was a four-year letterman at Valdosta State from 1983-86 and
was a three-time All-Gulf South Conference selection. As a
senior he was a consensus All-American after recording 129
tackles. He was a two-time recipient of the Hugh C.
Bailey Player of the Year
award at VSU. His Jersey #88 was retired at Valdosta State,
where he was also inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in
1997 and named Distinguished Alumnus in 2002. He signed
with the Atlanta Falcons as a free agent in 1987 and went on
to start for the Falcons at middle linebacker from 1989-2000.
He played in 209 games, helping to lead Atlanta to four
playoff appearances, including Super Bowl XXXIII. He played in
the Pro Bowl in 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 1999 and holds the
NFL record for career touchdowns off fumble recoveries
He had 12 straight seasons with over 100
tackles. He was named Falcons "Man of the Year" in
1993, served as United Way national spokesperson in 1995-96
and the athletic workout facility at Valdosta State is named
the Jessie Tuggle Strength and Fitness Complex.
"It's an honor for me to be thought of in these terms, as
one of the best from Division II," said Tuggle.
"Division II has produced a lot of great football
players. I appreciate the opportunity I received from
Valdosta. They gave me a chance and that's all you can ask.
It's up to you to be prepared to take advantage of those
chances. Fortunately, I was able to do that."