Tag Archives: ut ud 2011 ata

Jones, John (Wesley) ‘Lam’

Cards: University of Texas Upper Deck 2011, University of Texas Upper Deck 2011 ATA, University of Texas 2011 NCAA, University of Texas 2011 Icons
Acquired: IP 1/21/2017, Houston Sports Collectibles Show- Waco, TX

An impressive track man with fleet caliber speed, Johnny ‘Lam’ Jones was a deep bomb threat at the University of Texas from 1976-1979.  Originally a runningback, Lam was switched to receiver in 1977 when coaches were blown away by his speed.  Case in point, Jones was part of a 4×100 relay team for the United States, that won gold in Montreal in 1976.  In 1977 he demonstrated his speed recording 21 catches for 543 yards, a whopping 25.9 yards per grab, and 7 TDs.  He finished his career at UT with 156 carries for 850 yards and 6 TDs, to go along with 85 receptions for 1603 yards and 14 TDs. Jones was also a capable kick returner with 28 kick returns for 589 yards and a TD.

The New York Jets were enamored with Jones’ speed and big play ability, and traded up in the 1980 draft to the #2 overall spot to grab him. It was a stiff price to pay, and while Lam averaged a healthy 16.8 yards per grab over his career, the price tag was too much for NY to bear.  John’s best season came in 1983 when he caught 43 balls for 734 yards and 4 TDs.  His career was defined by trauma, as in 4 consecutive seasons it was ended by some sort of malaise.  He’d be cut in 1986 and retire.

Jones descended into darkness. Drug and alcohol abuse, and bad decisions really impacted his life. It took many years for Lam to climb out.  Lam found focus in his life and dedicated himself to helping others avoid the same problems he encountered through public speaking.

John was really nice to fans at the Collectible Show in Waco. He and I talked at lengths about how Austin and I-35 had changed. While he discussed with me his Myeloma Cancer and the fact that his doctor told him in 2005 he’d be dead in a year in a half- indeed the cancer has returned and he is no longer in remission. He really liked the icons card that I had of his, and I agreed to send him one to keep.

I don’t mind long drives for autographs. In fact this one seemed close enough at a click over 100 miles. The drives are always purifying to me- something that clears my mind, with a reward pegged at the end. This drive was particularly interesting as it took me an alternative route from Bastrop to Temple and through places like Bartlett and Little River. It was a bit off the beaten path, but I felt like my own explorer in a strange land.  I had never been to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame where this signing was at, but it was woefully short on Houston Oilers history, and long enough to display memorabilia from KS Bud Adams.  It’s worth a look see at least once for fans and casuals alike.

G/Gs 61/38     Rec 138    Yds 2322    Avg 16.8     TD  13    LG 55

Westbrook, Bryant

Cards:  University of Texas Upper Deck 2011, UT UD 2011 All-Time Alumni, Press Pass 1997
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Work
Sent:  11/14  Received: 11/26  (12 days)

A feared and hard hitting cornerback with sizzling speed who played at the University of Texas from 1993-1996, Bryant Westbrook is one of the more lauded members of DBU. He earned SWC Honors second-team All-American his senior year, in addition to first-team selections in both the last year of the Southwest Conference, and the first year of the Big 12. He finished his career at UT with 9 interceptions, 30 passed defensed, 6 forced fumbles, 183 tackles, and 2 blocked kicks.

With the hype train in full swing Westbrook’s draft stock spiked up the charts. He was selected with the 6th pick overall by the Detroit Lions in the 1997 NFL Draft, as the second DB off the board.

Bryant had a pretty solid rookie year. He deflected 20 passes- as QBs tested him early and often in his career. Nonetheless he intercepted his first pass from Dan Marino and returned it 62 yards for a TD that year. Bryant landed on the All-Rookie Team at the conclusion of the season.
During 1998, he posted another 19 pass deflections, 3 interceptions, and an 34 yard pick six of Trent Dilfer (TB).  Westbrook suffered a bumpy 1999 as the nicks and tears piled up. He’d be shelved after 8 contests.

Westbrook returned with a vengeance, as he posted his best season as a pro in 2000. Named as a Pro Bowl alternate, he started 13 games and recorded 6 interceptions for 126 yards including a door-blowing 101 yard pick off and score courtesy of Drew Bledsoe of the Patriots.
Disappointingly he’d miss the last 3 games of the season due to a ruptured Achillies.

It was tough for Bryant, because the next season was a contract year, so he had to get back to the game.  He managed to play in 9 contests in 2001 and recorded an interception, but due to his injury, it was obvious that he had lost a step.

Bryant signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 2002.  He’d start the opening contest against the Houston Texans, but the Texans had studied the film and knew that Bryant was a liability. He’d be picked on consistently when he was in the lineup in the Texans’ upset 19-10 victory.  The Cowboys quickly cut him and Westbrook joined the Green Bay Packers and made a pick before the end of the season.  The team hoped to convert him to safety in 2003, but he ruptured his other Achillies- effectively bringing his career to an end.

No regrets for Westbrook however, as he’s giving back to the game by coaching (as of 2017) High School football in Arizona. He signed these 4 cards in no time flat for me.

Come on Upper Deck. You could of done better. The 2011 base card is terrible. Rule number one of something you are going to create in a graphics program for production- never ever noticeably stretch an image. I mean the top of Bryant’s helmet makes him look like he’s got a modified Gazoo on. His All-Time Alumni and NCAA All American cards are the same picture. Really? I looked no further than the Press Pass 97 below it to find a differing action shot of Westbrook. The Press Pass card is a bit kitsch, but I do like the die cut action on it.  In the end I liked Westbrook’s larger than life autograph on his Upper Deck All Time Alumni card the best.

G/GS  71/55      TAC  197      SAC 0      FUM 1
INT  13       YDS 239       AVG 18.3      TD 3       LG 101T

Akins, Marty

Cards: University of Texas Upper Deck 2011, UT UD 2011 ATA, UT UD 2011 NC
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 5/5  Received: 5/12   (7 days)

Marty Akins played for the Texas Longhorns from 1972 to 1975 and is considered legendary coach Darrell Royal’s favorite quarterback. Oddly the Longhorns starting quarterback first got noticed as a dangerous kick and punt returner during the 1973 Cotton Bowl. He became the starting quarterback for the Longhorns in the 1973 season and led the school to Conference Championships in both 1973 and 1975.

At the time of his departure from the school, Marty earned numerous school records and finished with a 27-9 record. Among his QB records were the school career rushing record (2020 yards),  career rushing TDs (26), and the single game rushing yard record (188), which all stood until the Vince Young era. Marty capped his 1975 by earning NCAA All-American Honors, and numerous SWC and National honors. The Wishbone never caught on at the pro level, so the NFL was at a loss as what position a gifted athlete like Marty should play.

He’d be selected in the 11th round of the 1976 Draft by the then St. Louis Cardinals. Although a featured member of the scout team who could play a variety of positions in a pinch, he saw no significant playtime during his stint in the league.  Later in 1977 he’d be traded to the New Orleans Saints, but retired before the regular season began.

In 1995, Akins was inducted into the Longhorn Honor Roll, and has received many other post retirement honors for his time at Texas. He went into law, coached golf at the college level, and as of 2017 lives in the Austin, Tx area.

Wow. Great find in Marty here. With 3 superior action shots of him here, this is a great example of a canvas made better by an exquisite autograph. Marty has solid curvature to his signature, with all the loops and hooks at the right place. He wrote me a warm return letter and included a copy of a nice note that Darrell Royal sent Marty, telling him that Marty was the best quarterback he ever coached.