700 Procter St. :: Port Arthur, Texas :: (409) 982-7000
Jerry Levias
(1946)

When Jerry LeVias started as an end for SMU in the September 24, 1966 game against the University of Illinois, he changed the Southwest Conference forever. LeVias was the first black to receive an athletic scholarship in the SWC. Born in Beaumont, Texas, Jerry had played quarterback for Hebert High School. He was small (5'9" and 177 pounds) but made up for it with his great speed, as evidenced in three touchdown runs of over 70 yards each in a 21-8 victory over rival Booker T. Washington. Unlike his cousins, Mel and Miller Farr, he chose to attend college in the SWC. At Southern Methodist University, LeVias made athletic and academic All-America teams and contributed to the Mustangs' first SWC title in 18 years. His records as a receiver still stand: 15 passes caught in one game (Ohio State, 1968); 80 passes caught in one season (1968); 155 career catches; 1,131 yards receiving (1968); 2,275 career yards receiving; tied SWC record of three touchdown receptions in one game; tied season record of eight TD receptions; set career TD reception mark of 22 touchdown passes caught. He was a consensus All-America, 1968; won the Ft. Worth Kiwanis Club Award for Sportsmanship, 1968; was Most Valuable Back and Player in the Senior Bowl, January 11, 1969, at Mobile, Alabama; and was the Most Valuable Lineman in the American Bowl, Tampa. He was chosen All-SWC in 1966, 1967, and 1968. Considered too small for the NFL, LeVias became Rookie of the Year as a wide receiver for the Houston Oilers in 1969. LeVias was one of the most exciting players in Oiler history. He caught 41 passes for 529 yards and five touchdowns in 1970 and also returned 25 punts for 213 yards and an 8.5 average. He returned 26 kickoffs for 596 yards and a 23.0 average. LeVias set the AFL record in his rookie year for combined punt and kickoff returns with 73 in one season. He caught an 86-yard touchdown pass that year for the AFL's longest and had a 63 yarder in 1970. LeVias was called the most exciting player in the SWC since Doak Walker. He was traded to San Diego in 1971 where he had only moderate success, leading the team with 30 catches for 536 yards, a 17.9 average, and three touchdowns in 1973. He played for the Chargers through the 1974 season.

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