Georgia High School Hall OF Fame : Score Atlanta

The Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame’s 40-member Class of 2023 is set and will be inducted in a ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 21 at the College Football Hall of Fame.

Board members of the Hall of Fame began submitting nominees for the Hall’s second class in early spring and then held committee votes and appeals before the final ballot was narrowed down to 100 names in mid-June. Once the ballot was set, each board member was required to vote for a minimum of two players from each of the eras represented (Pre-1948, 1948-59, 1960’s, GIA, 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s, 2000’s) and were to select a total of 40 players from the star-powered 100-person ballot. The ballots were voted on and submitted by June 1, but a seven-way tie for the final two spots and a run-off for a second GIA era representative forced the board to hold a separate vote-off to complete the process and solidify the 40-player ballot.

Out of the 40 players inducted, 29 were on last year’s ballot and 11 were first-time nominees that made it in—including familiar names like former Thomasville quarterback and UGA standout Mike Bobo and Dan Reeves, who was a starting quarterback at Americus High School before starting at South Carolina, playing eight NFL seasons and spending 27 years as a head coach. The 1990’s era is the most represented with 14 inductees, followed by the 1970’s (8), 1980’s (4), 2000’s (4), Pre-1948 (3), 1960’s (3), GIA (2) and 1948-49 (2).

Last year 36 players were voted into the inaugural class while nine more that are in the NFL Hall of Fame received automatic entry.

“This was a very different ballot from the inaugural one,’’ said Hall of Fame executive director I.J. Rosenberg. “Last year Herschel Walker was on every ballot (35 voters) and four others made it on 30 (85.7 percent) of the ballots. This year the top vote-getters (Reeves and Jon Stinchcomb) were on 31 of the 38 ballots (81.6 percent). If this was the Baseball Hall of Fame where you have to get 75 percent of the votes, only three players would have made it this year. That tells you something about how spread out the talent is and has been for many years in the state of Georgia.’’

A total of 27 of the 40 inductees played at high schools outside of metro Atlanta. Thomasville, Carrollton, Cartersville, Americus, Lanier-Macon and Stephens County were the six high schools that had two former players earn spots in this year’s class. Class of 1997 Parkview grad and All-American Jon Stinchcomb joins the hall with his older brother Matt—who was inducted last year. Jon Stinchcomb is one of five offensive linemen that were voted in this year and one of the 22 former Georgia Bulldogs in the 2023 HOF class after the school had 13 in the inaugural class. The three pre-1948 players inducted this year all went on to play at Georgia—including Lanier-Macon’s Vernon “Catfish” Smith and Billy Henderson and Georgia Military standout Bill Hartman—who was enshrined in the Georgia Ring of Honor in 1999 and was the first-ever Georgia player to be drafted into the NFL in 1938 before returning to Athens to join the coaching staff. Additionally, all four of the inductees from the 2000’s were Georgia Bulldogs with D.J. Shockley, Charles Johnson, Rennie Curran and Jarvis Jones representing the most recent era of players eligible for the hall.

Georgia Tech also saw an increase in inductees—going from six in the inaugural class to eight former Yellow Jackets this year. This group includes Pepper Rodgers, Billy Lothridge, Lucius Sanford, Eddie Lee Ivery, Mackel Harris, John Davis and cousins Pat and Ken Swilling—who graduated from Stephens County in the 1980’s before playing for legendary Tech head coach and fellow GHSF Hall of Famer Bill Curry—who was represented in the inaugural class.

“Put Tech and Georgia together and 30 of the 40 new inductees went to those schools,’’ said Rosenberg. “It’s amazing how for so many years the state’s best stayed in state. You can’t say that today. I also am thrilled that every corner of the state is being represented. For years those down south have felt at times ignored and that Atlanta and the metro is treated kindlier in general when it comes to high school sports. Not here.”

Former Shamrock offensive lineman and Indianapolis Colts’ legend Jeff Saturday was one of several players from the 1990’s that got this year after narrowly missing out last year. Douglass 1996 grad, Jamal Lewis and Southwest DeKalb 1995 grad Quincy Carter were also top vote getters after narrowly missing out on the inaugural class.

The Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame’s board of 38 voters included Rosenberg and Co-Chairs Dave Hunter and Rusty Mansell. Rosenberg is the President of Score Atlanta and the former longtime Atlanta Journal-Constitution baseball writer has been a media figure involved with sports for more than four decades throughout the metro area and state of Georgia. His experience with the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York and establishing an athletic Hall of Fame at his alma mater, Lakeside High School, in 2019 motivated him to launch the Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame.

Since its successful launch, the Hall of Fame is continuing to grow and enhance every facet of the event. This year, the Hall of Fame is debuting a double-header the night before the ceremony that will be broadcasted live on PeachtreeTV. The location of the game is still to be determined, but the matchups are expected to be defending state champion Mill Creek against 2021 state champion Collins Hill and Grayson versus Brookwood in the nightcap. Tickets for the Hall of Fame ceremony on Oct. 21 at the College Hall of Fame will go on sale soon and like last year a reception for all the new and inaugural class players will precede the ceremony.


Julius Adams (Ballard-Hudson, 1965)

Jeff Backus (Norcross, 1995)

Bruce Bennett (Valdosta, 1961)

Mike Bobo (Thomasville, 1992)

Reggie Brown (Carrollton, 1998)

Ronnie Brown (Cartersville, 1999)

Quincy Carter (Southwest DeKalb, 1995)

Rennie Curran (Brookwood, 2006)

John Davis (Gilmer, 1982)

Ray Donaldson (East Rome, 1975)

Anthony Flanagan (Southwest Atlanta, 1973)

Randall Godfrey (Lowndes, 1991)

Ray Goff (Moultrie, 1972)

Charles Grant (Miller County, 1997)

Deon Grant (Josey, 1995)

Ernie Green (Spencer, 1957)

Mackel Harris (Americus, 1975)

Bill Hartman (Georgia Military Prep, 1933)

Billy Henderson (Lanier-Macon, 1945)

Keith Henderson (Cartersville, 1984)

Charles Johnson (Hawkinsville, 2003)

Jarvis Jones (Carver-Columbus, 2008)

Eddie Lee Ivery (Thomson, 1974)

Jamal Lewis (Douglass, 1996)

Billy Lothridge (Gainesville, 1959)

Guy McIntyre (Thomasville, 1978)

Adam Meadows (McEachern, 1991)

Al Pinkins (Mitchell-Baker, 1990)

Dan Reeves (Americus, 1960)

Pepper Rodgers (Brown, 1949)

Buzy Rosenberg (Northside-Atlanta, 1968)

Lucius Sanford (West Fulton, 1973)

Jeff Saturday (Shamrock, 1992)

D.J. Shockley (North Clayton, 2000)

Vernon “Catfish” Smith (Lanier-Macon, 1927)

Jon Stinchcomb (Parkview, 1997)

Marcus Stroud (Brooks County, 1994)

Ken Swilling (Stephens County, 1987)

Pat Swilling (Stephens County, 1981)

Scott Woerner (Jonesboro, 1976)

For more information, please contact I.J. Rosenberg at 404-246-7819 or

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