What Ed “Too Tall” Jones experienced in 1993, he shared with the five newest inductees in the Jackson-Madison County Sports Hall of Fame at the Carl Perkins Civic Center, Thursday.
Jones was the guest speaker when Sha Brooks, Jim Hardegree, Isaac “Ike” Lassiter, Leonard “Mush” Smith and Drew Sutton became the 32nd class to gain induction.
“Anytime you are honored by your hometown it is special (and) words cannot explain how grateful I am to my hometown,” Jones said. “When I got the call (to speak) I was surprised and honored at the same time.”
A graduate of Merry High School in Jackson, Jones was inducted into the 1993 Jackson-Madison County Sports Hall of Fame following a 15-year career with the Dallas Cowboys.
Recognized as one of the most dominant players at his defensive end positions, Jones played in 16 playoff games and three Super Bowls.
He was part of three NFC championship teams and the Super Bowl XII champion. His success batting down passes led to the National Football League making the play an official statistic.
But the evening belonged to the five newest inductees.
Sha Brooks, graduated from North Side High School in 2005 and played four years at the University of Florida, where she became a unanimous selection All-SEC her senior year in 2009.
Brooks, who resides in Whites Creek, held the University of Florida school record for consecutive starts (123), free throws made (430) and games started (125).
Jim Hardegree is an assistant football coach and defensive coach at the University School of Jackson.
Hardegree also served as head football coach at Jackson Central-Merry High School and North Side High School.
He also has experience at the college level as head football coach at Lambuth University and assistant coach at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
Isaac “Ike” Lassiter III excelled in football as a lineman at Jackson High School from 1959 to 1963, where he helped lead the Golden Bears to the state’s No. 1 ranking overall.
Lassiter, who lives in Hot Springs, North Carolina, graduated third overall at Jackson High, and signed to play football with Georgia Tech University.
Leonard “Mush” Smith accepted a scholarship to play football at the University of Mississippi, after a highly successful high school career at Jackson High School, where he starred as a running back and defensive back.
Smith was not able to attend induction ceremonies because of health issues.
Drew Sutton, a 2001 graduate of North Side High School made his Major League Baseball debut with the Cincinnati Reds, July 2, 2009.
He completed his Major League career hitting .256 with 72 base hits, four home runs and 37 RBI in 281 at bats.
Sutton also played for the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Jerry Gist, mayor of the City of Jackson is the 2017 recipient of the Billy Schrivner Distinguished Service Award.
(PHOTO: From left – Jim Hardegree, Sha Brooks, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Isaac “Ike” Lassiter and Drew Sutton. Not pictured, Leonard “Mush” Smith.
David Thomas, Twitter – @DavidThomasWNWS