Greensboro, N.C.—Led by four members of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame and two members of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s prestigious 50th Anniversary team, the ACC announced the 2013 Class of Legends for its 9th Annual Dr Pepper Football Championship Game, which will be played in Charlotte, N.C. on December 7.
Leading this year’s class are former Maryland quarterback Boomer Esiason (East Islip, N.Y.), Clemson safety Terry Kinard (Sumter, S.C.), Virginia defensive end Tom Scott (Baltimore, Md.), Syracuse running back Floyd Little (New Haven, Conn.) and former Pitt head coach Johnny Majors (Lynchburg, Tenn.).
Esiason and Kinard were both chosen in 2003 to be members of the ACC’s 50th Anniversary team, which honored the 50 best players of the league’s first 50 years, while Kinard, Scott, Little and Majors are members of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.
The Legends will be honored during this year’s Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game weekend. They will be honored at the ACC Night of Legends sponsored by the Belk Bowl on Friday, Dec. 6, and on Dec. 7, during ceremonies at Bank of America Stadium for the 9th Annual Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship, which will be nationally televised with either a 7:45 pm (ESPN) or 8 p.m. (ABC) kickoff.
The group of 15 former gridiron standouts from current ACC schools includes a former ACC Football Player of the Year; 10 former All-Americas, including six first-team All-America honorees; and 12 players who combined for 97 years in the National Football League. Twelve of the Legends were drafted into the NFL, including six first- or second-round draft choices.
In all, the collection of players combined for two national championships, five ACC Championships and one Super Bowl title.
Joining the aforementioned selections are Boston College running back Mike Cloud (Portsmouth, R.I.), who ended his collegiate career in 1998 as the Eagles’ all-time leading rusher with 3,597 yards; Duke halfback and end Wes Chesson (Edenton, N.C.), who ended his career with nine 100-yard receiving games, at the time the most in ACC history; Florida State guard Jamie Dukes (Orlando, Fla.), a consensus first-team All-America for the Seminoles in 1985; and Georgia Tech tailback “Rambling” Robert Lavette (Cartersville, Ga.), who is still the leading career rusher in Yellow Jacket history with 4,066 yards.
Completing the ACC Football Legends Class of 2013 are Miami’s Edgerrin James (Immokalee, Fla.), one of the most successful running backs in Hurricane history; North Carolina’s Ken Willard (Richmond, Va.), a second-team All-America fullback for the Tar Heels; NC State’s famed Buckey twins, Dave Buckey (Akron, Ohio), an All-ACC quarterback, and Don Buckey (Akron), an All-ACC wide receiver, who keyed the Wolfpack’s football resurgence in the 1970s under then head coach Lou Holtz; Virginia Tech wide receiver Andre` Davis (Niskayuna, N.Y.), a first-team All-America and explosive performer who was one of the leaders of Tech’s 2000 team which reached the BCS National Championship Game; and Wake Forest quarterback Jay Venuto (Salem, N.J.), the 1979 ACC Player of the Year who led the Deacons to wins over three nationally-ranked foes that year.
Boomer Esiason (1981-83), one of the most successful quarterbacks in Maryland and ACC history, led the Terrapins to the 1983 ACC Championship and back-to-back bowl game appearances (1982-83) under then head coach Bobby Ross. Named a second-team All-America by The Sporting News in 1983, Esiason set 17 school records during his collegiate career, completing 461 of 850 passes for 6,259 yards and 42 touchdowns. He was the first quarterback selected in the 1984 NFL Draft, chosen in the 2nd round by the Cincinnati Bengals. He enjoyed a 14-year NFL career, the first nine with the Bengals, three seasons with the New York Jets and one year at Arizona. He led Cincinnati to Super Bowl XXIII and was named to the Pro Bowl four times, an All-Pro twice, and in 1988 was honored as MVP of the National Football League. He ended his career as perhaps the best left-handed quarterback in league history, completing 57 percent of his passes for 37,920 yards with 247 touchdowns. Following the conclusion of his professional career, Esiason has appeared in a variety of television programs, has hosted both the 1998 Miss America Pageant and CBS’ Thanksgiving Day parade coverage and served as the color commentator on ABC’s Monday Night Football. He is currently a studio analyst for The NFL Today on CBS, is a color analyst for Westwood One’s radio broadcasts of Monday Night Football and co-hosts a long-running and top-rated morning radio show, “Boomer and Carton,” on WFAN the Fan in New York City. In 1993, after his son Gunnar was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, Esiason created the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which has raised in excess of $100 million to fund research to find a cure for the disease of the respiratory and digestive systems. In 1995, he was honored with the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his community service. Originally a native of East Islip, N.Y., he currently lives in Plandome, N.Y.
Terry Kinard (1979-82), one of the leaders of Clemson’s 1981 National Championship team, was a two-time first-team All-America safety who earned unanimous All-America honors in 1982. Named the CBS National Defensive Player of the Year in 1982, Kinard was also selected to the USA Today All-College Football team in the 1980s and to the Sports Illustrated All-Century team of College Football. He helped lead the Tigers, under coach Danny Ford, to a four-year record of 33-10-1 including a 21-1-1 mark in his final two seasons of play. His 17 career interceptions is still a Clemson record. He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001. That same year he was inducted into Clemson’s Ring of Honor. The 10th overall pick on the first round in the 1983 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, he went on to have an eight-year NFL career. He started in 115 NFL games, making 31 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries, helped lead the Giants to Super Bowl XXI and completed his career with the Houston Oilers in 1990. Originally a native of Sumter, S.C., Kinard now lives in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Tom Scott (1950-52), one of many standout players for Virginia in the early 1950s, played in the era of single platoon football as a standout offensive and defensive end for the Cavaliers. Named a first-team All-America in 1952 by both the Associated Press and NEA, he helped lead Virginia to a three-year 24-5 record, including an 8-1 mark and a No. 13 national ranking in 1951. The first two-sport All-America for the Cavaliers, Scott was a member of UVa’s 1952 National Champion lacrosse team, earning All-America honors that season. The 60th overall pick in the 5th round of the 1953 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, he played 12 seasons in the NFL, six years each with the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He was twice named to the NFL Pro Bowl (1957-58), and played on New York Giant teams that played in NFL title games in 1961, 1962 and 1963. He was named to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1979. Originally a native of Baltimore, Md., Scott now lives in Charlottesville, Va.
Floyd Little (1964-66), a three-time All-America for Syracuse under coach Ben Schwartzwalder, still holds the school record for career touchdowns (46) and career punt returns for touchdowns (6). He helped lead the Orange to a three-year 22-10 record, including appearances in the 1965 Sugar Bowl and the 1966 Gator Bowl. Voted the 1966 ECAC Player of the Year, he finished his college career as Syracuse’ all-time leading rusher with 2,704 yards and still ranks sixth on the school’s career rushing list. The sixth overall selection in the 1967 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos, Little enjoyed a spectacular 9-year NFL career, all with Denver. He rushed for 6,323 yards and 43 touchdowns and led all of American Professional Football in rushing in 1969 and 1971. He was named an American Football League All-Star in 1968 and to the first-team All-AFL team in 1969. He was named to the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl three times in 1970, 1971 and 1973. He was inducted into the National Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 2010. His jersey, the famed number “44” which was also worn by Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and several others, was retired by Syracuse in 2005. Originally a native of New Haven, Conn., he currently lives in Syracuse and serves as Special Assistant to Syracuse Athletics Director Dr. Daryl Gross.
Johnny Majors (1973-76; 1993-96) inherited a Pitt program which had won 23 games in nine years prior to his arrival, including a 1-10 season in 1972. He then guided the Panthers to a four-year record of 33-13-1, including three bowl trips and a perfect 12-0 National Championship campaign in 1976. In two of his four seasons at Pitt he was named National Coach of the Year in 1973 and 1976. He coached or recruited 23 All-Americas in his career including nine at Pitt. An All-America tailback at Tennessee as a player, he was twice named MVP in the SEC, leading the Vols to a perfect 10-0 record in 1956. After Pitt’s national championship season, he returned to his alma mater as head coach in 1977, guiding the Vols to three SEC championships. In 29 years as a head coach at Iowa State, Pittsburgh and Tennessee, Majors posted a 185-137-10 (.572) record. He was inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame in 1987 as a player. Originally a native of Lynchburg, Tenn., he currently lives in Knoxville, Tenn.
Mike Cloud (1995-98) is one of the top running backs in Boston College history. His total of 3,597 rushing yards still ranks third on the BC all-time rushing list. In his senior season of 1998, he set the Eagles single-season rushing record which still stands when he ran for 1,726 yards in just 11 games, an average of 156.9 yards per game, while scoring 14 touchdowns. That year he was named a consensus first-team All-America being selected by both the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and by the Football Coaches. The 54th overall selection in the second round of the 1999 NFL draft, he went on to a seven-year career in the NFL with Kansas City, New England and the New York Giants. Born in Charleston, S.C., he grew up Portsmouth, R.I., and now lives in Rockwell, Texas.
Wes Chesson (1968-70) is a record-setting receiver for the Duke teams of 1968, 1969 and 1970 for Coach Tom Harp. Chesson earned first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in 1970 after setting ACC single-season records with 74 pass receptions for 1,080 yards. His per-catch average of 6.73 per-game still ranks as the ninth-best single-season mark in ACC history. He ranks fifth on the Duke career receiving list with 2,399 career yards, averaging 14.6 yards per catch on his 164 career catches. His nine 100-yard receiving games were also an ACC record at the time. His 13 pass receptions against Clemson in 1970 is tied for the third-best single-game mark in Duke history. Selected in the seventh round of the 1971 NFL Draft, he played four seasons in the NFL, two each with the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles. He is the principal owner of the Chesson Company, an investment firm in Raleigh, N.C., and has served for over 30 years on the Duke Radio network as color analyst. He will be inducted into the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 11. A native of Edenton, N.C., he currently lives in Raleigh.
Jamie Dukes (1982-85), one of the important building blocks of Bobby Bowden’s early Florida State programs in the 1980s, earned consensus All-America honors as a senior offensive guard for Florida State in 1985. He started all 48 games during his four-year career at Florida State, helping lead the Seminoles to a record of 33-13-2 (.708) and appearances in four straight bowl games. Those bowl appearances were the beginning of Florida State’s current 31-year consecutive bowl streak. A first-team Freshman All-America in 1982, Dukes earned Honorable Mention All-America honors in 1983 and second-team All-America accolades in 1984. Though not selected in the 1986 NFL Draft, Duke enjoyed a 10-year career in the National Football League, spending eight seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and one year each with Green Bay and Arizona. In all, he played in 124 professional games, starting 62. After retirement from football, Dukes has enjoyed a successful broadcasting career and joined the NFL Network in 2006 as an analyst on NFL Total Access ad NFL GameDay Scoreboard. He is also a regular contributor to NFL.com. Born in Schenectady, N.Y., he played his high school football in Orlando, Fla., and currently lives in Atlanta.
Robert Lavette (1981-84), perhaps the most productive running back in Georgia Tech history, is still the Institute’s all-time rushing leader with 4,066 yards. He is one of only five ACC running backs to have topped the 4,000-yard mark and still ranks fourth on the league’s all-time rushing list. While playing for the Bill Curry-coached Tech teams of the early 1980s, he topped the 1,000-yard mark in rushing twice, gaining 1,208 yards and scoring a then ACC-record 19 touchdowns in 1982. A versatile performer, Lavette ended his Tech career as the school’s leading career rusher, pass receiver (114 catches) and scorer (276 points). At his best in the big games, Lavette contributed greatly to Tech’s upsets over No. 1-ranked Alabama in 1981 and 13th-ranked Clemson in 1984. He earned third-team All-America honors in 1984 by the Football News and was a first-team All-ACC selection in 1982 and 1984. Selected in the fourth round of the 1985 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys, Lavettte played three seasons for the Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. A native of Cartersville, Ga., he now resides in Austell, Ga.
Edgerrin James (1996-98), an explosive runner who averaged 6.2 yards per carry throughout his career, is one of the most successful running backs in Miami history. Though he played just three seasons in college, James totaled 2,960 yards and still has the top two single-game rushing days in schools history. James ran for a school-record 299 yards against UCLA in 1998 and for 271 yards against Boston College in 1997. He is the only running back in school history to have multiple 1,000-yard seasons. James helped Miami compile a 23-12 mark and earn two bowl berths. The fourth overall selection in the 1999 NFL Draft by Indianapolis, he played 11 seasons in the NFL, including his first seven with the Colts. He was named to the NFL’s Pro Bowl four times. He was named the 1999 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press and claimed the NFL rushing title in each of his first two seasons in the league. After leaving Indianapolis, he played three seasons with Arizona, helping the Cardinals to Super Bowl XLIII. He completed his professional career with Seattle in 2009 with 12,246 career rushing yards and 80 touchdowns. He was named to the NFL All-Decade team for the 2000s. Originally from Immokalee, Fla., James now resides in Miami.
Ken Willard (1962-64), a hard-running fullback, was one of the mainstays of the North Carolina teams of Jim Hickey in the early 1960s. He was named to the All-ACC teams in 1963 and 1964 and helped the Tar Heels claim a share of the 1963 ACC Championship. That year, he helped lead UNC to a 9-2 record that included a 35-0 win over Air Force in the Gator Bowl. He led North Carolina in rushing in each of his three varsity seasons and still ranks 14th on UNC’s career rushing list with 1,949 yards. A two-sport standout in college, he was a standout baseball player for the Tar Heels as well. He is also the first North Carolina player to be honored as an Academic All-America. Named a 2nd-team All-America in 1964, he was the second player chosen in the 1965 NFL Draft. He enjoyed a 10-year NFL career, the first nine with the San Francisco 49ers before closing out his pro career with the then St. Louis Cardinals. He earned selection to the NFL’s Pro Bowl four times and played on three 49er teams that won the NFC West title in 1970, 1971 and 1972, and the Cardinals team that won a division title in 1974. Originally from Richmond, Va., he resides in nearby Midlothian, Va.
Dave Buckey (1972-75) and Don Buckey (1972-75), the only identical twins to earn All-ACC football honors, were two of the key performers in the resurgence of NC State football in the early 1970s under Lou Holtz. The pair formed a potent passing combination that complemented the run-oriented split-back Veer offenses of Holtz as the Wolfpack earned four consecutive bowl bids. Dave Buckey was an accurate passer and skilled operator of the Veer offense, while Don was the sure-handed clutch receiver for the Wolfpack. Dave Buckey still holds the career mark for passing yards per attempt, averaging 8.18 yards a throw. Don Buckey had 102 career receptions, averaging 17 yards a catch. They combined to help the Wolfpack post a four-year record of 33-12-3 and claim the 1973 ACC Football title. During this span, State earned trips to two Peach Bowls, the Liberty Bowl and the Bluebonnet Bowl. Both Buckeys were named to the 1975 All-ACC team, with Don also earning first-team All-America honors from the FWAA. Both were selected by the New York Jets, and their former coach Holtz in the 1976 NFL Draft, and taken one right after another: Don at No. 327 and Dave at No. 328. Don played one season with the Jets. Originally natives of Akron, Ohio, they now live in Raleigh.
Andre Davis (1998-2001) was one of the main offensive weapons for the Frank Beamer coached teams at the turn of this century. An explosive receiver and kick returner, he still holds the Virginia Tech record for most yards per catch in a season, averaging 27.5 yards a reception in 1999 with 35 catches for 962 yards and nine touchdowns as the Hokies reached the 2000 BCS Championship Game in the Sugar Bowl before losing to Florida State. Dangerous in the return game as well, he averaged 15.9 yards on 55 career punt returns, including four for touchdowns. In 2000, he finished ranked 21nd nationally in punt return average. During his four seasons in Blacksburg, Davis helped lead the Hokies to a 39-5 record, including 11-1 campaigns in 1999 and 2000, and four consecutive bowl game appearances including the Music City Bowl (1998), the Sugar (1999) and back-to-back trips to the Gator Bowl (2000, 2001). He earned first-team All-America honors by the FWAA in 2000. The 47th overall selection on the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft, Davis went on to enjoy an eight-year NFL career with Cleveland, New England, Buffalo and Houston. Originally from Niskayuna, N.Y., he currently resides in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Jay Venuto (1979-80) quarterbacked Wake Forest to a dream season in 1979 as the Demon Deacons defeated 12th-ranked Georgia in Athens, 14th-ranked North Carolina in Chapel Hill and 13th-ranked Auburn at home en route to an 8-4 season and a berth in Tangerine Bowl for Coach John Mackovic. That year, Venuto led the ACC in total offense, broke six ACC records including total offense, pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards and total plays, and also set a single-game mark with 28 completions against East Carolina. For his efforts, he was named the ACC’s Football Player of the Year. A first-team All-ACC selection in both 1979 and 1980, he led the league in total offense and passing efficiency as a senior. Originally from Salem, N.J., he now lives in Newfield, N.Y.