Eddie McAshan

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Eddie McAshan
Place of birth: Gainesville, Florida
Career information
Position(s): Quarterback
College: Georgia Tech
NFL Draft: 1973 / Round: 17 / Pick: 420
Organizations
As player:
1973
1974
New England Patriots
Jacksonville Sharks (WFL)

Edward 'Eddie' McAshan, III was born the son of a mortician in Gainesville, Florida. He was a successful college quarterback for Georgia Tech and became one of the most famous athletes in college football history for being the first African American to start at quarterback for a major Southeastern university.[1]

High school[edit]

Eddie began his football career as the first African American quarterback to play for predominantly white Gainesville High School. Over the years of 1966-1968, he threw for 61 touchdowns (top 20 all-time Florida career touchdowns). His high school quarterbacking was good enough to be noticed by Georgia Tech head coach Bud Carson.

College[edit]

McAshan would become the first African American football player to start for Georgia Tech.[1] Carson started McAshan in 1970 as a sophomore and McAshan would go on to set several career records for Georgia Tech (which have since been broken by Shawn Jones and Joe Hamilton). McAshan's first career start was on September 12, 1970 against South Carolina.[2] His start marked the first time that an African American had ever started at quarterback for a major Southeastern university and McAshan did not disappoint. He rallied Tech with a fourth quarter deficit, defeating the Gamecocks 23-20 with two late touchdown drives.[2]

Over McAshan's career, he passed for 32 touchdowns. His most notable single game performance came against Rice in 1972 when he threw 5 touchdown passes. In this game he also threw five interceptions, so the game ended in a tie.[3] Over the years of McAshan's quarterbacking, Georgia Tech would ramble and wreck off a 22-13-1 record.[4]

McAshan was the first scholarship African-American for Tech while the first walk-on African-American football player at Tech was defensive back/returner Karl "PeeWee" Barnes who lettered in 1971-72. The second scholarship player was running back Greg Horne from Atlanta and the third was linebacker Joe Harris, an eventual NFL career player. Harris still holds the single season record for tackles in a season at 188.

McAshan was noted for feats of great athleticism and composure. In 1972, Georgia Tech played Tennessee in Atlanta. McAshan had suffered a poor outing with 5 interceptions but one moment stood out in the game for Tech fans. Tech had finally put a drive together and made it to the UT 20 yard line. McAshan took the snap from center and dropped back to pass. As he was preparing to throw, a Tennessee defender pressed his throwing arm into his chest so McAshan switched the ball to his other hand and threw to an open tailback in the end zone. The tailback, who had given up on the play after seeing the almost sack, dropped the wide open touchdown. The game ended in a 17-6 loss for Georgia Tech.

McAshan was also notorious for throwing interceptions setting a GT record of 51 career interceptions, which was not broken until 2006 by Reggie Ball.

In 1972, Bud Carson was fired from Georgia Tech and McAshan's relationship with new head coach Bill Fulcher was strained. The week before the 1972 Georgia game, McAshan asked Fulcher for four additional tickets so his family could attend the game in Athens. Fulcher denied the request so McAshan skipped the next practice in protest. Fulcher suspended McAshan for the next two games, which were the Georgia loss and the Liberty Bowl victory over Iowa State.[5][6] During the Georgia game, McAshan sat in a white limousine with Jesse Hill right outside the stadium.[1] McAshan was eventually kicked off the team by Fulcher and declared for the National Football League draft as a senior in 1972. Eddie McAshan finished his Georgia Tech career with 4,262 yards of offense, 35 total touchdowns, a 62.5% (20-12-1) winning percentage, two bowl game appearances, and a 1970 victory over archrival UGA. (This last statement is false. McAshan did not play in the 1970 game in Athens, won by Georgia Tech by the score of 17-7. Jack Williams started, and ended, the game for the Yellow Jackets.)[1]

Professional[edit]

Eddie went on to be drafted by the New England Patriots in the 17th round as the 420th pick overall in the 1973 NFL Draft.[7] He was eventually cut and attempted a stint with the Jacksonville Sharks of the World Football League and saw action in the 1974-1975 seasons until the WFL collapsed.[8]

Eddie returned to Georgia Tech and completed his degree in industrial management in 1979.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Lapchick, Richard (2007-02-05). "Georgia Tech's McAshan helped pave the way". ESPN Black History Month (ESPN). Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  2. ^ a b "GA. Tech Beats South Carolina". New York Times. 1970-09-13. pp. S9. 
  3. ^ a b "Sports Briefs". Tech Topics (Georgia Tech Alumni Association). Summer 1995. Archived from the original on 2007-01-30. Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  4. ^ "1970-1974 Georgia Tech Game by Game Results". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  5. ^ "Black Star Suspended by Georgia Tech". New York Times. 1972-12-02. 
  6. ^ "Personalities: McAshan To Miss Liberty Bowl". New York Times. 1972-12-08. 
  7. ^ "Q is for Quarterback". Pro Football. 1976. Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  8. ^ "1974 World Football League Summary". Retrieved 2007-05-15.