David “Deacon” Jones, played collegiately at South Carolina State in 1958, and then transferred to Mississippi Vocational College in 1960. He was drafted in the 14th round of the 1961 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s website, the Rams were scouting running backs when then they noticed the 6-4, 272-pound tackle was faster than them. He quickly became a star with the Rams playing 14 years in the NFL, earning eight Pro Bowl births and was twice the league’s defensive player of the year.
After 10 years with the Rams he finished out his career with the San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins. Due to his success and intensity on the field he became known as the “Secretary of Defense.” He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980. He is unofficially credited with 173.5 sacks which would be the third most in history, however the stat for sacks was not recognized during his career.
After football Deacon worked as a television actor, broadcaster, and successful business man. He unfortunately passed away on June 3, 2013 of natural causes. The NFL created the Deacon Jones Award in his honor that recognizes the annual leader in sacks. In 2016, the Black College Hall of Fame named Deacon Jones as their namesake for their College Player of the Year.