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Top All-Time SEC Offensive Football Player

Frank Sinkwich
University of Georgia Bulldogs (1939-1942)

Frances Frank "Flatfoot" Sinkwich was born on October 10, 1920 in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburg. His parents were Croatian immigrants from Russia. The family later moved to Youngstown, Ohio, which is credited as his hometown to this day.

Sinkwich excelled in athletics at Chaney High School in Youngstown, after which he went on to the University of Georgia and played under coach Wally Butts. Incidentally, Coach Butts was the designer of the "Silver Britches" uniform that the Bulldogs wear to this day. [For more about Georgia's "Silver Britches" tradition see SEC Football Traditions.]

Frank Sinkwich was a two-time All-America selection while at the University of Georgia, and led the Bulldogs to an 11-1 season in 1942. They also clenched the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship and a Rose Bowl victory over UCLA that year. [Georgia shared the 1942 National Championship with Ohio State.] He was voted the top athlete in America in a 1942 in poll by the Associated Press.

The runner-up to Frank was Ted Williams, who was the American League Batting and Home Run Champion that same year. To defeat such a decorated baseball player, a football player would have to really shine. Obviously, Sinkwich did just that. In fact, he shined so brightly, that Frank won the 1942 Heisman Trophy - the first player from the South to win the Nation's top college football award.

In three years at Georgia, Sinkwich accounted for 60 touchdowns, exactly half of which were rushing and half passing. During his time off the field, Sinkwich managed to make it to class and earned his Bachelor of Science in Education.

Sinkwich joined the US Marines after graduating college. When he received his Heisman Trophy after graduation, he did so in his uniform. However, Sinkwich didn't have much of a future with Uncle Sam, as he was chosen as number one draft pick in the NFL in 1943 and was able to receive a medical discharge (due to having flat feet) in order to go and play for the Detroit Lions.

While playing for the Lions, Sinkwich earned All-Pro Recognition in 1943 and 1944, as well as the Most Valuable Player in the NFL award in 1944. Still, he couldn't seem to shake the military and eventually served in the Army Air Forces and the Merchant Marines. Sinkwich sustained an injury to his knee in 1945 that ended his football career.

Frank Sinkwich was never forgotten as the phenomenal football player that he was. In 1954, ten years after leaving the NFL and twelve years after leaving the University of Georgia, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. His Georgia Bulldogs Jersey #21 is one of four numbers the school has retired in its history.

October 22, 1990 was a dark day for college football fans that knew and loved Frank Sinkwich. He passed away after a long battle with illness, just 12 days after his 70th birthday. No one felt the grief more than the University of Georgia. Decades after his graduation, he was still regaled as one of (if not the) best players to ever grace their football field. His name is permanently inscribed in the school's history and will never be forgotten.

Another Georgia Bulldog running back (Herschel Walker) might be the best all-time college football player. But, Frank Sinkwich accomplished similar feats in a very different era. We think Frank Sinkwich should be recognized as the Top All-Time SEC Offensive Football Player.

Here's the story of the Georgia Bulldog's two Heisman Trophy Winners: Frank Frank Sinkwich and Herschel Walker.

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I grew up several streets over from Frank Sinkwich Street in Youngstown, OH. I would like to know more about the greatest runner in the SEC. Any ideas? …

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