George  Cafego

George Cafego

Tailback, Safety, Quarterback


George "Bad News" Cafego was just that for tacklers during his career at Tennessee.

Renowned for his blocking and running skills, Cafego also played safety and quarterback. On special teams, he returned kicks and punts as well as handled the punting duties. In his career, Cafego rushed for 1,589 yards, threw for 550 yards, returned 64 punts for 883 yards, returned 12 kickoffs for 391 yards and punted 115 times for a 38.3-yard average. He also had five interceptions.

The Vols got their first major bowl win, 17-0 over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, with Cafego in the backfield. The 1938 team finished 11-0 and Cafego was SEC Player of the Year. The 1939 squad shut out all of its opponents during the regular season before losing to Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl. The loss was UT's first in two years and came with Cafego sidelined by injury.

Tennessee was 24-4-1 in his three years. During the two perfect regular seasons, Cafego earned back-to-back All-SEC and All-America nods. He also was a Heisman candidate, finishing seventh in 1938 and fourth in 1939.

Cafego then was the first pick of the 1940 NFL Draft, taken by the Chicago Cardinals. He eventually played for the Brooklyn Dodgers for one season before a stint in the Army. He returned to the Dodgers in 1943 and spent his remaining career with the Washington Redskins and Boston Yanks.

Cafego served as an assistant coach on Tennessee's staff from 1955-85 under five different head coaches. UT honored the player called the "Ultimate Volunteer" by declaring Sept. 6, 1980, George Cafego Day.



  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago