Former Citadel football great John Small, an All-American and first-round NFL draft pick, died Monday at the age of 66 in Augusta, Ga.
Small, a native of Lumberton, N.C., played for the Bulldogs from 1967-69 and was a first-team All-American as a senior linebacker. He was picked in the first round of the NFL draft by Atlanta in 1970, and also played for the Detroit Lions.
Small earned The Citadel’s highest honor, the Palmetto Award, in 1970 and was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1977. He made the S.C. Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988, and the same year was named to the first-team defense of the Southern Conference’s 75th anniversary team.
Small, who played five seasons in the NFL, battled health issues in the latter part of his life. He and his wife, Lucia, raised four children. He founded JKS Team Inc., a company that used faith-based principles to serve others, and began a ministry program to help troubled youth.
“After his playing days, he dedicated his life to helping those in need,” said Citadel president Lt. Gen. John Rosa, a teammate of Small’s at The Citadel. “Each time he returned to campus, he would stop by and share all the great things he was doing to improve the lives of others. I will miss big No. 66.”