Gators giving hall of famer Dent a well-deserved honor

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 25, 2007

October 25, 2007

Vicksburg High football coach Alonzo Stevens hopes his players pay close attention to the goings-on at about 7:15 Friday night.

One of their own, Kevin Dent, will be honored before the Gators’ game against Canton. He is the only Vicksburg High football player inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and one of only three Jackson State players to be enshrined. Walter Payton and Willie Richardson preceded Dent into the Hall.

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“I hope our guys can get a feel for what is possible,” Stevens said. “This is one of our own. This is a Gator who is in the College Football Hall of Fame.”

A plaque presentation, which is scheduled to include former VHS coach J.W. Knox and ex-Jackson State coach W.C. Gorden, will take place directly after senior players, cheerleaders, Gator Girls and band members are honored. Stevens said two plaques have been made, one for Dent and the other to adorn one of the walls in the school’s fieldhouse.

Dent starred as a safety and quarterback at VHS from 1982-84. Over his career, he threw for 1,817 yards and 17 touchdowns in the run-dominated offense.

Despite his football prowess, most big colleges stayed away when recruiting time came along.

Gorden saw his talent and landed him at Jackson State, where he continued his rise to college stardom. Among Dent’s achievements at JSU:

* He led nation in interceptions in 1986.

* Was JSU’s only three-time, first-team All-American.

* Was a three-time Sheridan Black College National Defensive Player of the Year.

* Helped the Tigers to three Southwestern Athletic Conference championships and a 27-1 record.

“Kevin was one of those guys that was on top of his game. He didn’t make any mistakes,” said Stevens, who was VHS’ defensive coordinator under head coach Jim Sizemore during Dent’s playing years. “He was a true student of the game. You couldn’t fool him.”

Vicksburg High routinely churns out quality talent. Some reach Division I while others fall prey to academic failures. Currently only Michael Myers, who plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, is in the NFL.

Dent is the first to reach the College Hall of Fame from VHS. George Morris, who played for Carr Central in the late 1940s before moving on to Georgia Tech, was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 1981.

Stevens said the honor is a long time coming.

“We hope the community comes out here Friday night and supports this,” Stevens said.

It’s not often a Hall of Famer comes home to be honored. When it does happen, it certainly is worthy of community support. The Gators are the only team playing at home this week.

It will be worth the short drive.


Sean P. Murphy is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. E-mail him at