We have finally made it down to 7 days to go. Just one week Dawg fans till the Bulldawgs kick off their 2016 college football season next Saturday in the GA Dome in Atlanta. And to bring us on into No.7 on Countdown to Kickoff, one of the great running backs in Georgia history, Rodney Hampton.
A product of Kashmere High School out of Houston, Texas, Rodney Hampton came to Georgia in 1987, and although the Bulldawgs had a senior back in Lars Tate that had rushed for 2,001 yards and 22 touchdowns the last 3 seasons, the Texan made an immediate impact as a freshman, giving Georgia a double headed monster at tailback. Tate would rush for over 1,016 yards and 14 TDs for the ’87 season, and Hampton would add 890 yards (fifth all-time in school history for a freshman) and 4 TDs to that team rushing total, averaging over 7.1 yards per carry.
1987 could have featured a three-headed monster at tailback for Georgia with Tim Worley along with Hampton and Tate, but Worley was still rehabbing from a devastating knee injury he suffered as a sophomore in 1986. Worley would return in 1988, and he along with Hampton made for another dynamic duo at tailback for the Dawgs that season. Worley would rush for 1,216 yards and 17 TDs while Hampton would put up 719 yards with 6 TDS.
Worley would head to the NFL after the ’88 season and Vince Dooley would step down and retire after 25 years as Georgia’s Head Coach. Rodney Hampton would find himself the main feature back in new Head Coach Ray Goff’s first year on the job and would rush for over 1,059 yards and 12 TDs as a junior.
Over his three years at Georgia, Hampton rushed for 2,668 yards (sixth all-time in school history), and his career average per rush of 5.70 yards is 7th all-time in school history. Hampton’s 7.06 yards per carry for the 1987 season is a record that stood for 27 years till Todd Gurley broke it and Nick Chubb tied it in 2014.
Hampton would go on and declare for the NFL after his junior season and was drafted in the first round as the 24th pick overall by the New York Giants during the 1990 NFL Draft. He would play all 8 years of his pro career with the Giants and rush for 6,897 yards and 49 TDs. Hampton made both the 1992 and 1993 Pro Bowl and is Super Bowl Champion with the Giants from Super Bowl XXV. He is an member of the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame.
And the countdown continues. Go Dawgs!