July 17, 2012
Johnny Majors was awarded his second SEC Player of the Year honor in 1956. His domination on the gridiron as the UT shot-caller was unparalleled in the South, earning him unanimous All-America selections. The national attention Majors received resulted in his finishing second on the Heisman Trophy ballot. He collected 1,622 yards on the ground and threw for 1,135 yards, scoring 16 touchdowns in all during his career. With his leg, he booted 83 punts for a 39.1-yard average. He also returned 36 punts for 438 yards and ran back 15 kickoffs for 344 yards.
"I don't really remember exactly how I was assigned my number. We were not assigned numbers as freshman because we played a freshman schedule and we were not eligible for varsity play in 1953. So as a sophomore I was assigned number 45. I wasn't the type of person that was confident enough to go in and request a particular number. I came there to play and to get a college education. I wanted to play football. I had number 35 in high school, which they retired about 5 years ago. I hoped I could get 35 but Tennessee under Harvey Robinson, who I came in under the first year, assigned the 40s to the tailbacks, the 30s to the Fullbacks, 20s for the blocks, and the 10s for the wing backs. In the past Coach Neyland did not have a number system. Ed Morgan was a wingback, either a junior or a sophomore when Hank Lauricella was playing tailback and Ed was wearing number 45. They ran the famous hip play in 1950 when Tennessee beat Alabama 14-9 here in Knoxville. I was a sophomore in high school and Ed Morgan ran that play to make a key first down to set up the winning score. So he was the person who wore 45 prior to me and he graduated before my freshman year. But I loved the number 45 and there has been many great players who have used it. I have many people come up to me and ask me, `how is number 45 doing today?' That makes me feel good."
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