Saturday, May 23, 2009

Countdown to the Countdown: #6 (Rodney Hampton)

Friday, May 29th marks 99 days until Georgia and Oklahoma State kick off their 2009 seasons in Stillwater. Leading up that date, we are counting down the Top 25 UGA football players of the past 25 seasons.

6. Rodney Hampton (1987-1989)
  • Highest single-season average gain per rush in UGA history: 1987 (7.06)
  • 3rd most rushing yards in a 3 year stretch in UGA history: 1987-1989 (2,668)
  • Highest single-game All-Purpose yardage in UGA history: 1987 vs Ole Miss (290 yards: 227 rushing, 28 receiving, 35 kickoff return)
  • 227 rushing yards vs Ole Miss in 1987 (6th best single-game in UGA history)
  • 5th most career All-Purpose yardage in UGA history: 3,582
  • 5th most career rushing yards in UGA history: 2,668
  • All-SEC: 1988 (AP 2nd team); 1989 (AP 2nd team, UPI 1st team)
  • 3 touchdowns in 1989 Gator Bowl (tied for UGA record in bowl games)
  • Member of Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame

Hampton came to Athens as a high schooler in Texas, and as a freshman cemented himself as what would end up being the last great tailback of the Vince Dooley era. Ask UGA football historians, and most would say that Hampton was the 2nd best tailback of the Dooley era, even though his numbers don't necessarily bear it out when compared to Lars Tate or even a Willie McClendon. After almost 1,000 yards in his true freshman season, which included the 227 yard game vs Ole Miss, Hampton went slightly backwards as a sophomore (thanks in large part to a reduction in carries to Tim Worley), before bouncing back as a junior with a 1,000+ yard season. Hampton was a workhorse back, who stands 6th on the all-time rushes list at UGA, despite playing only 3 seasons and having to split carries with other great tailbacks during his first 2 seasons.

His success as a junior led him to declare for the NFL Draft before his eligibility at UGA was completed. He was chosen 24th overall in the first round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. Hampton played his entire career (8 seasons) in New York. He was a Pro-Bowler in 1992 and 1993, got himself a Super Bowl ring, and was the Giants' all-time leading rusher until Tiki Barber broke his record in 2004. Hampton now runs his own company that offers expertise to training facilities and to athletes looking to develop their own training program.

Here's an entertaining interview with Rodney Hampton from a few weeks ago that I found on You Tube (credit NSIWorld.) Topics include Matthew Stafford, and looking back on Hampton's transition from UGA to the NFL.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

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