Clemson quarterback to be honored in ACC Football Legends Class
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Two national champions, five NFL All-Pros and multiple Super Bowl winners are among the 2017 Atlantic Coast Conference Football Legends class announced on Tuesday.
The 14-member group of honorees includes Boston College’s Matt Hasselbeck, Clemson’s Homer Jordan, Duke’s Bob Harris, the late Monk Bonasorte of Florida State, Georgia Tech’s Keith Brooking, Louisville’s Joe Jacoby, Miami’s Bennie Blades, North Carolina’s Brian Simmons, NC State’s Levar Fisher, Pitt’s Jimbo Covert, Syracuse’s Tom Coughlin, Virginia’s Bob Davis, Virginia Tech’s Jim Pyne and Wake Forest’s Ryan Plackemeier.
This year’s Legends class will be honored during the ACC Night of Legends presented by the Charlotte Sports Foundation at the Charlotte Convention Center, on Friday, Dec. 1, and during the on-field pregame festivities at the 13th annual Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game, set for the evening of Saturday, Dec. 2, at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.
Reserved tables and seats for the ACC Night of Legends presented by the Charlotte Sports Foundation are available now. Fans are encouraged to secure their access to this event by visiting: www.theACC.com/NightofLegends
Tickets to the 2017 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game may also be purchased at http://theacc.com/tournaments/
Each of the ACC’s 14 football schools selected its 2017 Legend. Below is a further glance at each member of this year’s ACC Football Legends Class.
Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Boston College (1994-1997) – Hasselbeck starred at Boston College after growing up in nearby Norfolk, Massachusetts. He ranks eighth all-time on the Eagles’ career passing chart with 4,458 career yards and enjoyed his best collegiate year as a senior, when he threw for 2,239 yards. Hasselbeck went on to a 17-year NFL career with Green Bay, Seattle, Tennessee and Indianapolis. He led the Seahawks to six playoff appearances and one Super Bowl while earning All-Pro honors in 2005 and appearing in three Pro Bowls. He threw for 36,638 yards and 212 touchdowns as a professional while completing nearly 61 percent of his passing attempts. Following his retirement as a player, Hasselbeck has worked as an analyst for ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown. Hasselbeck hails from a true football family, as his father, Don, was an NFL tight end who earned a Super Bowl ring with the Raiders, and his brother, Tim, also played quarterback in the league for seven seasons.
Homer Jordan, QB, Clemson (1979-82) – The starting quarterback on Clemson’s 1981 national championship team, Jordan has been inducted into the athletic Halls of Fame by both his collegiate alma mater and his hometown of Athens, Georgia. A dual threat quarterback, Jordan led his teams to a 22-6-1 record as a starter, including 12-0 mark and the national title during his junior year (1981). Jordan threw for 1,630 yards that season while completing 55 percent of his passes and earning first-team All-ACC first-team honors. Jordan was also named the MVP of the Orange Bowl, where he led the Tigers past Nebraska in the game that decided the national championship. Jordan made the key play late in the game, scrambling for a first down on third-and-23 as Clemson held off the Cornhuskers for a historic 22-15 win. Jordan played two years in the Canadian Football League and spent 10 years as an assistant coach at his high school alma mater (Cedar Shoals) in Athens.
Bob Harris, Broadcaster, Duke (1976-2017) – The first full-time broadcaster to be recognized as an ACC Football Legend, Harris retired last spring after more than four decades as “The Voice of the Blue Devils,” providing football and basketball play-by-play to radio listeners. The Albemarle, North Carolina, native is a four-time recipient of the North Carolina Broadcaster of the Year honor from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Harris is also a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame (inducted in 2006) and the Stanly County Sports Hall of Fame (1993). In 2009, he was honored with the ACC’s prestigious Skeeter Francis Award, which is presented annually to individuals for distinguished service to the league. In 2016, Harris received The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, an honor conferred by the Governor of North Carolina for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and its communities.
Monk Bonasorte, DB, Florida State (1977-80) – A member of Florida State’s All-Time Football Team as named by Athlon Magazine, the late Monk Bonasorte earned four varsity letters, played in the 1977 Tangerine Bowl and two Orange Bowls (1980 and 1981) and was inducted into the FSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1995 as one of the top defensive backs in school history. He ranks second in Florida State history with 15 interceptions, and his eight interceptions in 1979 stand as the second highest single-season total in school history. Bonasorte earned third-team All-America honors in 1979 from the Associated Press and second-team All-America honors from Football News in 1980. Bonasorte, who passed away last November, worked for nearly a decade as Senior Associate Athletics Director at his alma mater and was a member of the Seminole Radio Network’s pregame football broadcasting team for 22 seasons.
Keith Brooking, LB, Georgia Tech (1994-97) – The leading tackler in Georgia Tech history and one of the top inside linebackers in the ACC and the nation, Brooking went on to a 15-year NFL career with Atlanta, Dallas and Denver after starring for the Yellow Jackets. The Senoia, Georgia, native made 467 career tackles as he surpassed the previous Tech record of 437, set by Jerrelle Williams from 1988-91. He averaged 12.8 tackles per game over his final three seasons. He recorded two of the top seasons in Tech history with 147 tackles as a junior, which is the fifth highest total by a Yellow Jacket, and 146 tackles as a sophomore, which ties for sixth place. He also finished sixth in Tech history with 25.5 tackles for loss (including sacks). Brooking went on to a standout NFL career that featured five Pro Bowl appearances and two second-team All-Pro selections.
Joe Jacoby, OT, Louisville (1977-80) – A native of Louisville, Jacoby started at offensive tackle for the hometown Cardinals and was captain of the 1980 team that played in the Independence Bowl. He signed with the Washington Redskins as an undrafted free agent in 1981. Over the next 11 years, he went on to stardom as a member of the “Hogs” offensive line as coach Joe Gibbs’ teams made four Super Bowl appearances and claimed three Lombardi Trophies. The four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selection worked as an offensive line coach at the collegiate level and is a two-time finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Jacoby was inducted into the University of Louisville Hall of Fame in 2004, the state of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999, and is among the former Louisville greats whose jersey hangs in honor at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
Bennie Blades, S, Miami, (1985-87) – A 2006 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, Blades was a two-time first-team All-America safety for the Hurricanes and starred on the 1987 national championship team. Blades led the nation with 10 interceptions in 1986 and received the 1987 Jim Thorpe Award, which is awarded annually to the nation’s top defensive back. Blades finished his collegiate career as Miami’s all-time leader in interceptions (19), interception return yards (305), consecutive games with an interception (five), total tackles by a safety (286) and unassisted tackles by a safety (155). He was picked third overall by the Detroit Lions in the 1988 NFL Draft. Blades was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1991 in addition to receiving first-team All-NFL and first-team All-NFC honors. He was the Lions’ Defensive MVP in 1992. Blades played 10 professional seasons and closed out his NFL career with 14 interceptions and one touchdown. Blades was inducted into Miami’s Ring of Honor in October of 2009.
Brian Simmons, LB, North Carolina (1994-97) – A star outside linebacker for head coach Mack Brown’s teams of the 1990s, Simmons earned consensus first-team All-America after receiving first-team honors from Football News, the Associated Press and the Walter Camp Foundation his senior season. The New Bern, North Carolina, native was a first-round pick in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals and spent 10 seasons in the NFL. As a junior at UNC, Simmons set a school record for total yards on interception returns with 160 on four picks. That included an 84-yard run-back for a touchdown against Louisville that ranks as the seventh-longest in school history. Simmons finished his collegiate career with 36 tackles for losses and 11 quarterback sacks. His jersey number (41) is among those displayed in honor at Kenan Stadium. Simmons has worked as a color analyst for the Tar Heel Sports Network football broadcasts the past two seasons.
Levar Fisher, LB, NC State (1998-2001) – The 2000 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Fisher set the NC State record for tackles with 492 in his four-year career. A two-time All-ACC first-team performer, he led the nation in tackles with an average of 15.1 as a junior in 2000. Fisher earned first-team All-America honors in both 2000 and 2001, when he was a finalist for the Dick Butkus Award presented to the nation’s top linebacker. He is tied for third on NC State’s all-time list in tackles for loss (33 for 147 yards) and is tied for second in fumbles caused. Fisher starred on Wolfpack teams that played in three bowl games. Fisher went on to a play professionally with the Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans Saints before a knee injury in 2006 cut short his career. He moved on from there to build a successful second career as a motivational speaker.
Jimbo Covert, OT, Pitt (1978-82) – Covert began his collegiate career on the defensive line as a Panthers’ freshman in 1978. A shoulder injury sidelined him for the 1979 season and he was redshirted. He switched to offensive tackle in the spring of 1980, a decision that would lead Covert to the College Football Hall of Fame. Covert was a fixture on Pitt’s punishing offensive front his final three seasons, surrendering just three sacks during that span. As a consensus All-American his senior year, he did not give up a single sack. Pitt went 31-5 during Covert’s three years as a starter, finishing in the nation’s top 10 each season. The 1980 and 1981 teams each went 11-1 and finished as high as No. 2 in the national polls. Covert went on to become an All-Pro lineman with the Chicago Bears, starring on the Super Bowl XX championship team and earning a spot on NFL’s 1980s All-Decade Team.
Tom Coughlin, HB, Syracuse (1965-67) – Coughlin played three seasons (1965-67) for legendary head coach Ben Schwartzwalder and shared the Orange backfield with future College and Pro Football Hall of Famers Larry Csonka and Floyd Little. As a senior, Coughlin led Syracuse in both receptions (26) and yards (257) to help the Orange to an 8-2 record and the No. 12 national ranking. Coughlin spent a number of years as an assistant coach at both the NFL and collegiate levels before becoming head coach at Boston College in 1991. After three years with the Eagles, Coughlin spent 20 years as an NFL head coach, including 12 seasons with the New York Giants from 2004-15. He won 102 regular-season games with the Giants and 120 games total, including wins over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI. Coughlin also served as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1995-2002. He is currently the Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations.
Bob Davis, QB, Virginia (1964-66) – After setting 13 school and nine conference records, Davis remains one of the premier Virginia student-athletes ever to wear a uniform in the ACC. He accounted for 4,025 yards in his career – 3,095 passing and 930 rushing. Davis led the ACC in total offense in 1966 with 1,688 total yards and became the first Cavalier to earn ACC Player of the Year honors. He was responsible for 39 touchdowns in his UVA career, an ACC record at the time. Davis still ranks among the top 10 in school history in total offense, despite only playing three 10-game seasons. Davis earned a degree in economics from the UVA. He was the second-round draft pick of the Houston Oilers in 1967 and spent three years as quarterback of the team before moving to the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints in 1973 and eventually to the World Football League.
Jim Pyne, C, Virginia Tech (1990-93) – Pyne became Virginia Tech’s first unanimous All-American when he made all five major teams that were selected in 1993. In addition to All-America honors, Pyne was named winner of the Dudley Award as Virginia’s Player of the Year. During his four seasons at Tech, he established himself as one of the Hokies’ top linemen of all time, leading the charge for the 1993 team that rewrote the school record books for scoring and total offense. Pyne started 35 consecutive games and 41 of the 42 Tech games in which he played. He allowed just one quarterback sack in more than 2,700 career snaps. Following his standout collegiate career, Pyne spent nine seasons as an NFL lineman.
Ryan Plackemeier, P, Wake Forest (2002-05) – Plackemeier received the 2005 Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter and was voted first-team All-ACC each of his final three seasons. He became only the fifth player in Wake Forest history to be a three-time first team All-ACC selection. Plackemeier graduated as the top punter in Wake Forest and ACC history with a career average of 45.26, as well as the NCAA all-time leading punter among those with at least 200 career kicks. He led the nation in punting (47.2 yards per punt) and net punting (41.4) his senior year, and led the ACC in punting each of his final three seasons. His punts of 71, 74 and 82 yards were the three longest in the ACC his senior season, and he dropped 20 of his 67 attempts inside Wake’s opponents’ 20-yard line.