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Ortege Jenkins among 3 former Arizona football greats to be added to Ring of Honor


Arizona’s next football game isn’t just Homecoming, it will also be a trip down memory lane.

Former Wildcats Ortege Jenkins, Vance Johnson and John ‘Button’ Salmon will be inducted into the Arizona Ring of Honor during halftime of the Oct. 29 contests against No. 12 USC.

Jenkins, who played quarterback from 1997-2000, is best known for the “Leap by the Lake,” his game-winning touchdown run (and flip) at Washington in 1998.

Jenkins was also part of Arizona’s 1998 squad that won a school-record 12 games and finished with a victory over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.

Johnson played running back and receiver for the UA from 1981-84 and was also on the track and field team, winning the NCAA long jump title in 1983 (with helped land him in the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 1991). Johnson was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 1985 and played 10 seasons in the NFL.

Salmon was part of UA teams in 1924-25, and was part of the first Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class in 1976. He is also the inspiration of the school slogan “Bear Down,” part of what he said as he was dying from injuries sustained in a car accident in 1926.

A statue of Salmon is outside the entrance to the football offices on the north side of Arizona Stadium, with many players and coaches touching the bust prior to heading into the locker room on game days.

The Ring of Honor, which is on display within Arizona Stadium, is reserved for former UA football players who have met a variety of criteria. That includes being an “individual (who) has brought recognition, distinction and honor to the sports program,” which is how the newest members have been added.