Georgia Bulldogs Great Charley Trippi Is Oldest Living No.1 Pick But Was Drafted More Than Once


Former Georgia Bulldogs half-back Charley Trippi is the oldest living #1 NFL draft pick but one should not forget that he was drafted multiple times in his career and not just in football.

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Former UGA running back Todd Gurley has arrived in St. Louis after being drafted the #10 overall pick by the Rams Thursday evening. He will in no doubt add a dimension to the running game for a team that has flip-flopped back and forth between backs for some time.

By now it has become widely known that the current Rams running backs Tre Mason and Zac Stacy were less than thrilled with the decision on the part of the organization to draft Gurley with its first pick. Todd Gurley’s selection ended a drought for the NFL Draft which has not seen a running back drafted in the first round since 2012.

With Gurley going in the first top ten picks of the 2015 NFL Draft, some UGA fans might bring into thought remembrances of other great running backs who made an impact “Between The Hedges” before taking their talents to the next level. Of course there are those who will always bring to mind the likes of Herschel Walker, Rodney Hampton, and Terrell Davis among others. Yet one cannot overlook digging even deeper into the annals of UGA history and recalling a half-back of decades ago named Charley Trippi.

Trippi, who is now 93 years of age, is the oldest living #1 NFL draft pick.

He was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in 1945 and went on to help lead the organization to its only NFL championship. What is more amazing and interesting about his story is that when he was drafted first overall by the Cardinals he had not worn a Bulldogs uniform in two years. He was taking part in his civic duty after being drafted by the Air Force in the midst of World War II.

Trippi’s military job is probably not one would have might expected though. Due to his great athletic ability, Trippi’s job consisted of traveling around with the Third Air Force football team and playing other teams at bases across the nation in an effort to entertain the troops while building morale.

Trippi was selected by the Cardinals just prior to ending his military service in 1945. Lenient eligibility guidelines that were in place at the the time as a result of the war afforded Trippi with the opportunity to still compete in college football. He chose to seize that opportunity and play at Georgia for two more years while finishing up his academic career in Athens.

It would seem that he made a good choice in staying as he would go on to win the Maxwell Award in 1946. Trippi would also go on to finish a close second to Army’s Glenn Davis in the fight for the Heisman Trophy and lead the Dawgs to an undefeated season and a Sugar Bowl victory to boot in 1947.

The iconic Trippi was an exceptional athlete in his time and the UGA phenom was also drafted as a special selection in the 1947 All-American Football Conference (AAFC) draft by the New York Yankees. Various professional baseball teams were also in hot pursuit of Trippi and he even went on to play one season for the Atlanta Crackers in 1947 where he posted a .334 batting average in his lone season while drawing tremendous crowds to the games in the process.

Trippi was the true definition of versatility when it came to the sport of football. His NFL career spanned some nine years in which he played half-back for five, quarterback for two, and defense for two. He would later go on to be selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968.

Charley Trippi went on to coach in both the NFL and at the University of Georgia. The UGA alumni would later turn his full attention to the real estate business and became quite successful at it as a developer. The former half-back legend is still an icon in “The Classic City”. His legacy and contributions to football in Athens as well as to this great nation should never be forgotten. Charley Trippi can therefore truly be classified as a true #1 draft pick in more ways than one and this should make those who love the “red and black” very proud.

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