Clarence Peaks

1991 Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame Inductee


Parent: Norman Peaks

Clarence Peaks was a three sport star at Flint Central High School (football, basketball and baseball). He played right field on the baseball team and was batting No. 4 clean-up hitter in 1952 and 1953. In basketball he was the second leading scorer on the team, averaging 13 points a game. Peaks was voted co-captain of the basketball team and named All-Valley guard in 1953. He was also voted Most Valuable Player in basketball in 1953.

Coach Howard Auer rated Peaks as one of the best quarterbacks ever to play for him at Central High School. He was a triple threat back, punting, passing, and rushing. He was co-captain of the football team and All-Valley Football All-Star Team. He was honorable mention All-State Football Quarterback.

Peaks enrolled at MSU in 1954. He was voted the Football Spring Player Award at MSU, made All Big-Ten Conference team, All-American Outstanding Player Award and ultimately was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1956. MSU was Rose Bowl Champions and Peaks had a record for the longest Rose Bowl touchdown pass of 67 yards to Lewis in 1956. He was selected on the College All-Star Team to play the professional NFL Champions in 1957. After turning professional, Peaks returned to MSU and won the Old Timers Player Award in 1961.

In 1957, following his graduation from MSU, Peaks became the NFL Philadelphia Eagles’s number one draft choice. In 1960 the Philadelphia Eagles won the NFL Championship. Peaks led the Eagles in rushing with an averaging of 5.4 yards and also gained the most yards in 1960. His seven year record (1957-63) with the Eagles was: 786 attempts gained 2,927 yards; caught passes — 175 for 1,658 yards and total touchdowns — 22 for a total of 132 points. Peaks also was selected All-Pro Team. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers 1964-65 and was the team’s second leading rusher.

Writer, Wilfred Smith, called Peaks “one of the all time greats” in 1964.