Jeffries among those in inaugural S.C. Hall of Fame class

2013-03-22T03:00:00Z Jeffries among those in inaugural S.C. Hall of Fame classBy THOMAS GRANT JR., T&D Senior Sports Writer The Times and Democrat

GREENVILLE — It’s going to be a Hall of Fame, All-Star-studded weekend for South Carolina State coaching legend Willie Jeffries.

It starts tonight at 7 p.m. in Travelers Rest at the Cherokee Valley Golf Club when he’s among the eight members of the inaugural class of the newly formed S.C. State College Football Hall of Fame.

Joining Jeffries are former players Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Harry Carson and four-time Super Bowl champion Donnie Shell; the late Frank Howard, former head coach at Clemson University, and three-sport letterman Banks McFadden; Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers of the University of South Carolina; and former Furman quarterback and NFL head coach Sam Wyche.

It’s the ninth Hall of Fame honor for Jeffries, whose coaching career includes seven Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles, three black college football national championships, the most victories in school history at S.C. State and being the first black head coach of a Division I football program at Wichita State in 1978.

“First of all, I consider it an honor to be inducted into the S.C. State College Football Hall of Fame, especially with that group,” said Jeffries following the announcement. “I’m also happy for Harry and Donnie. It’s great representation for South Carolina State.”

The following day, all eight inductees will be recognized during halftime of the South Carolina College All-Star Bowl at North Greenville University’s Younts Stadium. It’s a contest for which Jeffries and former Clemson head coach Danny Ford, respectively, will serve as honorary coaches for the Lowcountry and Upstate teams.

A perfect 2-0 in All-Star games in his coaching career, Jeffries will look to remain perfect with a squad which includes 11 players from his alma mater. Among the Lowcountry All-Stars are wide receiver Lennel Elmore, the lone Bulldog selected this past season to the All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference first or second teams, defensive back Cortney Ingram, who was the team’s second-leading tackler, and quarterback Derrick Wiley.

Other S.C. State players selected to the All-Star Bowl include running backs Chris Merrill and Asheton Jordan, who will appear but not play following a January automobile accident, offensive linemen Gideon Scott and Sam Hammond, tight end Dwight Brannon, defensive linemen J.D. Fulwood and Leon Smith and defensive back Josh McFadden.

A couple of former T&D Region players will compete for Ford in wide receiver Chris Pressley of Coastal Carolina, who attended Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School, and wide receiver Andre Simmons of Colorado, formerly of Blackville-Hilda.

As many as 55 schools — including the University of South Carolina, Clemson, Benedict, The Citadel, Furman, North Greenville, Gardner-Webb, Newberry and Presbyterian — are represented on the two 55-man roster teams.

The 3 p.m. game can be seen locally on WIS-TV (Channel 3 on Time Warner Cable and Channel 10 on regular and satellite TV). For more information, visit sccollegeallstarbowl.com.

Contact the writer: tgrant@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5547. For more information about S.C. State athletics, read Grant’s blog, “Following the Bulldogs,” at thebulldogzone.com. Follow Grant on Twitter@TandDSports.

Copyright 2015 The Times and Democrat. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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