In keeping with its tradition of recognizing team celebrities prior to the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, officials released that Deion Branch and Takeo Spikes will be the honorees for Saturday’s Kia Game Ball Delivery at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game between No. 25 Louisville and No. 6 Auburn.
A wide receiver who caught more than 70 passes in each of his two seasons at Louisville, Deion Branch will deliver the game ball for the Cardinals. A Georgia native, Branch finished his two-year career at U of L with 143 receptions for 2,204 yards and 18 touchdowns. He was a second-round pick in the 2002 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots where he went on to become a two-time Super Bowl Champion and was named Super Bowl XXXIX MVP.
One of the most decorated linebackers in Auburn history, Takeo Spikes will deliver the game ball for the Tigers. A 1997 first team All-American, Spikes currently ranks 10th on Auburn’s all-time tackles list with 331. Also a Georgia native, Spikes was drafted 13th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1998 NFL Draft. He went on to play 15 seasons in the NFL and was a two-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection.
Branch and Spikes will ride together in a KIA Sorento – provided by KIA Motors, the official vehicle of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game – to midfield just prior to the coin flip where they will present the officiating crew with a pair of game balls from the two teams.
The pair joins a list of other game ball honorees that includes Herschel Walker (Georgia), Ryan Winterswyk (Boise State), Natrone Means (North Carolina), Chuck Wiley (LSU), Charlie Ward (Florida State), George Rogers (South Carolina), Shaun Alexander (Alabama), Antonio Freeman (Virginia Tech), Julio Jones (Alabama), Archie Manning (Ole Miss) and Darryl Talley (West Virginia), among others.
The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game between No. 25 Louisville and No. 6 Auburn will be played Saturday, September 5 at 3:30 p.m. in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. The game will be nationally televised on CBS.