Battle of the Border

Over the years, a spirited debate continues: North Georgia or Southeast Tennessee/Chattanooga – who has and has had the strongest high school football teams and top players?

While this question will never be answered with agreement, a panel of high school football experts compiled data to help create the best players to ever play each position of the game among North Georgia and Southeast Tennessee/Chattanooga teams along with the top coaching staffs.

Needless to say, the players and coaches presented have achieved remarkable successes and other great athletes and coaches arguably could have been included. The debate goes on! Enjoy!

Offense

Steve Sloan  6’0” | 180 lbs.
High School: Bradley Central (‘62) | College: Alabama

• 1961 First Team All-American selection as a senior at Bradley Central

• Led Bradley Central to Litkenhous, AP-voted state Championship in 1961

• Earned First Team All-America honors in 1965 after leading Alabama to a national title

• Named Southeastern Conference MVP in 1965

• Played professionally with the Atlanta Falcons

Gary Tucker  5’11” | 205 lbs.
High School: Brainerd (’63)
College: UTC (formerly UC)

• First Team All-State honors at Brainerd in 1962

• Led the state of Tennessee in scoring in 1962 with 150 points

• Fifth-round American Football League draft pick in 1967 to the Miami Dolphins

• 1986 Gatorade Tennessee Player of the Year at Rhea County

• 1986 TSSAA Class 3A Mr. Football at  Rhea County

• Currently ranked fourth in career passing yards at Tennessee

• 15 seasons in the Arena Football League – ranks fourth in career passing yards, and fifth in career passing touchdowns

Gerald Riggs Jr.  6’0” | 217 lbs.
High School: Red Bank (’02)
College: Tennessee

• Named Tennessee Mr. Football Back of the Year twice while at Red Bank (’01, ’02)

• Earned All-State honors in high school in 1999 and 2001

• Led Red Bank to a Class 5A state title in 2000

• Set records for career points (550), rushing yards (6,000+), and touchdowns (724) at Red Bank

• Gathered over 2,200 all-purpose yards while at Tennessee, though limited due to injuries

Bobby Hoppe  5’11” | 175 lbs.
High School: Chattanooga Central (’54) | College: Auburn

• While at Central, earned All-State honors in 1952 and 1953, and All-American honors
in 1953

• Played a critical role on three state champion-ship teams at Central – 1951, 1952, and 1953

• Played on Auburn’s 1957 national champion-ship team

• 2-year NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins

Adarius Bowman  6’3” | 233 lbs.
High School: Notre Dame (‘03)
College: Oklahoma State University

• Named Tennessee Mr. Football Back of the Year in 2001 and 2002 while at Notre Dame

• First Team All-State in 2001 and 2002

• Attended Oklahoma State University where he was selected to the All-Big Twelve Conference Team in 2006 (First team)

• Finished his OSU career fourth in career receptions while becoming only the fourth OSU receiver to gain over 2,000 career receiving yards

• Played for six seasons in CFL (currently playing for Edmonton Eskimos)

Bill Emendorfer  6’2” | 210 lbs.
High School: Cleveland (’69)
College: Tennessee

•Tagged with All-State and All-American honors and dubbed as one of the nation’s top ten high school All-Americans in his senior year at Cleveland

• South Eastern Conference Runner-Up Freshman of the Year in 1969 (second to Ricky Lake of Dalton)

• While at Tennessee, earned Second Team All-SEC honors 1970; First Team All-SEC honors, Second Team All-American 1972

Mike Jones  5’11” | 182 lbs.
High School: Riverside (’79)
College: Tennessee State

•All-State receiver at Riverside

• Named All-American twice while at Tennessee State (1981, 1982)

• Drafted in the sixth round of the ’83 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings

• In six seasons in the NFL with Minnesota and New Orleans, caught 2,372 yards and 11 touchdowns

Bob Johnson  6’5” | 262 lbs.
High School: Bradley Central (’64)
College: Tennessee

• Named to All-American First Team in 1963 while at Bradley Central

• All-SEC and All-American honors in consecutive years at Tennessee (1966, 1967)

• Won the Jacobs Trophy in ’67, presented to the SEC’s best blocker

• Drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals third overall in 1968; played 12 seasons in the NFL

• Three-time NFL Pro Bowler; member of the College Football Hall of Fame

Tom Mullady  6’3” | 232 lbs.
High School: McCallie (’75)
College: Rhodes (formerly Southwestern at Memphis)

• Earned All-State honors while at McCallie

• Attended Rhodes where he was named All-College Athletic Conference in 1976, 1977 and 1978

• Set single game school records in 1978 with 13 receptions and 267 receiving yards while at Rhodes

•Ranked as the top receiving tight end in the nation in 1978 with 55 receptions at Rhodes

• Played professionally for six years in the NFL with the New York Giants

John Hannah  6’2” | 265 lbs.
High School: Baylor (’69)
College: Alabama

• Won Mid-South championship while at Baylor

• Earned All-American honors twice at Alabama

• Selected fourth overall by the Patriots in the 1973 NFL draft

• NFL Players Association’s Offensive Lineman of the Year four consecutive years (’78-’81)

• Nine-time NFL Pro Bowl selection; NFL Hall of Fame Class of 1991

John Becksvoort  6’1” | 170 lbs.
High School: Red Bank (’91)
College: Tennessee

• All-State kicker at Red Bank High School

• Converted 161 of 161 extra-point attempts in his career at UT, an NCAA record for the most consecutive PATs

• All-American in 1993, leading the league in scoring with 95 points on the season at Tennessee

• Currently ranks third on Tennessee’s all-time scoring list

• Played in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints

David Douglas  6’4” | 285 lbs.
High School: Rhea County (’81)
College: Tennessee

• Selected to All-District 5-AAA team and was an honorable mention to the All-Tri-State team in his senior year at Rhea County

• Earned the 1982 Volunteer Award when he walked on at Tennessee and earned a scholarship

• Eighth round NFL draft selection by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1986

• Appeared in Super Bowl XXIII in the 1988-1989 season

Charles Hannah  6’5” | 260 lbs.
High School: Baylor (’73)
College: Alabama

• Selected to the Tennessee All-State Team and was Baylor’s team captain in 1972

• Two-time winner of Alabama’s Billy Neighbors Most Improved Defensive Lineman Award (’74, ’75)

• Associated Press All-SEC selection in senior campaign (’76)

• 12-year NFL career that yielded a Super Bowl Championship with the Oakland Raiders (Super Bowl XVIII)

Defense

Ed Smith  6’1” | 220 lbs.
High School: McCallie (’75)
College: Vanderbilt

• Hard-hitting defensive end at McCallie and later converted to linebacker in college (1977)

• Nicknamed ”The Sheriff” and was an All-SEC selection at linebacker in 1978 while at Vanderbilt

• Four-year  professional career – two years NFL (Baltimore Colts), two years USFL (Arizona Wranglers)

Reggie Mathis  6’2” | 220 lbs.
High School: Notre Dame (’74)
College: Oklahoma

• 1973 All-State selection while at Notre Dame

• All-Big Eight selection in 1978 at Oklahoma

• Second round 1979 NFL Draft selection by the New Orleans Saints

Eddie Moore  6’1” | 235 lbs.
High School: South Pittsburg (’99)
College: Tennessee

• 1998 Associated Press All-State running back in 1998 at South Pittsburg

• Tri-State Super Player of the Year and Class A Offensive MVP while at South Pittsburg

• All-SEC selection at linebacker in 2002

• Selected by the Miami Dolphins as a second round pick in 2003

Tony Brown  6’3” | 305 lbs.
High School: City (’98)
College: Memphis

• Linebacker and tight end while at City, earning All-State honors as a senior

• All-Conference USA selection in senior season at Memphis

• Six-year NFL career – one year San Francisco 49ers, five years Tennessee Titans

Eric Westmoreland 6’0” | 233 lbs.
High School: Marion County (’96)
College: Tennessee

• Earned All-State honors in 1994 and 1995 at Marion County

• 3A Mr. Football Back of the Year in 1995 at Marion County

• Played on Tennessee’s 1998 BCS National Championship team

• Earned All-SEC honors in 2000 at Tennessee

• Third round 2001 NFL draft selection by the Jacksonville Jaguars

Reggie White 6’5” | 291 lbs.
High School: Howard (’80)
College: Tennessee

• All-America selection while at Howard

• Earned All-SEC and All-America honors and was named SEC Player of the Year in his senior year at Tennessee

• All-Pro in 13 of 15 seasons in the NFL

• Named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1987, 1991, 1995, and 1998

• Retired as the NFL’s all-time career sack leader (198 sacks)

• NFL Hall of Fame Class of 2006

Cotton Letner  6’3” | 235 lbs.
High High School: Meigs County (’57)
College: Tennessee

• Received All-State honors at Meigs County High School

• Lettered at Tennessee as both a defensive end and as a placekicker 1958-1960

•Was a Second Team All-SEC selection while at Tennessee

• Played professionally for one year with the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League

Terdell Sands  6’8” | 340 lbs.
High School: Howard (’97)
College: UTC

• Earned All-State honors as a senior defensive lineman at Howard

•Drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2001

• Professional career included nine seasons in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, and the New England Patriots

David Roller  6’2” | 270 lbs.
High School: Rhea County (’67)
College: Kentucky

• Made the 1966 All-State Team as an offensive guard in senior year at Rhea County

• As a defensive lineman, earned Second Team All-SEC honors 1968, First Team All-SEC honors in 1969 and 1970 at Kentucky

• Was a Second-Team All-American selection in 1970 at Kentucky

• Professional career consisted of one year WFL, two years CFL, and seven years NFL

Daniel Bullocks  6’0” | 210 lbs.
High School: Hixson (’01)
College: Nebraska

• Awarded Tennessee I-4A Mr. Football Back of the Year in 2000 at Hixson

• Recognitions while at Nebraska included Honorable Mention All-Big 12 in 2003 and 2004, Second-Team All-Big 12 in 2005

• Drafted in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions; played there professionally 2006-2009

Josh Bullocks  6’0” | 207 lbs.
High School: Hixson (’01)
College: Nebraska

• Holds Nebraska’s single-season interception record (10 INT, 2003) and ranks second all-time on the school’s career interception list (13)

• Earned First Team All-Big 12 honors and First Team All-American honors in 2003, Second Team All-Big 12 in 2004

• Drafted 40th overall by the New Orleans Saints of the NFL in 2005

• Played professionally in the NFL for five seasons (four with the Saints, and one with the Chicago Bears)

Donnie Elder 5’9” | 175 lbs.
High School: Brainerd (’81)
College: Memphis

• Selected to 1980 AAA Tennessee All-State team as a defensive back at Brainerd

• Named to All-Metro Conference team in 1984 while at Memphis

• Led the 1984 Memphis team in interceptions

• Played in the NFL (third-round draft pick) for seven seasons

Damon Duval  6’0” | 197 lbs.
High School: Central (‘99)
College: Auburn

• Inducted into Chattanooga Central’s Athletic HOF in 2013

• At Auburn, earned All-America honors in 2001 as a kicker and was also named to the All-SEC team as both a kicker and a punter. He was the first player to be named to the same team at two different positions.

• Played professionally for one season in the NFL and seven in the CFL

Eddie Brown  5’11” | 187 lbs.
High School: Marion County (’70)
College: Tennessee

• Earned All-America status in 1973 as a standout defensive back and punt returner at Tennessee

• Ranks fourth all-time on Tennessee’s single-season punt return yardage list (429 yards)

• Played professionally for the Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Blitz (USFL), and Arizona Wranglers (USFL)

• Two-time All-Pro selection during professional career

Offense

Bobby Scott  6’2” | 201 lbs.
High School: Rossville (‘67)
College: Tennessee

• Earned All-City Rossville and All-State Georgia honors in 1966

• Received the Sugar Bowl’s Miller-Digby Award (MVP) in 1971 in a 34-13 victory over #11 Air Force

• Currently ranks 10th all-time at Tennessee in career passing yards with 3,371

• 14-year professional career, 12 in the NFL and 2 in the USFL

Wallace Clark  6’0” | 190 lbs.
High School: Trion (’67)
College: Auburn

• All-State selection in 1965 and 1966 at Trion

• Named the 1966 Georgia Class B Back of the Year

• Set the Class B state 100-yard dash record in 1967

• Played professionally on a short stint with the Atlanta Falcons

Loran Carter  6’2” |185 lbs.
High School: Dalton (’64)
College: Auburn

• Two-time AA First Team Georgia All-State in ‘62 and ‘63

• Recorded 3,129 passing yards and 25 passing touchdowns in his career at Auburn

• Threw second-longest touchdown pass in Auburn bowl history in 34-10 victory over Arizona Wildcats in ‘68 Sun Bowl

Doug Flury  5’8” | 175 lbs.
High School: Rossville (’63)
College: Brigham Young

• Two-time All-State and Honorable Mention All-American, and All-City while at Rossville

• Key piece of the 1962 AA Georgia State Championship Rossville Bulldog team

• Helped legendary Rossville coach Frank Fabris to an undefeated season in 1962

Paul Carreathers  6’0” | 205 lbs.
High School: LaFayette (’70)
College: Tennessee

• AA All-State selection in 1969 at LaFayette as a halfback

• Lettered 1972-1974 at the University of Tennessee

• Rushed for 700+ yards and four touchdowns at Tennessee

Ricky Lake  6’1” | 223 lbs.
High School: Dalton (’69)
College: Georgia

• Honorable Mention All-State 1966, First Team All-State selection 1967 and 1968 at Dalton

• Named Georgia Class AAA Back of the Year in 1968

• Freshman of the Year SEC in 1969 at Georgia

• Sophomore of the Year SEC in 1970 at Georgia

Bill Mayo  6’5” | 280 lbs.
High School: Dalton (’81)
College: Tennessee

• Georgia Class AAA All-State Selection as a senior at Dalton

• 1984 All-SEC and All-America honors as a senior at Tennesee

• A four-year starter at Tennessee who finished his collegiate career with more starts than any other Tennessee player (46 of 47 games)

Mike Bowman  6’4” | 225 lbs.
High School: Ridgeland (’09)
College: Alabama

• Earned All-State and SuperPrep magazine All-American honors in 2008 as a senior at Ridgeland

• Caught 37 passes for 1,075 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior at Ridgeland

• Recruited by Alabama in 2009 as a nationally ranked top-15 wide receiver

Bill McManus  5’9” | 205 lbs.
High School: Dalton (’68)
College: Auburn

• Honorable Mention All-State in 1965 sophomore year of high school; First Team All-State honors in 1966 and 1967 as a junior and senior, respectively at Dalton

• Paved the way for Dalton’s 1967 state championship team’s rushing attack that featured Ricky Lake (RB)

• Named Georgia Class AA Lineman of the Year in 1967

• Letterman at Auburn

Bill Weaver  6’4” | 219 lbs.
High School: Chattanooga Valley (’88)
College: Georgia Tech

• 1987 Class A All-State selection in his senior year at Chattanooga Valley as do-it-all athlete

• Recruited to Georgia Tech by Bobby Ross as a defensive back, wide receiver, and punter

• Started in his junior and senior year at Georgia Tech as a punter and holder

Pete Brown  6’2” | 215 lbs.
High School: Rossville (’50)
College: Georgia Tech

• Awarded All-America status at Rossville

• Earned All-America honors while playing center for Georgia Tech

• Critical leader at center for Georgia Tech’s undefeated 1951 and 1952 campaigns

• Played professionally for the San Francisco 49ers (1953-1954)

Ricky Townsend  6’2” | 205 lbs.
High School: Dalton (‘71)
College: Tennessee

• First Team All-State as a senior quarterback at Dalton in 1970

• All-American honors as a placekicker at Tennessee in 1972 and 1973

• Briefly played for the New York Giants after being selected in the 1975 NFL Draft

Stacy Searels  6’5” | 267 lbs.
High School: Trion (’84)
College: Auburn

• Earned First Team All-State honors at Trion

• Three-year starter at Auburn, earning First Team All-America honors as a senior in 1987

• First Team All-SEC selection as both a junior and senior at Auburn

• Drafted in the fourth round of the 1988 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers; played professionally for three seasons

Sean Young  6’7” | 310 lbs.
High School: Northwest Whitfield (‘00)
College: Tennessee

• Awarded First Team All-State honors in 1999 as a senior at NW Whitfield

• Team leader on the 1999 NW Whitfield Regional Championship team

• Four-year letterman at Tennessee (2000-2003)

Defense

Steve Poole  6’1” | 232 lbs.
High School: Lakeview (‘72)
College: Tennessee

• 1971 Honorable Mention All-American as a senior defensive end at Lakeview

• Led the 1974 Vols in tackles with 182 total tackles

• Ranks ninth all-time at Tennessee in career total hits (349)

• Played professionally for the New York Jets in 1976

Kit Carpenter  6’0” | 205 lbs.
High School: Dalton (‘92)
College: North Carolina State

• Honorable Mention All-State selection 1991, First Team All-State selection 1992 at Dalton

• Named Georgia Class AAA Defensive Player of the Year in 1992

• Played collegiately at NC State

Billy Hull 6’2” | 210 lbs.
Rossville (‘63)
College: Tennessee Tech

• Awarded First Team All-America honors in 1962 at Rossville

• Key member of the 1962 Rossville state championship team

• Lettered at Tennessee Tech in 1964 and 1965

Nigel Nicholas  6’3” | 269 lbs.
High School: Ridgeland (‘08)
College: Oklahoma State

• First Team All-State honoree as a senior at Ridgeland

• 2011 Honorable Mention All-Big 12, All-Big 12 selection 2012 at Oklahoma St.

• Signed with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2013

Bill Mitchell  6’1” | 219 lbs.
High School: Dalton (‘82)
College: Georgia

• Named 1982 Georgia Class AAA Lineman of the Year

• 1982 First Team All-America selection at Dalton

• Ranks ninth all-time at Georgia in total tackles in a single season (145)

Shannon Suttle 6’4” | 285 lbs.
High School: LaFayette (‘93)
College: Auburn

• Honorable Mention All-State selection in 1992 while at LaFayette

• Two-time selection to the All-Northwest Georgia football team in high school

• Started 38 games in four seasons at Auburn

• Member of Auburn’s 1993 National Championship team as a redshirt freshman

Mason Harris  6’3” | 225 lbs.
High School: Ridgeland (‘11)
College: South Carolina

• Earned All-State honors at Ridgeland with a senior campaign that included 119 tackles and 15 sacks

• Recruited by the Gamecocks as one of the top 60 players in the state of Georgia in 2011

• Entering fourth season at South Carolina as a redshirt Junior

Pete Ballis  6’1” | 237 lbs.
High School: Gordon Lee (‘91)
College: LSU

• Played both offensive and defensive line in high school

• First Team All-State honoree as a senior offensive lineman at Gordon Lee

• Lettered at LSU as a defensive tackle in 1993 and 1994

Sherold Walker 6’2” | 210 lbs.
High School: Rossville (‘63)
College: Tennessee Tech

• Earned First Team All-State honors in 1962 at Rossville

• Named the Georgia Class AA Lineman of the Year in 1962

• Won the Robert Hill Johnson award at Tennessee Tech in 1966 (presented annually to the player who makes the largest contribution to the team during the season)

Vonn Bell  6’0” | 190 lbs.
High School: Ridgeland (‘13)
College: Ohio State

• All-State honors in 2011 and 2012; 2012 Georgia Class AAAA Defensive Player of the Year

• As a senior, had 146 tackles and three interceptions on defense. On offense that same year, scored 21 touchdowns

• Recruited by Ohio State as one of the Top 30 overall players in the nation

• Recorded tackles in eight games in freshman season at Ohio State and made first collegiate interception at the 2013 Orange Bowl

Toppy Vann 5’11” | 185 lbs.
High School: Rossville (‘53)
College: Georgia Tech

• All-City and All-State in both football and basketball while at Rossville

• Earned second Team All-SEC honors while playing football at Georgia Tech

• Played professionally in the Canadian Football League (CFL)

Jimmy Weatherford  5’11” | 186 lbs.
High School: Dalton (‘65)
College: Tennessee

• 1964 All-American honoree as a senior at Dalton

• 1968 All-American and All-SEC selection as a senior at Tennessee

• Drafted in the 15th round of the 1969 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons

Jim Arnold  6’2” | 211 lbs.
High School: Dalton (‘79)
College: Vanderbilt

• Three state-championship appearances while at Dalton

• All-American 1982, All-SEC 1979-1982 at Vanderbilt

• Played for 12 seasons in the NFL (Kanas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions, and Miami Dolphins); two-time Pro-Bowler

• Holds the NFL record for highest net punting average in a season (39.6 yds, 1987)

Jeff Suttle  6’1” | 185 lbs.
High School: LaFayette (‘80)
College: Clemson

• Honorable Mention All-American selection as a junior at LaFayette

• First Team All-American selection as a senior at LaFayette

• Played in 10 games as a sophomore on Clemson’s 1981 National Championship team

• Played professionally for one season with the Atlanta Falcons