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Discover the Golden Eagles who have made the biggest impact in Pro Football. The legends include NFL MVPs, Super Bowl Champions, NFL Rookies of the Year and Hall of Famers
Guy entered the NFL as the first pure punter to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The Raiders selected him with the 23rd overall selection in 1973. While with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders through 1986, Guy received numerous accolades to include:
- Seven-time Pro Bowl selection
- Six-time First-Team All-Pro choice
- Three-time Super Bowl champion
- A member of the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team
- A member of the NFL’s 1970s All-Decade Team
- 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles have produced some incredible football talents over the years, but few have been as legendary as Brett Favre. As a second-round draft choice in the 1992 NFL Draft, Favre would go on to become one of the most iconic quarterbacks in NFL history. From his gracious personality to his impressive talents on the field, it's no wonder that he's still remembered and revered by fans and football players alike. Here, we're going to dive into the incredible career of Brett Favre and discover why he remains such an important figure in Southern Miss and NFL history.
The Beginning of a Legend
Favre's journey to NFL stardom began at Southern Miss, where he played quarterback for the Golden Eagles from 1987 to 1990. During his time there, he proved himself as an incredibly talented player, leading his team to countless victories and earning himself several accolades. In 1991, he was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, marking the start of his historic NFL career.
An Icon in the NFL
Favre's achievements in the NFL are truly remarkable. Over the course of his career, he earned three AP NFL MVP awards in 1995, 1996, and 1997, making him one of the most decorated players in the league's history. He also guided the Green Bay Packers to two NFC Conference championships and a Super Bowl XXXI title over the New England Patriots, cementing his status as a football legend.
Iron Man on the Field
One of the things that made Favre such a powerful player was his incredible durability. He played in 297 consecutive games, a record that still stands today. This streak is a testament to his skill, perseverance, and love of the game. Despite numerous injuries, Favre was always able to push through and make incredible plays on the field, further solidifying his status as an all-time great.
Favre's Career Highlights
- Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016
- 11-time NFL Pro Bowl selection
- 3-time 1st Team All-Pro
- 3-time AP NFL MVP
- Super Bowl XXXI champion
- NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
- When he retired - Held records that included most TD passes (508), passing yards (71,838), games started (297) and many more.
While Ray Guy may be the more well-known punter from the University of Southern Mississippi, Jerrell Wilson certainly made a name for himself in the NFL. Wilson, also known as "Thunderfoot", spent an impressive 15 seasons as the punter for the Kansas City Chiefs before finishing out his career with the New England Patriots. But Wilson wasn't just a one-trick pony. He also dabbled in running back duties early in his career, amassing 53 rushing yards on 22 carries. Wilson's versatility and longevity in the league make him a true standout player and a worthy subject of football lore. Career Highlights include:
- Retired owning NFL record for most seasons leading league (4) in punting average
- AFL-All-Time 2nd Team
- Chiefs Hall of Fame 1988
- Three-time Pro Bowl selection
Sammy Winder, a true superstar in college, continued to excel on the professional level after being drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 1982 NFL Draft. The two-time Pro Bowl selection was an essential part of the Broncos' success, helping them to make three Super Bowl appearances. His impressive stats, including 5,472 career rushing yards and 39 TDs, prove that he was a force to be reckoned with on the field. Even today, Winder's gravity-defying plays, like his gravity-defying touchdown against Ole Miss, continue to inspire coaches and fans alike. It's no wonder that Sammy Winder is considered a legend both on and off the field.
Drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1981, Hanford Dixon quickly made a name for himself as a formidable cornerback in the NFL. With three Pro Bowl selections under his belt and 26 interceptions to his name, it's no wonder that he and his teammate, Frank Minnifield, were voted as the second-best cornerback tandem of all time by NFL.com. But Dixon's contributions don't stop there. In a stroke of inspiration, he coined the term "Dawg Pound" to describe the enthusiastic and sometimes rowdy cheering section of Cleveland Browns fans. This nickname still holds strong today, a testament to the lasting impact that Dixon had on both the team and the sport as a whole. It's no surprise that he has earned a place among the legends of USM's football program.
Patrick Surtain may have been born in the heart of New Orleans, but his talent propelled him far beyond his hometown. In 1998, he was drafted by Miami and quickly became a star in the NFL, earning himself three Pro-Bowl seasons and two All-Pro seasons. His impressive skill set couldn't be ignored, and in 2002 he was even named the NFL Alumni Defensive Back of the Year. Surtain left his mark on the league, finishing his career with 35 interceptions. It's clear that Surtain's passion for the game and dedication to his craft earned him a place in the Golden Eagle hall of fame.
Although he enjoyed a heralded collegiate career in which he was the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year his last two seasons, Thomas wasn’t drafted until the 6th round of the 2000 NFL Draft when the Baltimore Ravens selected him with the 186th overall pick. Thomas paid huge dividends once he emerged as a starter and helped lead the Ravens defensive Super Bowl XXXV championship charge. The former Southern Miss star played with Baltimore through the 2006 season and then played the final three years of his career in New England. In an article published March 7, 2012, The Bleacher Report website listed Adalius Thomas as the Baltimore Ravens best draft steal in the history of their franchise.