With Brett Favre enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, now is a good time to take a look back on the legacy that Southern Miss has established in the National Football League.
USM has a rich history in football and has had plenty of former players go on to strong careers in the NFL. USM is one of 71 colleges in the U.S. who have produced multiple members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame with Favre and punting legend Ray Guy serving as the school’s representatives. Guy finally got the call in 2014.
Have a look at the Southern Miss All-NFL Team, which I’ve pieced together through a fair amount of research. Some names will be familiar to USM fans. Others will be less heralded:
QB — Brett Favre (1991-2010): NFL Hall of Famer who played for the Falcons, Packers, Jets and Vikings. The Hancock County native was the first NFL quarterback to pass for 500 touchdowns and over 70,000 yards.
RB — Sammy Winder (1982-90): The Madison native played his entire career with the Broncos, earning Pro Bowl bids in 1984 and 1986. He had 5,427 career rushing yards.
FB — Bo Dickinson (1960-64): Fullback who played for the Raiders, Oilers, Broncos and Dallas Texans. The Hattiesburg native’s best year came in 1962 for the Broncos when he rushed for 247 yards and caught 60 passes for 554 yards and four scores.
WR — Louis Lipps (1984-92): The New Orleans native was a key part of the Steelers’ passing game for eight seasons. His best year came in 1985 when he caught 59 passes for 1,134 yards. He was the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1984 and made the Pro Bowl in 1984 and 1985. He caught 359 career passes for 6,019 yards and 39 touchdowns.
WR — Michael Jackson (1991-98): The 6-foot-4 Louisiana native played five years with the Browns before playing his final three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. His best season came in 1996 with the Ravens when he caught 76 passes for 1,201 yards and 14 touchdowns, tying for the NFL lead in touchdown receptions. He had 353 career receptions for 5,393 yards and 46 scores.
TE — John Sawyer (1975-84): A native of Baker, La., Sawyer played for the Oilers, Seahawks, Redskins and Broncos. His best season came in 1980 with the Seahawks when he caught 36 passes for 410 yards. He had 129 career receptions for 1,496 yards.
OL — Demar Dotson (2009-): A former USM basketball player, Dotson has been a key piece of the Buccaneers’ offensive line since signing with the team as an undrafted free agent out of USM. The offensive tackle recently signed a three-year extension worth about $18 million.
OL — Chris Clark (2010-): The versatile lineman has started a total of 29 games over the last four years. He played his first five seasons with the Broncos before joining the Houston Texans in 2015. Clark, who is still with the Texans, started Super Bowl XLVIII at left tackle for the Broncos.
OL — Jeremy Bridges (2003-12): The guard played for the Eagles, Cardinals and Panthers. He played in 112 career games and had 55 starts.
OL — Daryl Terrell (1999-2004): Playing both tackle and guard, Terrell was a versatile contributor to the Saints’ offensive line from 1999-2001. He played in 44 games with the Saints, starting 11. He also played for the Redskins and Jaguars.
OL — Don Owens (1957-1963): Played both offensive tackle and defensive tackle for the Redskins, Eagles, and St. Louis Cardinals. He played in 87 career games.
DB — Hanford Dixon (1981-89): Was a standout cornerback for the Browns during the 1980s. He made the Pro Bowl three times and is ranked 17th among the 100 best all-time Browns by The Cleveland Plain Dealer. He made 26 interceptions in his career.
DB — Patrick Surtain (1998-2008): Played cornerback for the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs during a stellar NFL career. The New Orleans native made three Pro Bowls and was First-Team All-Pro in 2002. He had 37 career interceptions.
DB — Norris Thomas (1977-84): Played cornerback for the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The former Pascagoula High School standout started 67 of the 112 games he played in and recorded nine interceptions.
DB — Tommy Morrow (1962-64): Injuries cut short what could have been a Hall of Fame career for Morrow. He recorded a whopping 23 interceptions in three seasons with the Oakland Raiders. He was named First-Team All-Pro in 1963. The Alabama native still holds the NFL record for most consecutive games with an interception – eight. He also served as the punter for the Raiders in 1962, averaging 36.8 yards a kick.
LB — Jamie Collins (2013-): Collins was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2015 and was also named second-team All-Pro. The Franklin County native has 280 tackles in 48 games with the Patriots.
LB — Jeff Posey (1998-06): The Bassfield native became a key piece of the Bills’ defense from 2003-05. During that time, he started 46 games. He had a career high of eight sacks in 2002 with the Houston Texans. He registered 222 career tackles, playing for the 49ers, Jaguars, Panthers, Texans, Bills and Redskins.
LB — Michael Boley (2005-13): The very athletic Boley was a starting linebacker for the Falcons and Giants. He tallied 540 career tackles and had eight career interceptions.
DL — Bobby Hamilton (1996-2007): The former East Marion star was a versatile defensive lineman who played both defensive tackle and defensive end. He won a Super Bowl title with the Patriots after the 2001 season, which was his best year as a pro with 31 tackles and seven sacks. He played in 165 NFL games, starting 104. He played for the Jets, Patriots, Raiders and Browns.
DL — Don Hultz (1963-74): Hultz, who was born in Moss Point, holds the NFL record for most recovered fumbles, nine, as a rookie in 1963 with the Minnesota Vikings. Hultz played both defensive end and defensive tackle during a 10-year stint with the Eagles. He played his final season with the Bears and appeared in 141 career NFL games.
DL — Fred Cook (1974-80): The Pascagoula native played in 104 career games, all starts, as a defensive end with the Baltimore Colts. Before the NFL started officially recording sacks, Cook was a member of the “Sack Pack” in Baltimore.
DL/LB — Adalius Thomas (2000-08): The Alabama native was twice named to the Pro Bowl during his time with the Ravens. His career began as a defensive end, but later moved to outside linebacker. He recorded 53 career sacks, 405 tackles and seven interceptions. He played in 135 career games, starting 109. He played his final three seasons with the Patriots.
PK — Joe Vetrano (1946-50): Nicknamed “The Little Toe” as a rookie, the New Jersey native was the first kicker in San Francisco 49ers history. The 49ers were a member of the All-American Football Conference at the time and he set the AAFC record with 108 consecutive extra points.
P — Ray Guy (1973-1986): The only punter to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Guy stands out as one of the greatest Oakland Raiders. The Georgia native was selected to the Pro Bowl seven times. He averaged 42.4 yards a punt in his career.
PR/KR — Louis Lipps (1984-92): The New Orleans native led the NFL in punt return yardage in his 1984 rookie season for the Steelers with 656 yards on 53 returns. He also led the NFL in punt returns for touchdowns with two in 1985.