One of the best players to ever put on an LSU football uniform has passed away as the school confirmed that legendary Tigers star and the 1959 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon died on Sunday morning at the age of 80.
Cannon was well known for his versatility on the gridiron, playing halfback, fullback, tight end, defensive back and as a return man over the years. His electrifying 89–yard punt return for a touchdown in the final minutes win over No. 3 Ole Miss on Halloween is widely regarded as one of the biggest plays in LSU history and played a key role in him winning the 1959 Heisman Trophy. He had powered the Tigers to the national title the year prior as part of a storied undefeated run that was capped off by a win over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl where Cannon scored the game’s only points.
After his college career, Cannon was selected as the first overall pick in both the 1960 NFL and AFL Drafts and played professionally for the Houston Oilers, Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. He was inducted into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975 and the the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
A mainstay at games and practices in Baton Rouge over the years, Cannon later became a dentist in the area and eventually had his No. 20 retired by LSU.