Here's the Athens-area players on the inaugural High School Football Hall of Fame ballot

Ryne Dennis
Athens Banner-Herald
The Commerce scoreboard shows the history and success of the Tigers' football program.

The inaugural Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame class will be inducted in October, and last week the organization announced its initial ballot of 100 hopefuls spanning more than 100 years of players statewide.

The first class will feature 36 entries of former state stars that have been out of high school football for at least eight years and have retired from football.

Athens High School legend Fran Tarkenton is one of nine automatic inductees, the organization announced last month, which are inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Former UGA two-way star Champ Bailey and former Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson are also members of the inaugural class.

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The final 27 players will come from the list of 100. More than  Thirty-five former UGA players are on the ballot, including Ray Goff of Moultrie High, defensive back Scott Woerner of Jonesboro High, QB Buck Belue of Valdosta, RB Garrison Hearst of Lincoln County, QB Eric Zeier of Marietta, LB Randall Godfrey of Lowndes, WR Hines Ward, David Pollack, D.J. Shockley, Hutson Mason and more. 

Players are from eight eras, from pre-1950s through the 2000s.

Aside from Tarkenton, three other players from the Athens-area are on the initial ballot.

Andy Johnson, Athens High School (1960s era)

A quarterback who led Athens High to a co-state title with Valdosta in 1969, the last before the school integrated in 1970 to form Clarke Central, Johnson is listed as a running back for the 36-member committee selecting members of the Georgia High School Hall of Fame to consider.

Johnson attended the University of Georgia, where he played quarterback for the Bulldogs before a nine-year career as running back in the NFL for New England.

Johnson is inducted in the Athens Athletic Hall of Fame and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. He passed away in 2018 at 65.

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The halftime score bored as Clarke Central head to the lockeroom during an GHSA high school playoff football game between Clarke Central and Calhoun in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Calhoun won 33-14. (Photo/Joshua L. Jones, Athens Banner-Herald)

Runt Moon, Commerce High School (1970s era)

Ronald "Runt" Moon's 2,501 yards in the 1973 season still ranks 22nd on the all-time Georgia single-season rushing record books. At the time, he had shattered every high school record held in the state when he passed Jimmy Barefield's 2,323 yards from 18 years prior. The record stood until a blossoming star named Herschel Walker broke it six years later. He led the Tigers to the state finals during his senior season.

His 72 touchdowns still ranks 29th in the state, one more than Hearst and two more than Jahmyr Gibbs, who transferred from Georgia Tech to Alabama in the offseason.

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Monte Williams, Commerce High School (2000s era)

Williams' 8,844 yards rushing from 1997-2000 still ranks No. 1 in Georgia, 700 yards more for a high school career than second-best Washaun Ealey of Emanuel County Institute.

His 2,505 rushing yards in 2000 broke Moon's school record by four yards and helped lead the Tigers to their second state title. His 50-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes remaining propelled them past Lincoln County in the Class A semifinals in the Georgia Dome.

He followed that performance with 287 yards rushing at home against Buford to win the Class A finals, 27-19.

Williams still sits tied for fourth on the state's all-time touchdown record with 105, one of just seven players with more than 100 rushing touchdowns in their career.