'So many memories' - Auburn honors football All-Americans
1997 All-American Takeo Spikes says it's important for current players to understand Auburn's legacy.

April 10, 2017

By Jeff Shearer
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala. - They lined Pat Dye Field between the 35-yard lines, more than 30 Auburn legends, first-team All-Americans returning to the site of their glory days.

Buddy McClinton, whose nine interceptions in 1969 and 18 career interceptions still stand as Auburn records nearly a half-century later, noticed one thing right away.

"We were standing out on the field and we all said, `I don't think it was this soft when we played here,'" McClinton said. "I think it's a little softer now."

Buddy McClinton, Auburn's all-time interceptions leader, says the field is softer now than when he played from 1967-1969.
Buddy McClinton, Auburn's all-time interceptions leader, says the field is softer now than when he played from 1967-1969.

Auburn honored its 75 first-team All-Americans at halftime of Saturday's A-Day game.

"It was so much fun because I really hadn't seen a lot of these guys in so many, many years," McClinton said. "And a lot of the guys who were before me, they were my heroes growing up. And a lot of guys who came after me, I'm a big fan of theirs, so to be able to get to see them again was really a great day. Brought back wonderful memories."

Before the All-Americans were recognized, Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs, who was with the legends on the field, shared a recorded message on the video board.

"Today is a special day for the Auburn Family," Jacobs said. "A day we pause to honor the best of the best. Auburn is what it is today because of the contributions of these men, their teammates, their coaches and their families."

"It was really, really great for Jay to put all of this together," McClinton said. "This is special because we're all big fans. We're big Auburn fans. And it was special to get to see these guys again and share old memories."

Two-time All-American Ben Tamburello helped Bo Jackson win the Heisman in 1985.
Two-time All-American Ben Tamburello helped Bo Jackson win the Heisman in 1985.

Ben Tamburello, a two-time All-American in 1985-86 who blocked for Heisman winner Bo Jackson, also noticed the field conditions.

"This place is so beautiful," Tamburello said. "It brings back so many memories. It's a treasure for me to relive the experience and to be honored like this is just a great privilege and I appreciate Jay Jacobs doing it."

Takeo Spikes, a 1997 All-American linebacker who played 15 seasons in the NFL, says it's important for Auburn's current players to understand the program's rich tradition.

"It's a great start when you look at bridging the gap and connecting the years because even though this game is about the young guys, I think it's important for them to understand what came before you in order to make this legacy what it is at Auburn University," Spikes said.

"And more than anything, it's a true testament to the saying -- I always believed this -- you can tell how any organization treats its team members depending on how the alumni are received. With that being said, I think that says a lot."

The most recent All-American in attendance, Chris Davis, stood near the sideline he traveled during the Kick Six, his 100-yard kick return in the 2013 Iron Bowl.

"It's been great. It's been outstanding. It's a blessing," Davis said of his starring role in perhaps college football's most famous play. "It's something my kid will see as he gets older. Growing up, I always wanted to leave a legacy with my name. And I did that thanks to Auburn."

2013 All-American Chris Davis was the most recent honoree in attendance.
2013 All-American Chris Davis was the most recent honoree in attendance.

Several Auburn greats were represented by family members, like Susan Crain, whose late husband Kurt was an All-American in 1987.
Several Auburn greats were represented by family members, like Susan Crain, whose late husband Kurt was an All-American in 1987.



Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter:


 

 

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