margin in Arkansas' 16-14 upset win over No. 4 Texas, marking the first time the Razorbacks had defeated the Longhorns in Fayetteville. Summerall is a member of the All-Century Team (selected in 1994) as a kicker and was named to the 1940s All-Decade team as an end. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1952 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He played one year for Detroit (1952), five years for the Chicago Cardinals (1953-57) and four with the New York Giants (1958-61). In 1959, he scored 90 points on 30 of 30 extra points and 20 of 29 field goals. After his 10-year playing career, Summerall became a play-by-play announcer for CBS and Fox (40 years). He teamed up with John Madden for 22 years to form the most recognizable broadcast team in history. In his distinguished broadcasting career, he called 26 Super Bowls as well as the Masters in golf and the United States Open in tennis.
AUBURN – James C. Owens, Fullback, 1969-72
James Owens lettered at Auburn as a fullback from 1969-72 and was pioneer for the Auburn football program as he was the first African-American football player in school history. During his three seasons, he helped Auburn to a 28-5 record and played a key role in the 1972 "Amazin's" who finished the season 10-1 and a top five national finish. After his senior season in 1972, Owens was drafted in the 11th round of the NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. Auburn has established the "James Owens Courage Award," which will be presented annually to a current or former Auburn football player who has displayed courage in the face of adversity, distinguishing himself while contributing to the betterment of Auburn. He returned to his hometown of Fairfield, where he worked at U.S. Steel before entering the ministry.
LSU – Kevin Mawae, Center, 1990-93
Kevin Mawae was a four-year starter on offensive line for the Tigers from 1990-93, starting games at center, left tackle and left guard during his career at LSU. He earned Freshman All-SEC honors in 1990, was named First-Team All-SEC honors in 1991 and was a second-team all-league pick in both 1992 and 1993. He was named third-team All-America by Football News as a senior in 1993. A member of the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame, Mawae drafted in the second round of the 1994 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He played 16 years in the NFL for three different teams – Seahawks, New York Jets and Tennessee Titans, playing in 241 regular season games during NFL, starting 238 consecutive games to end his career in 2009. He was named to the Pro Bowl eight times and was selected All-Pro seven times. He was voted a member of the NFL 2000's All-Decade team and served as president of the NFL Players Association from March, 2008 until March, 2011.
OLE MISS – Glynn Griffing, Quarterback, 1960-62
Co-captain of the 1962 undefeated (10-0) Ole Miss squad, quarterback Glynn Griffing helped lead Coach John Vaught's Rebels to a share of the national championship that season as he earned first-team All-America and All-SEC honors. Griffing ended his collegiate career with his Most Outstanding Player performance in the Sugar Bowl as Ole Miss closed out the school's only perfect season with a victory over Arkansas, a game which saw him pass for 242 yards to break Davey O'Brien's 24-year-old Sugar Bowl record for passing yardage. Selected as the Atlanta TD Club's SEC Back of the Year in 1962, Griffing earned MVP honors in the Senior Bowl and also played in the Chicago All-Star Game and the Coaches Association All-America Bowl. After playing one year with the New York Giants, Griffing retired from the NFL to enter private business. Griffing, a member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the Ole Miss Sports Hall of Fame, remains heavily involved in community service in Jackson, Miss., which has included multiple mission trips to Mexico and Honduras as well as to the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Walt Harris, Defensive Back, 1992-95
Walt Harris was a three-time All-SEC selection from 1993-95, earning All-America honors in 1995. He continues to hold the Mississippi State record for career interceptions with 16 and single-season interceptions with six (as a sophomore and junior). He became a starter at State as a freshman at cornerback/free safety and played in 10 games, including starts during the final three games. As a junior, his six interceptions ranked third in the SEC and fifth in the nation and led the team with 12 passes defensed and also recovered two fumbles and blocked two kicks. He was drafted in the first round (13th overall) in the 1996 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He played in 193 games over 13 seasons in the NFL with the Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers. He finished his NFL career with 35 interceptions.
TEXAS A&M – John David Crow, Running Back/Defensive Back, 1955-57