ATLANTA (Sept. 1, 2017) – In keeping with its tradition of recognizing notable team alumni prior to the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, officials today announced that Calvin Johnson and Chuck Smith will be honorary captains for their respective alma maters at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game slated for Labor Day Weekend between No. 25 Tennessee and Georgia Tech in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The duo will join the team captains at midfield for the pregame coin toss prior to the 8 p.m. kickoff on Sept. 4.
Former two-time All-America wide receiver and Biletnikoff Award winner Calvin Johnson will serve as honorary captain for the Yellow Jackets. As a junior, Johnson was one of college football’s most dominant players. He hauled in 76 passes for a school record 1,202 yards and 15 TDs. Johnson led Georgia Tech to an ACC Coastal Division crown and he went on to be the second overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. In 38 games, he set school records with 2,927 yards receiving and 28 touchdown receptions. Johnson caught 178 passes to rank second in Georgia Tech history in career receptions. He also stands third in the Yellow Jacket record book in career touchdowns and seventh in career scoring. In his career, he was responsible for 42 percent of Georgia Tech’s passing yards and 33 percent of the Yellow Jacket’s pass completions. Johnson left his mark holding the school-record with 100-yard games with 13.
Tennessee defensive end and All-SEC standout Chuck Smith will represent the Volunteers as the program’s honorary captain. Smith enjoyed a successful two years on Rocky Top from 1990-91, and was a pivotal piece to the Volunteers 1990 SEC and Sugar Bowl championship team before going on to earn All-SEC honors in 1991. That season, he totaled nine quarterback sacks as Tennessee advanced to the Fiesta Bowl. Following the conclusion of his senior season, Smith was named MVP at the Senior Bowl and was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the 1992 NFL Draft. He spent eight seasons in Atlanta, earning an All-Pro selection in 1997 and captaining his team to Super Bowl XXXIII in 1998.
One-time SEC rivals, this year’s meeting will mark the first between the programs in 30 years. It will be Tennessee’s second appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and Georgia Tech’s first. The game will celebrate former All-American Tennessee quarterback and long-time head coach at Georgia Tech, Bobby Dodd. Dodd, A College Football Hall of Fame inductee, is just the third person to be inducted as both a player and a coach. In addition to that distinction, Georgia Tech’s football stadium (Bobby Dodd Stadium) and the most coveted college football coach of the year award, The Dodd Trophy, both honor his name as well.
For more information, visit www.Chick-fil-AKickoffGame.com.
About the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game
Created in 2008 by Peach Bowl, Inc., the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is the preeminent bowl-style, neutral-site game featuring two elite football programs and has been nationally televised on the first Saturday of the college football season since its inception. The game has hosted teams with national rankings of No. 1 (twice), 2, 3, 5 (twice), 6, 7, 9, 14, 16, 18 (twice), 19, 22, 24 (twice) and 25 (three times). The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game boasts an average attendance of 67,645, has been watched on television by 47.4 million viewers, and has distributed $51.9 million in total team payouts. Since its inception in 2008, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game has featured seven national coaches of the year, 19 players who were recipients of national awards during their collegiate careers and a total of 48 first-round NFL Draft picks. For more information, visit WWW.CHICK-FIL-AKICKOFFGAME.COM.