First batch of nominees for Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame announced

The first 32 names on the inaugural ballot were announced Thursday night during the Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame Jamboree at North Gwinnett on Peachtree TV. The host Bulldogs and Northside Warner Robins scrimmaged before Class 7A powerhouses Marietta and Archer took the field for their spring scrimmage and four names from seven different decades and the segregated Georgia Interscholastic Association (1948-69)—made up of all African-American schools—were revealed for the 100-player ballot during the broadcast.

“We are not saying these 32 players are the best among the nominees for the Hall of Fame,’’ said Score Atlanta president I.J. Rosenberg, the executive director of the Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame. “We feel like these 32 announced tonight are a good mixture of what to expect when we finalize the nominee list. Our plan is to have the final nominee list by the second week of June.’’

The newly formed Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame will have its Induction Ceremony on Oct. 22 at the College Football Hall of Fame and Thursday offered an exclusive first-look into the names that will appear on the official ballot.

Marist legend George Maloof was amongst the Pre 1950’s nominees and his son Kevin was on site to represent his late father during the broadcast. The elder Maloof would go on to play college ball at Georgia Tech and helped lead the Jackets to an undefeated season and an SEC title in 1951 which included four touchdowns in a 48-6 win over Georgia. After military service he became the first (and still the winning-est) coach at St. Pius in 1958. He would lead the Golden Lions for 26 years finished with a 65 percent winning average and a state championship in 1968. Coach Maloof passed away in 2009 at the age of 79.

By the end of the process, the Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame expects 100 total names to be on the official ballot and every decade will be represented by at least two inductees in the inaugural class. Larry Morris, Bill Curry, Pat Dye and Stan Gann were announced as the four 1950’s selections—and like Maloof—Curry and Dye went on to coach after tremendous playing careers.

Avondale standout Chip Kell—a member of the 2006 College Football Hall of Fame—was among the four names announced from the 1960’s. The GIA’s first four nominees included Trinity’s Clarence Scott—who went on to play at Kansas State and 13 seasons in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns.

Heisman Trophy winner and Johnson County legend Herschel Walker, Valdosta’s Stan Rome, Duluth’s George Rodgers and West Fulton’s Lucious Samford were the first four names to represent the 1970’s and gridiron legends Garrison Hearst (Lincoln County), Charlie Ward (Central-Thomasville), John Davis (Gilmer) and Pat Swilling (Stephens County) were unveiled as the first four nominees from the 1980’s.

The Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors in still in the process of finalizing the complete ballot and Thursday’s namedrop was done to offer fans a chance to see how many accomplished former Georgia High School standouts will make the ballot. Former Marietta and UGA quarterback Eric Zeir and NFL superstars Takeo Spikes (Washington County), Jeff Saturday (Shamrock) and Hines Ward (Forest Park) represented the 1990’s and the 2000’s concluded the broadcast with Mont

Williams (Commerce), Eric Berry (Creekside), Hutson Mason (Lassiter) and Rennie Curran (Brookwood).

Thursday’s jamboree was the first-ever televised Georgia high school football spring scrimmage and moreover, celebrated everything to come this year with Score Atlanta and Peachtree TV’s unprecedented 35-game lineup and the highly-anticipated inaugural Hall of Fame ceremony.

The board decided that the nine Georgia high school players that are in the NFL Hall of Fame, the most recent being Sandy Creek’s Calvin Johnson, will be included in the inaugural class. Excluding the NFL Hall of Famers, the board will vote in 36 players for the inaugural class.

Here are the first 32 nominees of the 100-player class:

Pre 1950’s

Clint Castleberry, Boys High

Bob McWhorter, Gordon Institute

Vernon “Catfish” Smith, Lanier-Macon

George Maloof, Marist


Larry Morris, Decatur

Bill Curry, College Park

Pat Dye, Richmond Academy

Stan Gann, Northside-Atlanta


Doyle Orange, Waycross

Andy Johnson, Athens

Chip Kell, Avondale

Bill Stanfill, Cairo


Emerson Boozer, Laney

Jack Pitts, Trinity

Clarence Scott, Trinity

Otis Sistrunk, Spencer


Herschel Walker, Johnson County

Stan Rome, Valdosta

George Rogers, Duluth

Lucius Samford, West Fulton


Garrison Hearst, Lincoln County

Charlie Ward, Central-Thomasville

John Davis, Gilmer

Pat Swilling, Stephens County


Eric Zeier, Marietta

Takeo Spikes, Washington County

Jeff Saturday, Shamrock

Hines Ward, Forest Park


Monte Williams, Commerce

Eric Berry, Creekside

Hutson Mason, Lassiter

Rennie Curran, Brookwood

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