Class of 2016
Larry McCoy vividly remembers the first time he watched Will Legg on the football field. For the former Athens High football coach, it was an impressive and lasting impression.
Legg was physically bigger than his peers. He was stronger. And when he made contact on the field, there was a distinctive sound McCoy has not forgotten.
“Will was a different type of player — well ahead of his time,” McCoy said. “When he hit someone, you heard it. Back in those days, you didn’t see a lot of players who were as big and strong as Will. He was a different breed.”
Legg is being inducted into the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame on June 11. He is one of 10 members in the 2016 class.
In the golden era of high school football, Legg was ahead of his time, and his Athens High career has not been matched.
Legg starred at Athens from 1968-71, and he is the only player in the program’s 109-season history to be picked as a first-team All-American selection.
Legg continued his football career at Georgia, picking the Bulldogs over
Alabama and Auburn.
“Football always just came naturally to me,” Legg said. “And the game was really good to me. It’s a big part of who I am today.”
At Athens, Legg starred at linebacker on defense, and he played center on the Golden Eagles’ offensive line. Former Georgia coach Vince Dooley recruited Legg as a center, where he was a valuable member of the Bulldogs’ offensive line from 1973-76.
At 6-foot-2 and 224 pounds, during the late 1960s, when high school football programs did not have advanced strength and conditioning programs, Legg was viewed as a physically large player.
“And not only did Will have a big frame, for that time, he also was incredibly strong,” McCoy said. “Will was just a big, ol’ strong country kid who was extremely athletic for his size and very competitive. That combination worked well on the football field.”
Decision to Dooley
Legg was a dominant high school player, which made him a highly touted college prospect. During that time, Paul “Bear” Bryant had a national dynasty at Alabama, and Ralph “Shug” Jordan had Auburn in contention for one of the top spots in the Southeastern Conference.
Both Bryant and Jordan offered Legg a football scholarship, but he decided to leave the state and sign with Georgia. “Coach Dooley is why I picked Georgia,” Legg said. “My family had a lot of Auburn ties, and Coach Dooley had Auburn
ties. He was building something special over there, and I wanted to be a part of it.”
The decision worked out well for Legg. He helped Georgia win the 1973 Peach Bowl, and during his senior season, the Bulldogs won the 1976 SEC title.
“Will is one of the best players in Athens history, and there have been a lot of great players come through the program,” McCoy said. “He deserves to be in the hall of fame. I’m happy for him.”