Zanders to be inducted into JSU hall of fame Nov. 5

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Emanuel Zanders entered Jackson State University with the dream of playing in the National Football League.

And that dream came true in 1974 when the New Orleans Saints drafted him into the NFL.

But the dream began back in college, and Zanders has many memories from his times there.

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“My favorite moment from college ball would have to be playing with Walter Payton, one of the greatest backs of all times,” Zanders said.

Zanders, a hometown Demopolis legend, played eight seasons in the NFL, spending 1974-1980 with the Saints before heading to the Chicago Bears for his final season in 1981.

He played a total of 99 games in his NFL career.

“My favorite moment in the NFL was the first game I played in,” Zanders said.

“It was Monday night football against Joe Green, and that’s when my career first started.”

As far as accomplishments are concerned, one doesn’t have to look far to see what Zanders has done through his time playing the game of football.

“My biggest accomplishment in my playing career was being inducted into the 25th all-star team for the Saints and the Jackson State hall of fame as well,” Zanders said.

Zanders will be inducted into the Jackson State University hall of fame on November 5th, and he’s ecstatic about joining an elite group.

“To be inducted into the Jackson State hall of fame is one of the highest moments of my life,” Zanders said.

“A lot of great players played there and to go in with some of these guys really means a lot to me.

It’s collegiate talent at its best.”

Growing up, Zanders’ parents played a large role in the man he would one day become.

“The biggest role models in my life would have to be my mother and father,” Zanders said.

“My father passed away when I was young and my mother was a hard working person, and she’s still living at 94.”

For those young athletes who believe they have the potential to make it to the pros, Zanders has a few words of advice.

“If I could say one thing to an up-and-coming NFL player, it would be to stay focused, be humble, and be a role model,” Zanders said.

“Because kids do look up to you.”

Overall, Zanders’ career has been one filled with excitement and adventure.

And he thanks his hometown for much of what he has accomplished.

“I thank the community where I grew up in Demopolis,” Zanders said.

“And that’s really what moved me in my career.”