Abraham, Seymour headline 2018 SC Football Hall of Fame class

Greenville, S.C. Former Gamecock John Abraham and Lower Richland’s Richard Seymour headline this year’s South Carolina Football Hall of Fame class.

The five Class of 2018 inductees include Abraham (University of South Carolina),Seymour (University of Georgia), Dwight Clark (Clemson University), Paul Maguire (The Citadel), Clay Matthews Sr. (Georgia Tech/Legacy Inductee).

John Abraham was born May 6, 1978 in Timmonsville, SC.  He only played one year of football as a senior in high school at Lamar High School (same school as Class of 2017 Inductee Levon Kirkland).  He is the current 200-meter and 100-meter dash South Carolina record holder in track, and he also competed in shot put and discus while attending Lamar before turning his attention to football.  His football talent during his senior year earned Abraham a scholarship to the University of South Carolina.  While in Columbia, he recorded 23.5 sacks ranking second on the Gamecock’s all-time list.  He was named a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection as a junior.  After his junior season, he declared for the 2000 NFL Draft in which he was picked 13th overall in the first round by the New York Jets.  After six successful seasons (2000-2005), and 3 pro bowl seasons, he was traded to the Atlanta Falcons, where he played for seven seasons (2006-2012).  He finished his career with a two season (2013-2014) stint with the Arizona Cardinals including a pro bowl appearance in 2013.  In his career, Abraham totaled 133.5 sacks and 48 forced fumbles, earning five Pro Bowl nominations and four All-Pro teams (3 first-team) during a 15 year career.  His productivity on the field was evident as he is currently ranked third (New York Jets) and Second (Atlanta Falcons) on the career sacks record books.

Dwight Clark was born in Kinston, NC on January 8, 1957.  Dwight Clark was inducted into the Clemson University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988.  He played for Clemson from 1975-1978.  His success at the collegiate level led him to be the 249th overall pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 1979 by Coach Bill Walsh.  He played a total of 8 seasons in the NFL accumulating two Pro Bowl, All-Pro nominations, two Super Bowl Championships, and lead the league in receptions in 1982.  He is widely known for “The Catch” in the 1982 NFC Championship that propelled the 49ers to their first Super Bowl Championship.  The 49ers retired Dwight Clark’s #87 after his storied career.  Clark served as the teams general manager in 1998 and then went on to serve in the same capacity for the Cleveland Browns from 1998-2002.  In 2017, Clark announced that he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease).  He currently lives in California with his wife, Kelly.  He has three children, daughter Casey, and sons Riley and Mac.

Paul Maguire was born August 22, 1938 in Youngstown, Ohio.  He played football at The Citadel from 1956-1959.  He played all sides of the ball including punter, defensive lineman and offensive lineman.  Maguire was named Southern Conference Freshman of the Year in 1956 and Player of the Year in 1959. He scored 10 touchdown receptions as a tight end in 1959.  In 1960, Maguire was selected in the first round of the inaugural AFL draft by the Los Angeles Chargers.  He spent 10 years in the AFL with the Chargers (four season) and Buffalo Bills (six season) as a punter and a linebacker. Mcguire was known for his coffin corner punts and was the AFL’s all-time leader in punts and yardage during his career.  He was part of six AFL Championship games, winning three.  Two of those championships were with the Chargers and one with the Bills.  He was only one of  20 players who played in the AFL during its entire ten-year history.  After retiring from playing football, he worked as a color commentator for NFL telecasts, first with NBC and then ESPN.  During his time at ESPN he called games college football and the Canadian Football League.  Later in his career he would have the opportunity to call NFL SundayNight Football games, ABC’s NFL Wild Card Saturday games, and ABC’s college football games with Brad Nessler and Brian Greise.  While with NBC, he worked with Marv Albert for seven years, and then with Phil Simms and Dick Enberg.  In all, Maguire spent over 40 years as a sports broadcaster.  He is a member of the Inaugural Citadel Hall of Fame Class of 1977, the Ohio Sports Hall of Fame, and the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

William Clay Matthews Sr. (Clay) was born August 1, 1928 in Charleston, SC.  His father Matty Matthews coached boxing, baseball, and track at The Citadel.  He graduated from Charleston High School, and then went on to play college football for Georgia Tech.  Clay Sr. was drafted 247th overall by the Los Angeles Rams in 1949, but never played a snap for the organization.  He began his rookie season as a offensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers in 1950.  His career was abruptly interrupted after his first year, as he became a paratrooper for the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division in the Korean War. Clay Sr. returned to the 49ers in 1953 where he played for another 3 seasons.  After completing his NFL career, he entered the business world, eventually becoming the president of the company Bell & Howell.  He is most know for being the patriarch of the Matthews family of football players.  He is the father of Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews and Pro Bowler Clay Matthews Jr.  He is grandfather of current Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews III and Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle Jake Matthews, and former NFL players Kevin and Casey Matthews.  Clay Matthews Sr. passed away in Mount Pleasant, SC on March 23, 2017 at the age of 88.

Richard Seymour was born in Gadsden, SC on October 6, 1979.  He is a graduate of Hopkins Lower Richland High School.  Seymour received numerous All-Area honors for his play as a defensive lineman in high school and was highly recruited by the University of Georgia.  During his time as a Bulldog, Seymour was named to two First-team All-SEC teams and a First-team All-American in 2000.  After completing his career in Athens,  he was drafted in the NFL as the sixth overall pick by the New England Patriots in the 2001.  During his career, he was selected to seven Pro Bowls, named to five All-Pro teams (three first-team), and won three Super Bowls with the Patriots.  Over his 12 seasons in the NFL, he spent eight seasons with the Patriots and four with the Oakland Raiders. Seymour’s storied career lead him to be named to the Patriots 50th Anniversary Team, All-2000s Team, and the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.  In 2017, he was named a Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist in his first year of eligibility.

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