Rick Sanford was born in Rock Hill, SC and graduated from Northwestern High School. His great play at the high school level led him to play collegiately at the University of South Carolina (1975-1978). At South Carolina, Sanford earned 1st Team All-American status as a defensive back from the Sporting News, as well as 1st Team All-American recognition among Independent Schools. He became the first 1st round draft pick in Gamecock history in the 1979 draft when he was selected 25th overall by the New England Patriots. He set the longest interception return record in Soldier Field on a 99-yard pick six on Bears QB Jim McMahon. In 1983, he was named as an NFL All-Pro for his career high 133 total tackles and 7 interceptions that season. After that season he was given the Patriots Unsung Hero Award by the Patriots Fan Club. Overall, he totaled 16 career interceptions and 3 defensive touchdowns as a safety. Sanford would play 94 games over seven seasons as a defensive back and returner in the NFL, six with the Patriots (1979-1984), and one with the Seattle Seahawks (1985). Sanford is a 1998 inductee of the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame and is on their Board of Directors.
Picture courtesy of the New England Patriots