Oct. 26, 2016
THE FLATS – Former Georgia Tech stars Keith Brooking (football) and Matt Harpring (men’s basketball) are among eight athletes and coaches that were selected for induction to the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Brooking played linebacker at Georgia Tech from 1994-97 and remains the leading tackler in program history with 467 career stops. The Sharpsburg, Ga. native also owns the sixth- and seventh-highest single-season tackle totals in Tech history with 147 as a junior in 1996 and 146 as a sophomore in 1995. He led the Yellow Jackets in tackles in each of his final three seasons and made 34-consecutive starts to close out his collegiate career.
Brooking was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 12th overall pick in the 1998 National Football League Draft and became a fixture on the Falcons’ defense for 11 seasons. He helped lead the Falcons to the only Super Bowl appearance in franchise history as a rookie in 1998, appeared in five Pro Bowls and was named one of the 20 best players in team history by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He capped his 15-year professional career with the Dallas Cowboys (2009-11) and Denver Broncos (2012) and finished with 1,434 tackles in 225 NFL games.
Harpring, an Atlanta native, was named Georgia’s Mr. Basketball as a high-school senior at Marist School in 1994. At Georgia Tech, he was a four-year starter (1994-98) and a three-time all-conference selection, joining Mark Price as the only Yellow Jackets to earn first-team all-ACC accolades three times. He finished his collegiate career as the second-leading scorer (2,225 points) and rebounder (997) in program history (he still remains Tech’s No. 2 all-time scorer and ranks No. 3 in rebounds). He was a third-team Associated Press All-American and an academic All-American as a senior in 1998.
The Orlando Magic selected Harpring with the 15th overall pick in the 1998 National Basketball Association Draft and he enjoyed an 11-year NBA career with the Magic (1998-2000), Cleveland Cavaliers (2000-01), Philadelphia 76ers (2001-02) and Utah Jazz (2002-09). He averaged 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game as a pro and was a first-team NBA all-rookie honoree in 1999.
Brooking and Harpring will be inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, which is located in Macon, in February. The Hall’s Class of 2017 also includes football standouts Willie Gault, Garrison Hearst and Jeff Saturday, as well as golfer Laura Coble, athletics director/golf coach Liz Murphey and tennis coach Manuel Diaz.