Ole Miss to Retire Number of School’s First Black Football Player

Ole Miss announced Thursday that it will retire Ben Williams’s No. 74 jersey number when the Rebels face Mississippi State in the annual Egg Bowl on Nov. 24.

Williams was the first Black player to play in a football game at Ole Miss and among the first to sign a scholarship. Affectionately known as “Mr. Gentle” during his playing days, Williams becomes the fourth player in program history to have his number retired, joining Archie Manning (18), Chucky Mullins (38) and Eli Manning (10).

While at Ole Miss, Williams was a three-time All-SEC selection, a four-year letter winner and a member of the Rebels’ team of the century. He still owns the program’s record for career sacks (37) as well as the single-season mark for sacks (18).

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