Aug. 9, 2011
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Lucius Sanford, a defensive leader under head coach Pepper Rodgers in the mid-1970s, was one of 12 former Atlantic Coast Conference greats named to the 2011 Legends Class, which will be recognized the weekend of the ACC Championship Game.
Sanford, who currently serves as executive director of Georgia Tech’s Letterwinner’s Club, was a fierce competitor, hard hitter and a four-year starter for the Yellow Jackets. The consumate linebacker, Sanford led the Yellow Jackets in tackles in three of his four seasons, making 433 total tackles, which at the time was a school record (he now ranks fourth all-time).
The other 11 players named to the class include two members of the Professional Football Hall of Fame — North Carolina linebacker Chris Hanburger and former Miami center Jim Otto, plus two-time ACC Player of the Year, Duke quarterback Ben Bennett. Also in the class are Boston College’s Stephen Boyd, Clemson’s Perry Tuttle, Maryland’s Rich Novak, Virginia Tech’s Mike Johnson, Wake Forest’s Larry Russell, NC State kicker Marc Primanti, Florida State’s Andre Wadsworth and Virginia’s Chris Slade.
The Legends will be honored at this year’s Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game weekend. They will be honored at the ACC Night of Legends event on Friday, Dec. 2, and during ceremonies at Bank of America Stadium for the 7th Annual Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship, which has an 8 p.m. kickoff on Dec. 3 and will be nationally televised by ESPN in both HD and 3-D.
Sanford was a three-time All-Southeastern Independent team selection at linebacker (1975-77) and was named a first team All-America in 1977 by both the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and The Sporting News. Selected in the fourth round of the 1978 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, he played nine seasons with the Bills and his final campaign for the 1987 Cleveland Browns. In all, he played in 129 games in the NFL and recorded over 100 tackles in each of his first four pro seasons. A former Dean’s List student at Georgia Tech, Sanford is originally from Milledgeville, Ga.
The group of 12 former gridiron standouts from current ACC schools includes two former ACC players of the Year, three consensus first-team All-Americas, five first-team All-Americas, and eight players who combined for 74 years in the National or American Football League and a total of 94 years of professional football experience in either the NFL, AFL, Canadian Football League, World League of American Football or the Arena Football League. Nine of the Legends were drafted into the NFL or AFL, including four first-round draft choices.
In all, the collection of players combined for a national championship, a Canadian Football League Grey Cup, nine ACC team titles and three NFL Super Bowl appearances.
Otto (1957-59) started three seasons at center and linebacker for the Miami Hurricanes under legendary coach Andy Gustafson. Drafted in the first round by the fledgling American Football League, he signed with the Oakland Raiders in 1960 and began an unprecedented 15-year professional career as the prototypic pivotman. Voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1980, Otto was a 10-time AFL All-Star, a 10-time All-AFL team member and a three-time NFL All-Pro performer. He helped lead Oakland to the 1967 AFL Championship and a berth in Super Bowl II. He started 210 consecutive games at center for the Raiders, 308 games in all, and was named to the AFL’s all-time team. He is one of only 20 men to play in the American Football League for all 10 years of its existence. Otto wore the famous 00 number throughout his career. A native of Wausau, Wis., he now lives in Auburn, Calif.
Hanburger (1962-64), was a standout linebacker and center for the North Carolina teams of coach Jim Hickey in the early-to-mid 1960s. Named a first-team All-ACC selection as a center in both 1963 and 1964, he helped lead the 1963 Tar Heel team to a 9-2 record, a share of the ACC championship and a 35-0 win over Air Force in the Gator Bowl. Drafted on the 18th round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, Hanburger went on to play 14 seasons in Washington, where he earned nine Pro Bowl selections and was regarded as one of the best outside linebackers of his era. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last Saturday at Canton, Ohio, he played in 187 NFL games and was voted to the All-NFL team four times. A mainstay of the dominant Washington Redskin teams of the 1970s, he made 19 career interceptions, returning them for 347 yards and two touchdowns. He led Washington to the 1972 NFC Championship and Super Bowl VII. That year, he was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Year. Originally a native of Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C., he now lives in Darlington, S.C.
Bennett (1980-83), a pinpoint passer who was named ACC Player of the Year by the Associated Press in 1982 and 1983 and was named ACC Player of the Year by ACSMA in 1983, played three seasons for coach Red Wilson and one for coach Steve Sloan at Duke. He completed his collegiate career as the NCAA Division I record-holder for passing yards (9,614), pass attempts (1,375) and pass completions (820). The 1980 ACC Rookie of the Year, he benefitted from having Steve Spurrier as his offensive coordinator and set three NCAA freshman records in 1980 against Wake Forest completing 38 of 62 passes for 469 yards. In his career he set seven NCAA, 15 ACC and 42 school records. Even 28 years later, he still ranks 6th on the ACC career passing yardage list, 3rd in passes attempted and 4th in passes completed. Drafted in the 6th round of the NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons, Bennett played only briefly for two seasons in the NFL, as well as briefly in United States Football League and the World League of American Football. He played all or parts of 10 seasons in the Arena Football League and threw for over 14,000 yards, while making five appearances in the ArenaBowl. He was inducted into the Arena Bowl Hall of Fame in 2000 and will be inducted into the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 9. A native of Sunnyvale, Calif., Bennett now resides in Orlando, Fla.
Boyd (1991-94) was twice named All-Big East and All-ECAC at linebacker for the Eagles in 1993 and 1994. He played his first three seasons under Tom Coughlan, and his final campaign with Coach Dan Henning. Boyd helped the Eagles compile a four-year record of 28-17-2 (.617) and play in three straight bowl games: the 1993 Hall of Fame Bowl; the 1994 Carquest Bowl and the 1994 Jeep-Eagle Aloha Bowl. Drafted in the 5th round by the Detroit Lions in the 1995 NFL Draft, he played seven seasons in the National Football League, all of them with the Lions. He started a total of 66 games during the 1995-2001 seasons. A two-time Pro Bowl selection for the Lions, he made 536 tackles from 1997-99. He was named an Associated Press 2nd-team All-Pro in 2000 and an All-NFC player for both 1999 and 2000 by the Football News. He currently is the head football coach at Chaminade High School in Minneola, N.Y. A native of Valley Stream, N.Y., he currently resides in Long Beach, N.Y.
Tuttle (1978-81) was one of the main offensive threats on Clemson teams which posted a sparkling 37-10 (.787) four-year record. He played one season under Charley Pell and three years for the Tigers’ legendary head coach, Danny Ford. Tuttle was an integral part of the 1981 Clemson team which posted a perfect, 12-0 record and captured the ACC’s second national football championship. He caught the game-winning touchdown pass in a 22-15 win over 4th-ranked Nebraska in the 1982 Orange Bowl Game, clinching the Tigers’ first national gridiron title. A two-time first-team All-ACC wide receiver (1980-81), Tuttle had 150 career receptions for 2,534 yards and 17 touchdowns. He still ranks 5th on Clemson’s career receiving lists in pass receptions and 3rd in reception yards and TD catches. A first round pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 1982 NFL Draft, he played four seasons in the NFL and six years (1986-91) in the Canadian Football League with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. During his time in the CFL, he had 321 career receptions for 5,817 yards and 41 TDs and helped lead Winnipeg to the 1990 CFL Grey Cup Championship. A native of Lexington, N.C., he currently lives in Charlotte, N.C.
Novak (1959-61), one of the highest-regarded prep quarterbacks in the nation prior to entering Maryland, played under the innovative eye of Maryland head coach Tom Nugent, who is generally considered as the creator of the I-formation offense. A threat to run or pass, Novak completed 109 of 217 passes during his Terrapin career for 1,262 yards and 10 TDs. He also had 550 career rushing yards and led the Terrapins in 1959 in total offense. Novak, who shared playing time in Nugent’s system with Dale Betty and Dick Shiner at quarterback, still earned honorable mention All-ACC honors by United Press International in 1960. He helped lead the Terrapins to an 18-12 (.600), three-year record. Known as Rich Novak now, he had good success against West Virginia, three times leading the Terrapins to wins over the Mountaineers. After his collegiate days, he eschewed professional football to begin a very successful business career. Formerly of Uniontown, Pa., Novak now resides in Greenwich, Conn.
Johnson (1980-83) was Virginia Tech’s second most prominent defensive player of the 1980s behind only Outland Trophy winner Bruce Smith. He helped lead Tech to a four-year, 31-14 (.689) record which included a 9-2 mark in 1983, his senior season. He totaled 429 tackles for his career, leading the Hokies in tackling in 1982 and 1983 with 148 and 135 hits, respectively. An excellent student as well, Johnson, who majored in the demanding field of architecture, earned 2nd-team Academic All-America honors in 1982. Out of college he signed with the Philadelphia and later Baltimore Stars of the USFL, playing two seasons (1984-85) in the USFL. He helped the Stars win the USFL Championship in 1984. Drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft (18th pick), he went on to a 10-year career in the National Football League, the first eight with the Browns, the final two with the Detroit Lions. He started 125 games and was twice named to the NFL Pro Bowl (1989, 1990). In 1989 he was named first-team All-AFC by both UPI and Pro Football Weekly. He had 13 career interceptions, returning two for touchdowns and added one fumble recovery for a score. He recorded a total of 1,146 career tackles, 26 forced fumbles and 13 fumble recoveries. Born in Southport, N.C., he was a native of Landover, Md., and currently resides in Forestville, Md.
Russell (1969-71), who was named All-ACC twice in 1970 and 1971, was the master of the triple-option Veer offense featured by Coach Cal Stoll’s Wake Forest teams. Russell led the Deacons to the 1970 ACC Football title, the school’s first, and then guided a Wake offense that set the ACC’s single-season rushing record for rushing yards per game (304.5) in 1971. The Deacons became the first ACC team to average over 300 yards rushing a game for a season; that record lasted 39 years until Georgia Tech broke it in 2010. Russell’s total of 803 career rushing yards was an ACC record for quarterbacks at the time, at the time. He also set ACC single-season and career marks for rushing yards and touchdowns by a quarterback. In his senior season, he led the ACC in scoring and finished 9th nationally with 94 points (8.5 per game). A native of Newburyport, Mass., Russell lives now in Portsmouth, N.H.
Primanti (1995-96), who missed only four kicks of any kind in his two-year Wolfpack career, is one of the most accurate placekickers in ACC history. For his career, he made 51 of 52 PATs and 31 of 34 field goal attempts. In his senior season, he did not miss a kick at all, making all 24 PATs and 20 field goal attempts, and was named winner of the prestigious Lou Groza Golden Toe Award, presented annually to the nation’s best placekicker. He set an ACC record over the 1995 and 1996 seasons, making 27 consecutive field goal attempts. A consensus first-team All-America in 1996, he was named a first-team All-America by the Associated Press, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), The Sporting News and Football News. He was also named first-team All-ACC in 1996. He still holds ACC records for best field goal percentage for a season (1.000) and career (.912). Originally from Coatesville, Pa., he now resides in Raleigh, N.C.
Wadsworth (1994-97), who earned a scholarship at Florida State as a non-recruited 215-pound walk-on, developed into one of the most feared pass rushers in the ACC. A member of four ACC championship teams in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997, he helped FSU, coached by the legendary Bobby Bowden, to a four-year, 42-5-1 (.885) record including an 11-1 mark and a No. 3 final national ranking in his senior season. That year, he was named ACC Player of the Year after leading the league with 16 quarterback sacks and earning consensus first-team All-America honors. At no time in his collegiate career did Florida State fail to earn a national ranking of lower than 4th in the final AP poll. Wadsworth was named 2nd-team All-ACC in 1995 and 1996, earning first-team honors in 1997. He finished his career with 23 sacks. In the 1998 NFL Draft he was the third player chosen in the first round by the Arizona Cardinals, the highest-ever for a Seminole player. Hampered by nagging injuries and multiple knee surgeries, his pro career lasted but three seasons. Originally a native of St. Croix, the Virgin Islands who grew up in Miami, Fla., he currently resides in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Slade (1989-92) is the ACC’s record-holder for quarterback sacks in a career, having recorded 40.0 during his four-year career with the Cavaliers. One of the defensive leaders for the Cavalier squads of the late 1980s and early 1990s coached by George Welsh, he became the first player in UVa history to earn back-to-back first-team All-America honors. He was named a first-team All-America in 1991 by College and Pro Football Weekly and earned consensus All-America honors in 1992, honored as a first-team All-America by AP, UPI, Football Writers of America (FWAA), the Walter Camp Foundation, The Sporting News and Football News. He was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Football News in 1992 and he led the ACC in sacks that year with 14. During his four years as a starter he helped lead Virginia to a 33-14-1 (.698) record and three consecutive bowl trips. Selected in the 2nd round of the 1993 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, he played nine seasons in the NFL, the first eight with the Patriots. He was named to the NFL’s Pro Bowl in 1997 and made 98 starts in his career with 53.5 career sacks. He finished his pro career with over 600 tackles and was a member of the New England team which played in Super Bowl XXXI. A native of Newport News, Va., he now resides in Atlanta, Ga., and serves as the football sideline reporter for the UVa radio network.
2011 ACC Football Legends Roster
Name School Years Position Hometown (Current Residence)
Stephen Boyd Boston College 1991-94 Linebacker Valley Stream, N.Y. (Long Beach, N.Y.)
Perry Tuttle Clemson 1978-81 Wide Receiver Lexington, N.C. (Charlotte, N.C.)
Ben Bennett Duke 1980-83 Quarterback Sunnyvale, Calif. (Orlando, Fla.)
Andre Wadsworth Florida State 1994-97 Defensive End St. Croix, V.I. (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Lucius Sanford Georgia Tech 1974-77 Linebacker Milledgeville, Ga. (Atlanta, Ga.)
Rich (Dick) Novak Maryland 1959-61 Quarterback Uniontown, Pa. (Greenwich, Conn.)
Jim Otto Miami 1957-59 Center Wausau, Wis. (Auburn, Calif.)
Chris Hanburger North Carolina 1962-64 Linebacker Fayetteville, N. C. (Darlington, S.C.)
Marc Primanti NC State 1995-96 Placekicker Coatesville, Pa. (Raleigh, N.C.)
Chris Slade Virginia 1989-92 Defensive End Newport News, Va. (Atlanta, Ga.)
Mike Johnson Virginia Tech 1980-83 Linebacker Landover, Md.. (Forestville, Md..)
Larry Russell Wake Forest 1969-71 Quarterback Newburyport, Mass. (Portsmouth, N.H)