Black History Spotlight: Pee Dee native is star on and off the field

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 5:52 AM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A star on both the gridiron and hardwood for the Silver Foxes, Levon Kirkland made his way to the Upstate and saw similar success at Clemson.

While in college, Kirkland was a force for the Tigers defense in the late-80s and early-90s, earning All-American honors and receiving numerous accolades once he left the school. Those include being named to the All-Centennial Team, inducted into the school’s Hall of game in 2001, and recently being selected for Clemson’s Ring of Honor in 2019.

Of course, anybody that achieves those feats should definitely make a living in the NFL and Kirkland did just that. He was selected in the second round of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Steelers and became a starter in just his second season. Kirkland, known for his speed and agility despite his size, would become a fixture in Pittsburgh, making the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams twice and being named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 90s.

The Lamar native still holds a record to this day as he has the most consecutive starts by a left inside linebacker with 107 from November 1994 through December 2000.

Following the end of his playing career in 2002, Kirkland returned to Clemson to get his degree and then ventured into coaching, ultimately getting back to the NFL where he recently served as the outside linebackers coach for the Arizona Cardinals.

Now, Kirkland is paying it forward to the next generation of gridiron stars. He’s currently the vice president of development for the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame.

He also educates student-athletes across the country on the college recruiting process as an educational speaker for the National Collegiate Scouting Association

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