The 100 Moments of TSU Athletics presented by Taco Bell® series continues by remembering one Tennessee State Tiger who made football history.
In 1968, former Big Blue quarterback Eldridge Dickey became the first African-American quarterback to ever get drafted by an AFL or NFL team. The Oakland Raiders used their first round pick on Dickey who had been an All-American his last two seasons.
While at TSU, Dickey set multiple records including the most passes attempted and the most passes completed with 805 and 430, respectively. He also set the career mark in career passing yards until Joe "747" Adams came along to break the record a decade later.
As a sophomore in 1965, Dickey led the Tigers to their fifth Black College National Championship and a perfect 9-0 regular season record. The Tigers played Ball St. in the Grantland Rice Bowl that year, tying the game at 14 apiece.
A year later, Dickey enjoyed his finest season- throwing for 1,812 yards and 25 touchdowns. Again, Dickey and the Tigers won the Black College National Championship with a 9-0 regular season. The Tigers started the year by beating North Carolina A&T and Texas Southern by a combined score of 107-0. Dickey followed those two games with a career-best 343-yard performance against Grambling.
In the final game of the 1966 season, the Tigers defeated Kentucky State 83-0- the fourth highest margin of victory in TSU history. After the game, the Tigers were invited to play in the Grantland Rice Bowl for the second time in as many years and this time the Tigers came out on top, beating Muskingum 34-7.
In 1967, Dickey was selected to Pittsburgh Courier's All-American team for the second consecutive year. The team went 6-3 that season, but the Tigers ended the year on a five game winning streak.
The Raiders used the 25th overall pick in the 1968 NFL Draft to select Dickey, but he ended up never playing a snap at quarterback as the coaches elected him to play receiver. Still, Dickey being chosen as a quarterback paved the way for other legendary African-American quarterbacks such as Warren Moon and Donovan McNabb.
The 100 Moments of TSU Athletics presented by Taco Bell® highlights some of the greatest moments in honor of Tennessee State's centennial celebration. A new moment will be released each weekday for a total of 100. These moments were chosen by the TSU 100 Moments committee, which consists of alums from various departments. TSU has so many great moments, not all can be represented in these 100.
Sports Information Assistant Alex Mitchell contributed to this article.