Happy Birthday to Tennessee football legend Hank Lauricella
, who turns 83 on Oct. 9.
Lauricella was "Mr. Everything" during one of the most prominent stretches in UT football history, His small stature - 5-foot-11, 175 pounds - fit the mold of a Tennessee tailback in Gen. Robert R. Neyland's single-wing attack.
The 1948 recruits have been called the best freshmen class in Vol history, and it is hard to argue.
By his 1950 sophomore campaign, Lauricella called all the plays as the tailback and also played safety. He earned All-SEC honors, but his best was yet to come.
In the 1951 Cotton Bowl against Texas, Lauricella set up Tennessee's first score with perhaps the most memorable run in school history. From the Vols' 20-yard line, Lauricella knifed his way through the Longhorns' defense and reversed field three times to allow for blocking help before finally being brought down at the Texas 5. The 75-yard run led to the Vols' first touchdown in a 20-14 win. Lauricella finished with 131 yards on the day.
He was named All-SEC and All-America in 1951, averaging 7.9 yards per carry in leading the Vols to a 10-0 regular season. Tennessee was named national champions prior to its Sugar Bowl appearance and Lauricella finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting.
During his career, Lauricella helped UT to a 28-4-1 overall record, including a streak of 20 consecutive wins. He led the team in passing, rushing, total offense and punting his junior and senior seasons.
Lauricella later was elected to the Louisiana State House (8 years) and Senate (24 years).