John Bramlett was the greatest defensive player in Tiger football history. A linebacker from Humes High School in Memphis, Bramlett came to then Memphis State University in the fall of 1959 and played for former head coach Billy J. Murphy for four seasons. In addition to being a standout football player, Bramlett was also a stellar baseball catcher and lettered for the Tigers for four seasons. A speedy and intense player, Bramlett made the varsity unit immediately and was a starter by mid-season. The Tigers finished the 1959 season with a 6-4-0 record and posted wins against Florida State and Southern Mississippi.
During the 1960 campaign, Bramlett helped the Tigers record improve to 8-2-0 and in 1961, an identical 8-2-0 record was achieved. As a senior, Bramlett registered two pass interceptions which were returned for a total of 55 yards. The Tigers record improved to 8-1-0 and an important milestone was reached. Bramlett led the defense in allowing Mississippi State to score just seven points as Memphis State won its first ever SEC contest, 28-7, over the Bulldogs in Starkville (MS). The Tigers would finish the 1962 season ranked 17th in the nation by United Press International.
Throughout his four years as a Tiger, Bramlett starred on the baseball diamond. He hit .323 as a freshman and .357 during his sophomore season. The Tigers were 5-15 in 1959 but improved to 12-12 in 1960. As a junior, Bramlett led the squad with a .403 batting average and the final record was an impressive 13-6. During his final campaign, Bramlett hit .358 and tallied four home runs and 18 stolen bases.
He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and stayed in professional baseball for three years before signing a contract with the Denver Broncos in 1965. He played two seasons for the Broncos, two years with the Miami Dolphins, two years with the New England Patriots and one year with the Atlanta Falcons before retiring after the 1971 season.
In 1965, Bramlett was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year honors in the NFL behind quarterback Joe Namath. He was named to the Pro Bowl while at Denver and Miami and earned the Patriots MVP Award in 1970. Following his career in professional sports, Bramlett returned to Memphis and entered the ministry. He started and continues to operate John Bramlett Ministries.