Former NFL star and Americus High alum Kent Hill claims it was his work in the classroom that got him ahead in sports. “I was nowhere nears the best athlete on the football field,” Hill said. “But one of the things that kept me ahead was the fact that I was a good student. It was about preparation and understanding the way you conduct yourself.” Hill, along with Leonard Pope and Dan Reeves were former ASHS alumni presented a golden football by the National Football League for participating in the Super Bowl, a football which the players in turn presented to the high school. This was part of the NFL’s High School Honor Roll initiative that recognizes schools and communities that have contributed to Super Bowl history. Hill played with the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV, Pope played with the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLILL. Reeves participated in an astonishing total of nine Super Bowls, two as a player for the Dallas Cowboys, three as an assistant coach for the Cowboys, three as head coach of the Denver Broncos and one as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Like Hill, Reeves stressed the importance of education in all he achieved on the gridiron. “I thank God every day for the teachers I had here who told me, ‘Dan, you can be the greatest athlete to come out of the state of Georgia, but if you don’t have the right grades, you’re not going to get into the college of your choice,” Reeves said. “The thing that I want to stress to you is your education. A sporting career can be gone in a New York second, but your education will stay with you throughout your life.” Pope recently went back to his alma mater the University of Georgia and completed his degree program. He advised students at ASHS to work hard to achieve their goals academically: “Keep going, keep doing your best, and keep your head down,” he said.