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Johnson, Jenkins, Salmon to be Inducted to Football Ring of Honor

Oct 10, 2022

TUCSON, Ariz. — Vance Johnson, Ortege Jenkins, and John Button Salmon, a trio of legendary Arizona Wildcats, will be inducted into the Arizona Football Ring of Honor.

These three standouts will have their name added to the prestigious list at the Wildcats' Homecoming game against USC on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Arizona Stadium. Those wishing to be in attendance for the induction ceremonies can purchase tickets to the Oct. 29 game here.

All three will be inducted into the Ring of Honor based on the same criteria: The individual has brought recognition, distinction and honor to the sports program.

Johnson, a two-sport athlete at Arizona from 1981-84, was inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 for his contributions to the Track & Field program. His inclusion in the Ring of Honor comes on the back of a tremendously successful football career that included a First Team All-Pac-10 selection in 1982 and ended with a second round selection in the 1985 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. After leading the Wildcats in rushing in 1981 and 1982 he transitioned to wide receiver for his professional career and played in three Super Bowls. Johnson's Track & Field exploits were highlighted by a 1983 NCAA National Championship in the long jump.

Jenkins, one of the Wildcats quarterbacks from 1997-2000, most famously secured No. 14 Arizona's 1998 victory over No. 20 Washington with a stunning touchdown run that became widely known as the "Leap by the Lake." Jenkins led the 1997 and 2000 Arizona teams in passing and earned All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention recognition as a senior. To this day he is still 10th all-time in program history with 5,424 passing yards while his 42 passing touchdowns rank eighth all-time. Jenkins joins his teammate and fellow quarterback Keith Smith in the Arizona Ring of Honor with his induction later this month. Jenkins and Smith selflessly split time at quarterback throughout the duration of Arizona's spectacular 1998 season that saw the Wildcats post a program-record 12 wins and earn a trip to the Holiday Bowl.

Salmon, a member of the football team in 1924 and 1925, was a charter inductee of the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 1976. The two-year letterman in both football and baseball is best known for being the force behind Arizona's famous athletics slogan "Bear Down." Salmon, who was also student body president, died in an automobile accident in 1926. Shortly before his death his last message to his teammates, spoken to Arizona athletic director J.F. McKale, was "tell them to bear down."

Arizona Athletics regularly reviews and evaluates the criteria and candidacies for all departmental awards, inductions and recognitions based on new information, updated resources and reflections on historical context. A Heritage Committee, made up of current and former longtime athletics department staff, conducts these thorough reviews and makes recommendations based on all available information and considerations.