BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Oct. 10, 2017) – The Southeastern Conference on Tuesday announced its 2017 SEC Football Legends class, a collection of former football standouts who will be honored at events surrounding the SEC Football Championship Game in Atlanta in December.
The 2017 Football Legends Class includes 14 former stars who excelled on the gridiron and helped write the rich history of the sport at their respective institutions. This year’s class includes All-Americans, All-SEC selections and Academic All-Americans. The group represents teams that won National and SEC Championships and are represented in state, school and college football halls of fame.
The class will be honored at the 2017 SEC Football “Weekend of Champions” Dec. 1-2 in Atlanta, Ga. The annual SEC Legends Dinner presented by AT&T will be held Fri., Dec. 1 at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta and the group will also be recognized prior to the SEC Football Championship Game, which will be held at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sat., Dec. 2.
Kentucky’s honoree is Nate Northington. He was the first African-American to participate in a varsity football contest in the Southeastern Conference on September 30, 1967.
This is the 50th anniversary of the year Northington integrated SEC Football. He and fellow African-American Greg Page entered UK in 1966 and were stars on the Wildcat freshman team. They were expected to make major contributions to the varsity as sophomores; however, Page sustained a neck injury in practice in August 1967, and passed away in September.
Northington played his first varsity game against Indiana on Sept. 23, 1967; one week later, he made his debut in an SEC game vs. Ole Miss. He eventually left UK but encouraged the team’s African-American freshmen, Wilbur Hackett and Houston Hogg, to stay at UK and continue his and Page’s trailblazing legacy.