By BILL BURRUS
The late Kent Hull will join the newly formed Mississippi State Ring of Honor at Davis Wade Stadium during halftime of Saturday’s Auburn game.
The Pontotoc native and longtime Greenwood resident, who died last October at age 50, will be honored during a ceremony on the field that his family will take part in. Hull is the lone player joining the Ring of Honor this year and will be the fifth overall — joining last year’s first class: former players Johnie Cooks, D.D. Lewis and Jackie Parker and former radio announcer Jack Cristil.
Hull was a four-year starter at center for MSU from 1979 to 1982. He was a consensus first-team All-SEC Freshman selection in 1979 and a preseason All-America pick in 1982.
Hull was the center for one of the more memorable games in Bulldog history, a 6-3 victory over top-ranked Alabama in 1980 in Jackson. He helped pave the way for a Mississippi State option attack which set school records for rushing yards and total offense — some that still stand today.
MSU associate athletic director for development Straton Karatassos said it will be an emotional ceremony Saturday when his longtime friend’s name is unveiled at Davis Wade Stadium.
“I will be so proud but at the same time heartbroken that Kent is not here to be a part of it,” said Karatassos, who was the school’s trainer during Hull’s playing days. “Kent Hull loved Mississippi State, so it’s good to know that his name will be forever linked to Mississippi State football.”
Kay Hull, Kent’s wife of 27 years before his untimely death last year, will take part in the halftime ceremony along with her two children, Drew and Ellen. She, too, says it will be an emotional day.
“It’s such a great honor, one that I know would mean so much to Kent. Although he won’t be here in body, I know he will be in spirit,” she said.
Mike McEnany of Tampa, Fla., Hull’s former teammate and roommate at MSU, said he couldn’t think of a more deserving ex-Bulldog for this honor.
“Kent was a great representative for Mississippi State. He loved that place so deeply, and some of that had to do with his love for the underdog. MSU was certainly an underdog in the SEC during that time,” said McEnany, a former Bulldog defensive end.
“I was so proud to watch my good friend leave Mississippi State and go on to great things in the NFL, but I can tell you this: He may have left Mississippi State, but Mississippi State was always in his heart. He was a Mississippi State guy to the core.”
After three years in the USFL, Hull played in 189 games for the Buffalo Bills from 1986 until 1996 and started in four straight Super Bowls. He played in three straight Pro Bowls (1988 to 1990) and was named All-Pro in 1990 and 1991.
In 2002, Hull became the 19th member of the Wall of Fame at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo. He joined the Mississippi State Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
Follow on Twitter:@Bill_Burrus