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Billy Cannon - 1959 Heisman Memorial Trophy Winner

Dr. Billy Cannon is among the most heralded and identifiable college football players in NCAA history and is largely responsible for the emergence of big-time football at LSU.

Cannon, who was born in Mississippi and raised in Baton Rouge, was the winner of the 1959 Heisman Memorial Trophy as a halfback, and he led the Tigers to the 1958 national championship. His No. 20 jersey was retired by LSU in 1959. He was inducted into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He was named the 2010 LSU Alumnus of the Year by the LSU Alumni Association.

Cannon, a two-time football All-American and SEC Player of the Year, was a rare athlete, combining tremendous speed and strength. An SEC champion sprinter for LSU's track and field team, he ran a 9.5 in the 100-yard dash and also competed in the shot put, recording a mark of 57-4. At 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, he had the size to overpower his opponents.

He was an immediate standout on the gridiron as a sophomore in 1957, and as a junior in 1958, he was the driving force behind the Tigers' perfect 10-0 national championship season. He passed for a touchdown and kicked the extra point in LSU's 7-o win over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl to earn MVP honors.

Cannon's most memorable performance came on Halloween Night 1959 in Tiger Stadium. Top-ranked LSU trailed third-ranked Ole Miss, 3-o, early in the fourth quarter when he fielded a punt at the LSU 11 and broke seven tackles on his way to a touchdown, as the Tigers won 7-3. The 89-yard return helped cement the Heisman Trophy for Cannon and is regarded as the most storied play in LSU football history.

In his three-year LSU career from 1957-59, he rushed for 1,867 yards on 359 carries and scored 24 touchdowns, and he caught 32 passes for 522 yards and two touchdowns. He returned 31 punts for 349 yards and 21 kickoffs for 616 yards, punted 111 times and intercepted seven passes.

Cannon played 11 years in professional football, the first 10 in the American Football League, helping lead the Houston Oilers to AFL titles in 1961 and 1962, and the Oakland Raiders to a berth in Super Bowl II.

He earned his D.D.S. at the University of Tennessee and a master's degree at Loyola University in Chicago. He worked for more than 20 years as the Director of Dentistry at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, where the patients he treated called him "Legend".

Cannon and his wife, Dorothy Dupuy Cannon, raised five children, Terri, Gina, Dara, Billy Jr. and Bunnie.

Cannon always attributed his success at LSU to his teammates, saying,"It's all about the team, and if the team is successful, then you'll have your day in the sun."

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