GREENSBORO--Two members of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, Georgia Tech's George Morris and Virginia's Joe Palumbo and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Miami's Jim Kelly, headline a contingent of 12 former standout football players who were chosen as the ACC's 2007 ACC Football Championship Game Legends class, ACC Commissioner John Swofford announced Wednesday.
The ACC Football Legends will be honored at this year's Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship weekend in Jacksonville, Fla., on Nov. 30-Dec. 1. The Legends will be introduced at the ACC Coaches and Awards Luncheon (12 pm) and honored at the ACC Legend's Reception (6 pm) at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel on Nov. 30. They will also be honored in pre-game ceremonies prior to the Conference's Third Annual Football Championship Game at Jacksonville's Municipal Stadium.
In all, this year's ACC Legend's Class includes five consensus All-Americas, four members of the ACC's 50th Anniversary Football Team, five former No. 1 NFL draft picks and 11 players who totaled 93 years of experience in the National Football League.
Joining Morris, an all-America linebacker for the Yellow Jackets' 1952 National Championship team (International News Service); Palumbo, a first-team all-America selection for the Cavaliers in 1951; and Kelly, a first-round selection of the Buffalo Bills in the 1983 NFL Draft, are Duke's Clarkston Hines, the 1989 ACC Athlete of the Year; Florida State's LeRoy Butler, a consensus All-America defensive back for the Seminoles in 1989; Boston College's Pete Mitchell, a consensus All-America for the Eagles in 1994; Clemson's Jerry Butler, a 1978 consensus All-America wide receiver for the Tigers, and NC State's Dennis Byrd , a unanimous All-America defensive end for the Wolfpack's 1967 team.
Hines, Byrd, Jerry Butler and Wake Forest's Norm Snead, a second-team All-America quarterback selection in 1960, were all chosen to the ACC's 50th Anniversary team in 2003.
Rounding out the Legend's Class of '07 are Maryland's Dick Shiner; a two-time All-ACC quarterback (1962-63) and a 12-year veteran quarterback of the National Football League; North Carolina's Harris Barton, a first-team All-America in 1986 and a 13-year veteran of the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers; and Virginia Tech's Antonio Freeman, an 11-year NFL veteran who was a prolific all-pro wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers.
Three of this year's ACC Legends class have ties to Jacksonville. Florida State's LeRoy Butler played his high school football at Lee High School and still resides in Jacksonville. Duke's Clarkston Hines played his high school football at the Bolles School. Boston College's Pete Mitchell played pro football for the Jacksonville Jaguars and currently resides in Jacksonville.
Also, five members of this year's class-Kelly (4), Barton (3), LeRoy Butler (2), Freeman (2) and Mitchell (1) made a total of 12 appearances in the NFL's Super Bowl. Five members of this year's class-Kelly (5), LeRoy Butler (4), Snead (3), Jerry Butler (1) and Freeman (1)-were named to the pro bowl in the National Football League a total of 14 times.
2007 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game Legends
Hometown (Current Hometown)
Bloomfield Hills, MI (Jacksonville, FL)
Ware Shoals, SC (Cleveland, OH)
Chapel Hill, NC (Statesville, NC)
Jacksonville, FL (Jacksonville)
Vicksburg, MS (Atlanta)
Lebanon, PA (Gettysburg, PA)
East Brady, PA (Buffalo, NY)
Atlanta, GA (Palo Alto, CA)
Lincolnton, NC (Elizabeth City, NC)
Beaver, Pa. (Charlottesville, VA)
Baltimore, MD (Plantation, FL)
Warwick, VA (Naples, FL)
Mitchell (1991-94, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), who lettered four times for Boston College, is still the Eagles' all-time leading receiver with 190 receptions for 2,388 yards. He helped Boston College to a 28-17-2 mark during his four seasons at BC, including appearances in the Hall of Fame (1992) and Carquest Bowls (1993). Named a first-team All-America as a junior in 1993, he earned consensus All-America honors as team captain in 1994. He then enjoyed a nine-year career in the National Football League with the New York Giants and the Jacksonville Jaguars, including an appearance in the 2001 Super Bowl with the Giants. He currently resides in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Jerry Butler (1975-78, Ware Shoals, S.C.), one of the key performers in Clemson's return to national prominence in the late 1970's, earned consensus All-America honors in 1978 after leading the ACC in receiving. He still ranks sixth in career pass receptions (139) and fourth in career pass reception yardage (2,213) in Clemson history. The fifth overall selection of the 1979 NFL draft by Buffalo Bills, he went on to a successful nine-year career and, while with the Bills, he became a teammate of this year's Miami Legend Jim Kelly. Butler currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio.
Hines (1986-89, Chapel Hill, N.C.), one of the most productive receivers in ACC history, was named the Conference's Player of the Year following a 1989 campaign in which he caught an ACC-record 17 touchdown passes and was named a consensus All-America. He led the ACC in receiving for three consecutive years in 1987, 1988 and 1989, and completed his career holding Conference marks in pass receptions (189), reception yardage (3,318) and touchdown receptions (38). To this day he remains the ACC's all-time leader in TD catches, and still ranks eighth overall in career receptions and third in career yardage. After his senior year he was chosen as recipient of the ACC's prestigious McKevlin Award, which is given annually to the Conference's Overall Athlete of the Year. Although a native of Chapel Hill, N.C., Hines played his high school football at the Bolles School in Jacksonville. He currently resides in Statesville, N. C.
LeRoy Butler (1987-89, Jacksonville, Fla.), earned consensus All-America honors at cornerback for Florida State in 1989. That year he intercepted seven passes, a mark which still stands fourth-best on the FSU single-season chart. Probably best known for his performance on the famed "Fumblerooskie" play against Clemson in 1988, when he scampered 78 yards to set up the game-winning field goal against the 3rd-ranked Tigers. Drafted on the second round by Green Bay in the 1990 NFL draft, he earned four Pro Bowl citations in a 12-year career with the Packers. Named to the NFL's all-decade team for the 1990's, he was a professional teammate of Virginia Tech Legend Antonio Freeman. Butler lives in Jacksonville.
Morris (1950-52, Vicksburg Miss. ), one of the stalwarts of the Bobby Dodd-coached Georgia Tech teams of the early 1950's, earned All-America honors as a linebacker in leading the Jackets to a perfect 12-0 record in 1952 and a combined mark of 23-0-1 during the 1951 and 52 seasons including wins in the Orange and Sugar Bowls. A member of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, he was also honored as an Academic All-America in 1952. Earned first-team all-SEC honors in 1952 and was drafted on the second round by the San Francisco 49'ers in the 1953 NFL Draft. Morris currently resides in Atlanta, Ga.
Shiner (1961-63, Lebanon, Pa.), an honorable-mention All-America in 1962, earned first-team All-ACC honors in 1962 and 1963 at quarterback for the then-Tom Nugent-coached Terrapins. He still ranks ninth on the all-time Maryland passing list with 3,410 yards and 10th in career total offense (3,634). Drafted in the 7th round by the Washington Redskins in the 1964 draft, Shiner went on to a distinguished 12-year career in the NFL with the Redskins, Browns, Steelers, Giants, Falcons and Patriots. Shiner currently lives in Gettysburg, Pa.
Kelly (1979-82, East Brady, Pa.), the first of a long line of standout Miami quarterbacks, helped lead the Hurricanes return to national prominence in the early 1980's. He quarterbacked the Hurricanes to a combined record of 18-5 during the 1980 and 1981 seasons, including a 20-10 win over Virginia Tech in the 1980 Peach Bowl, a game many attribute to the turning point in the Miami football program. Though a shoulder injury forced him to miss almost all of his senior season, he still ranks 7th on the all-time Hurricane total offense list (5,352), 8th in passing yardage (5,228) and 9th in touchdown passes (33). The 14th overall selection by the Buffalo Bills in the 1983 NFL draft, Kelly opted to play for the Houston Gamblers of the USFL for two seasons. After joining the Bills in 1986, he played 11 seasons earning All-Pro honors five times and leading the Bills to the playoffs eight times including four Super Bowl appearances. Kelly, who, at the conclusion of his career, ranked 10th on the all-time passing yardage list with 35,467 career yards and his passer rating of 84.4 was the sixth-best all-time, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002. He currently lives in Buffalo.
Barton (1983-86, Atlanta, Ga.), a four-year starter for the Tar Heels during the 1983-86 seasons, first at center and then at tackle, he earned first-team All-America honors as a senior in 1986. That year he helped lead a UNC offensive unit that led the ACC in total offense and ranked sixth nationally. An excellent student, he was chosen to receive the National Football Foundation post-graduate scholarship. A first-round draft choice of the San Francisco 49'ers, he enjoyed a 13-year career in the NFL which included three Super Bowl triumphs. Barton currently resides in Palo Alto, Calif.
Byrd (1965-67, Lincolnton, N.C.), a dominating presence for NC State's famed "White Shoes" defense in the mid 1960's, he earned consensus All-America honors for the Wolfpack in 1967. The first player to earn All-ACC honors three times, he was chosen to the Atlantic Coast Conference 50-member 50th Anniversary Football Team in 2003. An outstanding pass rusher from his defensive tackle position, Byrd also earned first-team All-America honors as a junior in 1966. He was the sixth overall selection in the 1968 NFL draft, being chosen by the New England Patriots. Byrd currently lives in Elizabeth City, N. C.
Palumbo (1949-51, Beaver, Pa.), one of only six Cavaliers to have their jersey number (48) retired, is considered one of the greatest defensive players in school history. A three-year starter at defensive guard, he helped lead Virginia to a 23-5 record during the 1948, 49 and 50 seasons. Twice during his career, the Cavaliers were ranked in the nation's Top 20 in defense as UVA recorded seven shutouts. As a senior, Palumbo earned first-team All-America honors in leading Virginia to an 8-1 campaign and a No. 13 national ranking. He was elected in the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1999. Palumbo currently lives in Charlottesville, Va.
Freeman (1991-94, Baltimore, Md.), one of the most dangerous big-play specialists in Virginia Tech history, ended his career setting school career records in receptions (121), receiving yardage (2,207) and touchdown catches (22). As a senior, he also set single-game and season marks for punt return yardage, leading the Big East and being ranked sixth in the nation. Selected in the third round of the 1995 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, he quickly developed into a favorite target for the Packers' Brett Favre who combined with Freeman for 57 touchdown passes, the fifth-best total for a passing duo in NFL history. In 1998, Freeman earned all-pro honors and led the NFL in pass receiving yardage. He enjoyed an 11-year professional career and currently resides in Plantation, Fla.
Snead (1958-60, Warwick, Va.), one of the premier passers in Atlantic Coast Conference history, still ranks 8th on Wake Forest's career passing yardage list with 4,040 yards. The first Deacon quarterback to earn All-America honors, he was named a second-team All-America in 1960 by UPI and the FWAA. Chosen second-team All-ACC in 1958, he earned first team all-Conference honors in 1959 and 1960. As a junior and senior, he led the ACC in passing and total offense. Named to the ACC's 50th Anniversary team in 2003, he was just the second person selected during the 1961 NFL Draft when he was selected by the Washington Redskins. He went on to play with five different teams during a 16-year NFL career which saw him earn All-Pro honors three times. He still ranks 27th on the all-time NFL passing yardage list with 30,797 career yards and 29th in career touchdown passes with 196. Snead currently lives in Naples, Fla.