He won the first Heisman Trophy ever awarded to a southern college football player. But Frank Sinkwich might never have played at the University of Georgia if a recruiter hadn't stopped for gas.
Sinkwich was born in 1920 in Pennsylvania and grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. UGA assistant coach Bill Hartman was recruiting another player when he stopped for gas in Youngstown. He heard that the best player in the state lived right down the street.
Sinkwich was soon on his way to play football at Georgia for coach Wally Butts. He broke his jaw in 1941 and played with a large protector on his helmet and his jaw wired shut. He still earned All-American honors, leading Georgia to an Orange Bowl victory.
The next year Sinkwich scored 27 touchdowns—still a UGA record— and led Georgia to a Rose Bowl victory over UCLA, made All-American again, and won the 1942 Heisman Trophy.
Drafted by the NFL's Detroit Lions, he was the league MVP in 1944 before a career-ending knee injury.
One of the greatest players in college football history was born on October 10, 1920, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.