John A. “Junie” Hovious spent most of his athletic career as a part of Ole Miss. Hovious was a part of two great backfield tandems. At Vicksburg’s Carr Central High School, he and fellow halfback Billy Sam — another Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame member — were known as the “Vicksburg Twins.”
Sam and Hovious both went to Ole Miss, where Hovious and another great runner, Merle Hapes, were popularly known as the “H Boys.” Hovious played at Ole Miss from 1939-41. He was named All-Southeastern Conference halfback in 1939, 1940, and 1941. He led the nation in punt returns with an average of 15.1 yards in 1940.
He participated in the annual Blue-Gray Game in 1941. He was selected for the College All-Star Game, but military service intervened in 1942. Hovious played one year with the New York Giants in 1945. After that, he returned to his alma mater as a football assistant coach from 1946- 74. The teams of that era at Ole Miss were some of the most elite and dominant in college football history. Hovious died in 1998 at the age of 78.
Courtesy of Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum director Rick Cleveland, author of Mississippi’s Greatest Athletes. Cleveland can be reached at email@example.com.