Two down, and one to go.
Thomson High School graduate Ray Guy was selected for the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., last Tuesday, only a week after being chosen for the National High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Ray Guy demonstrates his kicking ability during the 2002 Old Timers game at The Brickyard.
Michael Holahan/Morris News Service
"It's really exciting. I'm really honored to get both of them," Mr. Guy said. "It's a good stepping stone for (the Pro Football Hall of Fame). Of course it's entirely different, NFL and college and high school...But we'll just have to wait and see on that. We'll take it one step at a time."
Mr. Guy will be the first Southern Mississippi player -- and first pure punter -- enshrined. He will be a part of the 2004 College Football Hall of Fame 12-player class which will be recognized at the annual award dinner Dec. 7, in New York City. He will officially be inducted in South Bend during an August 2005 ceremony.
The National High School Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place in San Diego, Calif., in July. Mr. Guy said he will only the eighth athlete from the state of Georgia to be inducted.
"They were both a surprise to be this close together and this early," Mr. Guy said. "It really doesn't matter what hall of fame you go into. You're in there with an elite group of individuals that are well deserving from their field of sports. ... A lot of them are real legends and things of that nature, so it's an honor to be right there with them."
Now, Mr. Guy can officially be called a legend in the collegiate ranks too. He will soon be asked to submit some items from his collegiate days for display, such as a helmet, jersey, shoes, letterman's jacket or trophies.
Mr. Guy averaged 44.7 yards per punt at Southern Mississippi from 1970-72. He rocketed three punts more than 70 yards, including a record 93-yard smash during his senior season.
In 1972, Mr. Guy led the nation in punting with a 46.2-yard average. He played in the Senior Bowl, East-West Game, All-America Bowl and College All-Star Game after earning first team All-American honors.
Mr. Guy then became the first and only punter to be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. He played 14 seasons in the NFL and won three Super Bowl rings with the Oakland Raiders.
Ray Guy as an Oakland Raider.
He is still considered the greatest punter ever to play in the NFL. He is yet to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, by a selection committee comprised of media members.
"When our guys are considered for this hall, if a guy has a pretty good pro career that helps with perception," College Football Hall of Fame executive director Bernie Kish said. "I would guess the same thing with the pro hall of fame. But the pro hall of fame is a little tougher nut to crack."