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Jessie Tuggle


Jessie Floyd Tuggle, Jr.

Inducted 2007

Date of Birth



Spalding County, GA


Valdosta State University (1983-1986)


Throughout his career, linebacker Jessie Tuggle was always thought of as too small and too slow to play. He was un-recruited by any Division I school so he went to Division II Valdosta State. After his college career, he was undrafted, yet managed to play 14 seasons in the NFL and appeared in five Pro Bowls. His 5-10, 180 pound size out of high school left him with only two scholarship offers. Once at Valdosta, he began to silence all who doubted him. At VSU, Tuggle lettered all four years and made the All-Gulf South Conference team for three consecutive years. Tuggle captured the school's Hugh C. Bailey Player of the Year Award twice. He gained All-America status as a senior. After his career, Valdosta State retired his #88 and named its athletic workout facility the Jessie Tuggle Strength and Fitness complex. The naming of the training center after Tuggle is well earned as it was his work ethic and preparation that made him a Hall of Fame performer. "I've tried my whole life to work hard and prepare myself for that opportunity when it comes around," he said. "It doesn't do you any good to get a chance if you're not prepared to take advantage of it." In addition to hard work he was also known for being a hard hitter that earned him the nickname "The Hammer." In the NFL, he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Atlanta Falcons and was 17th on the depth chart before working himself into a Pro Bowl player. After football, Jessie Tuggle has devoted a great deal of his time to charitable efforts.


Height 5'11

Weight 230

Career Highlights

  • 1986 All-Conference
  • 1986 Conference MVP
  • 1986 First Team All-America (FCS)
  • 1985 All-Conference
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