Kirkland Voted Into South Carolina Athletic Hall Of Fame

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The interview Levon Kirkland did Tuesday morning with Dan Scott on 104.9 FM, The Drive in Clemson is available on the station's website -

Former Clemson linebacker Levon Kirkland is one of seven sports figures chosen for induction into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Class of 2008 also includes Mike Dunleavy, of University of South Carolina and NBA fame; NFL defensive stalwart Ernie Jackson of Duke; 13-year Major League Baseball pitcher Bob Bolin; LPGA golf star Dottie Pepper of Furman; high school basketball coach Carl Williams and the late USC sports information director Tom Price.

Kirkland, a Lamar native, excelled at linebacker for Clemson and later in the NFL.

In 1991, Kirkland made first-team All-American (by Sporting News, Kodak-AFCA, Scripps-Howard and Walter Camp) and second team by UPI and Football News. As a junior in 1990, he made second team All-America by AP and UPI, and a Butkus Award finalist. When he left Clemson, Kirkland ranked No. 6 in career sacks with 19 and No. 8 in career tackles for losses with 40, and tied for No. 2 in fumble recoveries with seven.

He stood out in Clemson's No. 1-ranked rushing defense in 1991 and No. 1 ranked total defense in 1990. He earned MVP honors in the Mazda Gator Bowl with nine tackles, a sack and three QB pressures.

He joined the Pittsburgh Steelers as a No. 2 pick in 1992 and made All-Pro in 1996 and 1997 and became the NFL's highest paid linebacker in 1990. In Super Bowl XXX, he recorded 10 tackles and a sack. He played with the Eagles in 2002. Jerome Bettis called Kirkland "the toughest linebacker I've ever gone against."

He made Clemson's All-Centennial team in 1996 and ranked No. 8 on the list of all-time Clemson players in 1999 as selected by a panel of historians. Clemson inducted Kirkland into it Hall of Fame in 2001. He returned to Clemson in 2004 to earn his degree, and now works in the school's admission office in the recruitment of minority students.

Kirkland and the others will be inducted on May 19 in the annual blue jacket ceremony at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The banquet begins at 5:30 with a reception followed by dinner at 6:30. Tickets ($500 for a table of eight), as well as ads, can be purchased by contacting the SCAHOF office at 1310 Lady Street, 9th floor, Columbia, SC (803-770-0905).

In addition to the inductions, several other awards will be presented, including the Bobby Richardson Sportsmanship Award. Some 40 past inductees will return for the banquet's famous parade- of-stars entrance to the banquet hall.

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