Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 87 Days to Go

87: Jim Wilson, Tackle #79 (1961 – 1964)

Most people remember Jim Wilson for his book, Chokehold, which exposed unfair labor practices in the world of professional wrestling. But before his career as a wrestler and author, James Milligan Wilson excelled as a tackle for the Georgia Bulldogs. Wilson grew up outside of Pittsburgh but because of spinal curvature problem, was told to give up football. Overcoming his condition, Wilson earned a scholarship to The University of Georgia.

Despite playing mostly fullback in high school, Wilson moved to the line where he played both offensive and defensive tackle. Wilson and teammate Ray Rissmiller formed a dominate front for the Georgia offense. During his senior season, “Big Jim” would become the first player under Coach Vince Dooley to earn All-American honors. Dooley called Wilson “the strongest player I’ve ever seen.” Wilson was named a team captain that season and was named the Most Valuable Lineman in the Sun Bowl.

Wilson played in the 1965 Senior Bowl and was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers, where he was named to the 1965 All-Rookie Team. He eventually joined the newly started Atlanta Falcons, but ultimately left football to pursue a career in wrestling. Wilson was inducted into Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Georgia Circle of Honor in 2005.

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