Thomas County Central football legend Joe Burns will now be a Georgia Tech Hall of Famer.
The school announced 2015’s Hall of Fame Class Thursday, and Burns is one of nine set for induction this fall.
“When I was given the news, I just reflected on all the people that came through there. To be one of the guys getting this honor, I was just very humbled and really taken back,” Burns said in a phone interview. “You want to go and do your best every opportunity you get, but to get this honor is truly humbling and one of the most exciting times of my life.”
Burns starred for the Yellow Jackets from 1998-2001, and is 7th all-time in school history with 2,634 rushing yards.
The Thomasville native was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2001, and led the 2000 team that finished second in the conference in total yards.
Burns says the most memorable moments of his Tech career were playing rivals Georgia and Florida State.
For any Tech player, the regular season finale against the hated Dawgs is always special.
But for Burns, who grew up less than an hour from Doak Campbell Stadium, the battles with the Seminoles also meant a great deal.
“Coming out of high school, that was somewhere I had an opportunity to go. I pretty much thought I was going to go there. But at the last minute, I chose Georgia Tech,” Burns remembers.
He says one of his fondest memories of his college career was a conversation with Florida St. legendary coach Bobby Bowden after a game with the Seminoles.
“The greatest thing you can ever do when you’re playing this game is get respect from your opponent,” he says. “To have Coach Bowden come up to me after the game, some of the things he shared with me, that’s all you could ever want. Just to get Coach Bowden’s approval was something that was really awesome for me.”
Burns will be joined in the class with eight other Tech greats, including former longtime play-by-play commentator Wes Durham and two-time Olympian Chaunte Lowe.
The 2015 class will be inducted officially on Friday, October 16. The class will also be honored during Tech’s home football game against Pittsburgh on October 17.
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