On this day 39 years ago, Bo Jackson signs his Auburn football letter of intent

Auburn football
Auburn football /

On February 10, 1982, the Auburn football program was changed forever when they signed Vincent “Bo” Jackson from Bessemer, Alabama. Although he was drafted by the New York Yankees in the second round of the MLB Draft in 1982, he chose to go to Auburn on a football scholarship.

Out of McAdory High School in McCalla, AL, Bo Jackson ran for 1,175 yards as a running back on the football team his senior year, and also hit 20 home runs on the baseball team that same year.

Jackson played both football and baseball at Auburn University. He was recruited to the football program by Auburn legend Coach Pat Dye and fortified Dye’s own coaching legacy by totaling 4,575 yards, 45 touchdowns, and sporting a 6.6 yards per carry average by the end of his career on The Plains.

At the end of the 1985 season, Jackson was awarded the Heisman Trophy, becoming the second Auburn football player to ever win the honor following Pat Sullivan’s win in 1971. Jackson’s number, 34, was officially retired in 1992.

Jackson’s most famous play at Auburn, known as “Bo Over the Top” was the deciding factor in the 1982 Iron Bowl against Yellowhammer rival Alabama. The Tigers had lost the previous nine Iron Bowls to the Tide, which is an unnecessarily long period of suffering, and they were about to lose their 10th.

On a third and goal play, Jackson leaped over the line of scrimmage and the lineman and barely got the ball into the endzone for a touchdown. This put Auburn up 23-22, and they went on to win the game, which was played at neutral site Legion Field. Bo Jackson helped Auburn secure a victory over Alabama in Bear Bryant’s final Iron Bowl.

Bo Jackson went on to play in both the MLB and NFL. He played four seasons with the Los Angeles Raiders and then played for both the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox over eight seasons of professional baseball.

He is, of course, the only athlete to ever be an all-star in two different professional sports leagues.

Arguably one of the greatest athletes of all time across the sporting spectrum, it is an honor to call Bo Jackson a true Auburn man.

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