Friday, July 1, 2016

John Stallworth, Robert Brazile & Harlon Hill proved it's where you finish, not where you start

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- There's more to football in this state than Auburn and Alabama.

Consequently, there's more to The 100 —'s list of the top football players in state history — than former Tigers and Crimson Tide stars. Three players who earned spots in the top half of the list are proof that it doesn't matter where you start, but where you finish.

Harlon Hill stayed in his hometown of Florence for college football, but was so successful there and in the professional ranks that a national award was named for him. Robert Brazile's route took him from Mobile to Jackson State, sparking a career as one of most feared defenders in the NFL.

John Stallworth left Tuscaloosa for Alabama A&M, and eventually wound up a four-time Super Bowl champion and Pro Football Hall of Famer. Hill is No. 36 on The 100, while Brazile is No. 25 and Stallworth No. 23.

Hill was born May 4, 1932, in Killen, hard up against the Alabama-Tennessee line. After starring at Lauderdale County High School, he enrolled at what was then Florence State Teachers College (now the University of North Alabama) in the early 1950s.

Hill was an NAIA All-American end as a senior in 1953, and scored 19 touchdowns in his career despite catching just 53 passes in a run-oriented offense. An opposing coach tipped off a Chicago Bears scout about Hill, and the Bears drafted him in the 15th round in 1954.


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