Monday, July 11, 2011

Brantley & Saye In G-F Hall Of Fame


Former University of Georgia football standouts John Brantley and Bill Saye have been selected for induction into the City of Jacksonville’s Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame for 2011 according to an announcement by the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission Sports and Entertainment office.

The Georgia pair will be recognized at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday, October 28, the day before the annual Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville.

John Brantley 13491A four year letter-winner for the University of Georgia, Brantley was a standout linebacker during the mid-1980’s. He recorded two of the top four single season tackle totals in Georgia history with 160 tackles in 1986 and 154 in 1987. His 415 career tackles stills stands as the fourth best career total for any Dawg defensive player.

A native of Wildwood, Florida, Brantley was named All-SEC and Georgia's Most Outstanding Defensive player following both the 1986 and 1987 campaigns. He was also elected by his teammates as the Dawgs' defensive captain in 1987, the same season he was named the Defensive MVP of the Liberty Bowl after leading the Georgia defense in a 20-17 victory over Arkansas.

Brantley played some of his best football when the Dawgs returned to his home state. Most notably, he recorded a team-high seven tackles and notched both a tackle-for-loss and a sack when the Dawgs upset the top-ranked Gators, 24-3, in 1985. He also helped Georgia to a 23-10 win in Jacksonville as a senior in 1987.

Brantley was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the 1988 NFL draft and also played with the Washington Redskins and the Cincinnati Bengals during a four-year NFL career. After retiring from football, Brantley returned to the Athens area. He remains an active supporter of the program and helped spearhead the Dawgs' initial involvement to build a home through Habitat for Humanity in 2002.

Saye.BillSaye was born in Athens, played in the culvert which runs underneath Sanford Stadium and later played on the field for eight years—four as a Trojan at old Athens High School and four as a Dawg. At Athens High, he made All-State and played in the 1952 Georgia High School All-Star game

Saye’s goal was always to play between the hedges for the University of Georgia. However, he reserved his greatest performance in the old Gator Bowl in Jacksonville in 1954 against favored Florida. Bill intercepted three passes (one was taken away when an official ruled he stepped on the sideline when he caught the ball) from his linebacker position, recovered a fumble and got his hand on a PAT attempt which was the difference in the game, Georgia winning 14-13.

Herman Hickman, sports columnist for Sports Illustrated, covered the game and wrote: “The Gators’ hopes of gaining a conference title and bowl bid turned dark. A Georgia center named Bill Saye (hey) turned out the lights.” Saye was the difference in the game, playing every snap in the game from scrimmage and also was the long snapper throughout the afternoon.

After lettering three years for the Dawgs and earning a degree, Saye coached high school football and enjoyed a successful business career with General Wholesale in Atlanta. He retired to his hometown of Athens in 2006.

Inductees from the University of Florida will be Kevin Carter and Nat Moore.

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