Billy Cannon History
by Kavin Caruso
Billy Cannon was the only Heisman winner that played for the LSU Tigers. Billy Cannon played for the LSU Tigers from 1957-1959. He won the Heisman in 1959 by beating Richie Lucas of Penn State. In 1958 he finished 3rd behind Randy Duncan and Pete Dawkins. Pete Dawkins won the award. In his junior season, he took the LSU Tigers to an undefeated season and won the national championship. LSU would not win another championship until 2004 under Nick Saban.
In 1959, Billy had a monster year. Bill Cannon had an average of 14.7 yards in punt returns. He ran for 221 yards in punt return. He was very fast.
His biggest punt return was against Ole Miss on Halloween in Baton Rouge. Down 3-0, with 10 minutes to play, Cannon received the ball at the 11yard line and ran past 11 players from Ole Miss. He scored an 89 yard touchdown; LSU now leads the game 6-3. LSU ended up winning 7-3.
But here’s something that happened before game ended a 7-3 LSU win.
Ole Miss started to run the ball down the field by quarterback Jake Gibbs. Ole Miss thought they would win this one. Billy Cannon and Warren Rabb stopped Ole Miss at the 1 yard line with 18 seconds to play.
Billy Cannon won the Heisman Trophy and guided LSU to the Sugar Bowl where they met Ole Miss once again. This time Ole Miss won the game 21-0. LSU finished with a 9-2 record plus finished in the top 10. LSU finished the season at number 3 in the AP Polls. They finished right behind Ole Miss; number 1 that season was Syracuse.
In 1960, Billy Cannon was drafted number 1 pick by AFL Houston Oilers. He played for the Houston Oilers from 1960-1963. In the 1960 AFL Championship, Billy Cannon scored an 88 yard touchdown pass by George Blanda. Houston Oilers beat the Los Angeles Chargers 24-16. In 1961, he led the league in rushing plus he had a total of 2,043 in all purpose yards. Billy ran for 948 yards and had a 4.74 rushing average. He was that quick.
In 1961, Houston again won the AFL Championship against San Diego.
In 1964, Al Davis signed Billy to the Oakland Raiders. There he played for the Raiders from 1964-1969. He was converted as tight end and helped the Raiders go to the Super Bowl in 1967 season. He finished his career as a Kansas City Chief in 1970. Billy Cannon had a total of 64 touchdowns, 47 of them were receiving. Billy Cannon had a 3,656 receiving career yards. He had 2,455 career rushing yards and 1,882 return yards. He finished with 8,003 total yards for his career.
After he retired, he got a D.D.S degree at the University of Tennessee. He became an orthodontist and was in real estate. He didn’t have much success in real estate and in fact he also gambled and he was forced to pay back. Billy Cannon was involved in counterfeiting scheme and served 2.5 years of a 5 year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, Texarkana.
He printed $50 million in U.S. 100 dollar bills. He was released in 1986, but had a hard time getting his life back in track. He has a son name Billy Cannon Jr. He played for the Texas A&M as a linebacker in the 80’s. He got drafted in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys in 1984.