January, 10 2022
NFF Announces Star-Studded 2022 College Football Hall of Fame Class
18 First Team All-America players and three coaches will be inducted during the 64th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 6.
IRVING, Texas (Jan. 10, 2022) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the 2022 College Football Hall of Fame Class during “Championship Drive Presented by Capital One” on ESPN.
2022 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS
The 18 First Team All-America players and three standout coaches in the 2022 Class were selected from the national ballot of 78 players and seven coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision, the 99 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks and the NFF Veterans Committee candidates.
“We are extremely proud to announce the 2022 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Mississippi. “Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments.”
The 2022 College Football Hall of Fame Class will officially be inducted during the 64th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 6 (location TBD).
The inductees will also be recognized at their respective collegiate institutions with NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the fall. Their accomplishments will be forever immortalized at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, and each inductee will receive a custom ring created by Jostens, the official and exclusive supplier of NFF rings.
The announcement of the 2022 College Football Hall of Fame Class was made today during “Championship Drive Presented by Capital One” leading up to tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship.
“We want to thank ESPN for the opportunity to announce the 2022 College Football Hall of Fame Class during today’s lead up to the College Football Playoff National Championship,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “Today’s announcement shines a light on the accomplishments of some of college football's greatest legends."
2022 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS NOTES
5. A coach becomes eligible three full seasons after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years old. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head football coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.
6. Nominations may only be submitted by the current athletics director, head coach or sports information director (SID) of a potential candidate’s collegiate institution. Nominations may also be submitted by the president/executive director of a dues-paying chapter of the National Football Foundation.
* Players that do not comply with the 50-year rule may still be eligible for consideration by the Football Bowl Subdivision and Divisional Veterans Committees. Veterans Committee candidates must still meet First Team All-America requirement.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME QUICK FACTS
2022 College Football Hall of Fame Class Bios
Penn State University
Known for the “LaVar Leap” where he would jump over the offensive line, LaVar Arrington was one of the most feared linebackers in the late 1990s. The Pittsburgh native becomes the 19th Penn State player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
The 12th Nittany Lion ever selected as a two-time First Team All-American, Arrington earned unanimous honors in 1999. In 1999, he was the recipient of the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker and the Bednarik Award as the country’s top defensive player. A finalist for the Nagurski and Lombardi awards, Arrington finished ninth in the 1999 Heisman Trophy voting. A two-time First Team All-Big Ten honoree, Arrington became the first sophomore to ever be named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year when he received the honor in 1998.
The 1999 Jack Lambert Award recipient led the Nittany Lions to three bowl games, including wins in the 1999 Outback Bowl and the 1999 Alamo Bowl. Penn State finished with top 20 national rankings all three years of his career, highlighted by a No. 11 finish in 1999. Arrington racked up 173 tackles, 39 tackles for loss, 19 sacks and three interceptions while playing for College Football Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno. The Big Ten Network named him to its “Mount Rushmore of Penn State Football,” and he was elected to the WPIAL Hall of Fame in 2011 for his excellence at North Hills High School in Pittsburgh.
The second overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft by the Washington Football Team, Arrington played for Washington from 2000-05 and then for the New York Giants in 2006. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection.
Following his NFL career, Arrington began a successful broadcasting career. Currently working for FOX Sports Radio, he is the co-host of the network’s weekday morning show “2 Pro’s and a Cup of Joe” alongside Brady Quinn and Jonas Knox. He is also co-host of the nationally-syndicated weekend program/podcast “Up On Game” with TJ Houshmandzadeh and Plaxico Burress. Arrington has also been featured on FOX Sports television programs, including FS1's “Speak for Yourself.”
University of Georgia
Defensive Back, 1996-98
One of the most versatile players in Georgia history, Champ Bailey played more than 1,000 snaps on offense, defense and special teams during his remarkable 1998 season. The Folkston, Georgia, native becomes the 16th Bulldog player to join the College Football Hall of Fame.
The 1998 consensus First Team All-American took home the Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s top defensive player that season while finishing seventh for the Heisman Trophy. During that standout season, Bailey was a team captain and saw action at defensive back and wide receiver while also returning kickoffs. He was named the SEC Player of the Week against Auburn that season after a performance that included a career-high 119 plays highlighted by a fourth-quarter interception.
A two-time First Team All-SEC selection (1997, 1998), he was also named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 1996. The inaugural recipient of the UGA Vince Dooley MVP Award, Bailey led the Bulldogs to consecutive postseason wins at the 1998 Outback Bowl and the 1998 Peach Bowl, where he won Defensive MVP honors. He helped UGA to national rankings in 1997 (No. 10) and 1998 (No. 14) while playing for College Football Hall of Fame Coach Jim Donnan and alongside Hall of Famer Matt Stinchcomb. A member of the FWAA’s 75th Anniversary All-America Team, Bailey finished his career at Georgia with 147 tackles, eight interceptions and 27 pass breakups while racking up 978 receiving yards and five touchdowns on offense.
The seventh overall pick by Washington in the 1999 NFL Draft, Bailey played 15 seasons for Washington (1999-2003) and the Denver Broncos (2004-13). The 12-time Pro Bowl selection is a member of the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019.
While with the Broncos, Bailey donated time and money to the Denver Rescue Mission, and he worked with The Crossing in Park Hill, a transitional housing program in Denver. He also supports the Bailey Brothers Foundation with his brother and fellow Georgia football alum, Boss. The 2018 State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame inductee was also a record-setting track and field athlete at UGA.
Texas Tech University
Wide Receiver, 2007-08
The first two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award, Michael Crabtree was one of the most electric wide receivers in college football history. The Dallas native becomes the sixth Red Raider player in the College Football Hall of Fame.
The only two-time unanimous First Team All-American (2007, 2008) in Texas Tech history, Crabtree finished fifth in the 2008 Heisman Trophy voting. The 2007 Freshman All-American burst onto the scene by setting still-standing freshman single-season FBS records for receiving yards (1,962), receptions (134), receiving yards per game (150.9), touchdown receptions (22), receptions per game (10.3) and 100-yard receiving games (11). Crabtree still ranks in the top 15 all-time in nine FBS receiving categories, with his 1,962 receiving yards in 2007 currently third in FBS single-season history. A two-time recipient of the Paul Warfield Award, Crabtree was named CBSSports.com’s National Freshman of the Year and the AT&T All-America Player of the Year in 2007.
A two-time First Team All-Big 12 selection, Crabtree was named the Big 12 Co-Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2007. Despite playing just two seasons, he remains Texas Tech’s all-time leader with 41 career receiving touchdowns and 15 career 100-yard receiving games while ranking second with 3,127 career receiving yards. His 1,962 receiving yards and 134 receptions in 2007 are both Big 12 and Red Raider records, and he owns the top two single-season receiving touchdown marks in school history (22 in 2007, 19 in 2008). The 2007 Texas Tech team MVP owns nearly every freshman receiving record in the Big 12 and Red Raider record books. In 2008, Crabtree led Texas Tech to a share of the Big 12 South Division title, an 11-2 record and the No. 12 final ranking. His highlight moment came against Texas that season, in which he hauled in the game-winning 28-yard touchdown with one second remaining to shock No. 1 Texas. Crabtree led the Red Raiders to two bowl games, including a win in the 2008 Gator Bowl. The 2020 Texas Tech Hall of Fame inductee was named to the school’s Football Ring of Honor in 2021.
The 10th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, Crabtree played 11 seasons with the 49ers (2009-14), Oakland Raiders (2015-17), Baltimore Ravens (2018) and Arizona Cardinals (2019).
Off the field, he established the Crab5 Foundation, which hosts numerous events each year for underprivileged youth. Crabtree also fully endowed a scholarship at Texas Tech in 2019.
University of Alabama
Highlighted by a national championship, Sylvester Croom was a leader at center during one of the most successful runs in Alabama history. The Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native becomes the 20th Crimson Tide player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A 1974 First Team All-American, Croom helped the Crimson Tide to a UPI national title in 1973. The 1974 First Team All-SEC selection and Jacobs Blocking Trophy recipient led Alabama to three consecutive conference titles. The 1974 team captain led the Tide to three bowl games and three top 10 final national rankings (No. 7 in 1972, No. 4 in 1973 and No. 5 in 1974).
Behind Croom’s stellar blocking, the Tide averaged 414.7 yards per game in 1972, 480.7 yards per game in 1973 and 388.3 yards per game in 1974. During his three seasons, Alabama posted an impressive 32-4 record, with only one loss coming during the regular season. Croom capped his collegiate career in the 1975 Senior Bowl after playing for College Football Hall of Fame Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and alongside Hall of Famers John Hannah, Woodrow Lowe and Ozzie Newsome in Tuscaloosa. He was inducted into the State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2020, and the Crimson Tide’s spring practice award is named the Sylvester Croom Commitment to Excellence Award in his honor.
After going undrafted in 1975, Croom played one season with the New Orleans Saints before returning to Alabama to begin his storied coaching career. After serving on the Crimson Tide staff from 1976-86 under his former coach Bryant and Ray Perkins, he then coached in the NFL from 1987-2003. In 2004, Croom made history when Mississippi State hired him as the first Black head football coach in SEC history. He was named the SEC Coach of Year in 2007. Following five seasons at Mississippi State, Croom returned to the NFL as an assistant coach before retiring following the 2017 season.
Croom is heavily involved with College View Baptist Church, which was started by his father who was an All-American at Alabama A&M.
Ohio State University
One of just eight three-time All-Americans in Ohio State history, Mike Doss capped his remarkable career by leading the Buckeyes to a national championship. The Canton, Ohio, native becomes the school’s 27th player to join the College Football Hall of Fame.
A First Team All-American during his last three seasons at Ohio State, Doss earned unanimous honors following his stellar senior campaign in 2002 in which he recorded a personal best 107 tackles. That season, the team captain and Thorpe Award finalist led the Buckeyes to a perfect 14-0 record, the Big Ten title, the No. 1 final ranking and the BCS National Championship following a victory over Miami (FL) in the Fiesta Bowl. Doss was named the Defensive MVP of that 31-24 double-overtime victory after recording nine tackles and a 35-yard interception return that led to Ohio State’s first touchdown of the game on its ensuing possession. The 2002 season was the Buckeyes’ first 14-0 season in school history and their first undefeated season since 1973.
The 2002 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Doss was a three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection. Boasting the most career tackles by a defensive back in school history (331), he led Ohio State in tackles as a sophomore and junior. His 228 career solo tackles are the fifth most in Buckeyes history. A 2011 Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, Doss played for College Football Hall of Fame Coaches John Cooper and Jim Tressel.
A second-round pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2003 NFL Draft, Doss played six seasons for the Colts (2003-06), Minnesota Vikings (2007) and Cincinnati Bengals (2008). He won Super Bowl XLI as a member of the Colts.
In 2005, he founded the Michael A. Doss Foundation, which focuses on education and social welfare. He has also hosted “Make a Difference” youth camps. In 2019, Doss earned a master’s in business operational excellence from Ohio State, and he is now a licensed real estate agent for the Robert Weiler Company in Columbus, Ohio.
University of Toledo
The signal caller for the best run in Toledo football history, Chuck Ealey never lost a game in his three seasons as the Rockets’ starting quarterback. The NFF Veterans Committee selection becomes the second player in school history to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
Named a 1971 First Team All-American, Ealey went a remarkable 35-0 as Toledo’s starting quarterback. The three-time MAC Back of the Year became the first player in conference history to receive votes for the Heisman Trophy, tallying 168 points for an eighth-place finish in 1971. A three-time First Team All-MAC selection, Ealey led the Rockets to three consecutive conference titles. While guiding the team to three-straight Tangerine Bowl victories, he earned MVP honors following standout performances in the 1969 and 1971 editions.
A 1971 team captain, Ealey finished his career as Toledo’s all-time leader with 5,275 passing yards and 45 touchdown passes, both marks that still rank in the top 10. In both 1970 and 1971, he received the team’s Jim Nicholson Award. Voted No. 1 on Toledo’s All-Century Football Team, Ealey is one of just four players to have his number retired by the Rockets. The Portsmouth, Ohio, native played alongside College Football Hall of Famer Mel Long during his time in the Glass Bowl.
After going undrafted by the NFL, Ealey signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. Taking over as the starting quarterback in 1972, he would go on to win the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie Award and lead the Tiger-Cats to a victory in the Grey Cup, where he earned MVP honors. In total, Ealey played seven seasons in the CFL with the Tiger-Cats (1972-74), Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1974-75) and Toronto Argonauts (1975-78).
Following his football career, Ealey served as a financial advisor. He currently serves as a consultant and public speaker, helping people of all ages discover and embrace their undefeated spirit so they can better themselves and their community. He founded the Chuck Ealey Foundation, which awards scholarships and provides mentoring to deserving students.
Louisiana State University
All-Purpose/Running Back, 1995-98
The epitome of an all-purpose player, Kevin Faulk remains the SEC’s leader in career all-purpose yards and LSU’s all-time leading rusher. The Lafayette, Louisiana, native becomes the 11th Tiger player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A 1996 First Team All-American as an all-purpose player, Faulk still holds the all-time SEC record with 6,833 all-purpose yards, a mark that was fourth in FBS history when he finished his career. During that 1996 season, he led the SEC in all-purpose yards and ranked second in the league in rushing. Faulk followed up his All-America campaign by leading the SEC in rushing during both his junior and senior seasons, and he also topped the league in scoring as a senior. The three-time First Team All-SEC selection was the first player in LSU history to average more than 100 yards per game during his entire career.
Setting 11 school records by career’s end, Faulk still holds LSU career marks for rushing yards (4,577), rushing touchdowns (46), all-purpose yards (6,833) and 100-yard rushing games (22). The 1995 SEC Freshman of the Year ranks fourth in the conference in career rushing yards and is tied for third in career rushing touchdowns. A two-time LSU MVP, Faulk led the Tigers to two top-15 final rankings and three bowl victories, earning offensive MVP honors following the 1995 Independence Bowl after setting LSU bowl records with 234 rushing yards and 271 all-purpose yards. Faulk owns LSU’s single-game all-purpose yards record (376 vs. Houston, 1996), and ranks fifth in school history with 832 punt return yards. He is also a member of the LSU Athletics and State of Louisiana Sports halls of fame.
Taken in the second round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, Faulk spent his entire 13-year career with the franchise. The 2016 New England Patriots Hall of Fame inductee led the team to three Super Bowl titles (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX), and he holds the franchise record for career all-purpose yards.
Following his pro career, Faulk served as an assistant football coach from 2013-17 at his former high school, Carencro High School in Lafayette, Louisiana. He then served on the coaching staff at his alma mater, LSU, from 2018-21. He annually hosts a free youth football camp in Louisiana, and he founded the Kevin Faulk Foundation to support youth. He is the cousin of 2017 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Marshall Faulk from San Diego State.
University of Illinois
Defensive Tackle, 1987-90
A two-time First Team All-American, Moe Gardner was described by Illinois head coach John Mackovic as “the best player at any position in college football” during his senior campaign in 1990. The Indianapolis, Indiana, native becomes the 13th Fighting Illini player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
Gardner earned unanimous First Team All-America honors in 1989 before earning consensus laurels as a senior in 1990. In 1989, he was named the Big Ten Lineman of the Year and an Outland Trophy finalist after leading the Illini to a No. 10 final ranking and a win in the 1990 Citrus Bowl – the program’s first bowl victory since 1964. The following season, Gardner was a Rotary Lombardi Award finalist and earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors after guiding Illinois to a share of the 1990 conference title and a No. 25 final ranking.
A four-time All-Big Ten selection, Gardner earned first team honors from 1988-90 after second team recognition as a freshman. The two-year team captain finished his career with a school-record 57 tackles for loss, which currently rank second, and he led the Illini in the category during his final three seasons. Chosen as the 1989 team MVP, Gardner is tied for fifth all-time at Illinois with 18 career sacks. A 2020 Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, he was named to the school’s all-century team as an active player in 1990.
A fourth-round pick by in the 1991 NFL Draft, Gardner played six seasons for the Atlanta Falcons from 1991-96.
After earning a master’s degree in library information sciences from Clark Atlanta University, Gardner currently works as a public services librarian principal at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History in Atlanta, serving in the reference, research and programs division. His responsibilities include assisting scholars and PhD candidates who study the African diaspora on a global scale.
Illinois State University
The all-time leading tackler in FCS history, Boomer Grigsby is the only three-time Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year in league history. The Canton, Illinois, native deservedly becomes the first Redbird player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A three-time First Team All-American (2002-04), Grigsby remains the FCS leader in career tackles (550), career solo tackles (325), single-season tackles per game (16.27 in 2002) and single-season solo tackles per game (9.82 in 2002). The standout linebacker is the only player in history to finish in the top three for the Buck Buchanan Award in three consecutive seasons. Grigsby ranks second all-time in FCS history with 12.5 tackles per game during his career, and he boasts two of the top three single-season solo tackle performances in FCS history: 109 in 2003 and 108 in 2002. He twice won the College Sporting News FCS Defensive Player of the Year award, which has since been renamed in his honor.
The three-time First Team All-MVFC selection remains the all-time leading tackler in conference and school history (note: both the MVFC and Illinois State credit him with 580 career tackles). Grigsby was also an honorable mention all-conference selection in 2001 when he was named to the MVFC All-Newcomer Team. He led the FCS in tackles in 2002, led the conference in tackles three times and led Illinois State in tackles all four seasons. A three-time team captain, Grigsby was also twice named the Illinois State Milt Weisbecker Male Athlete of the Year, and he was inducted into the Illinois State Athletics Percy Family Hall of Fame in 2010.
A fifth-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, Grigsby played in league for the Kansas City Chiefs (2005-07), Miami Dolphins (2008) and Houston Texans (2009).
Off the field, he established the Boomer Grigsby Foundation, and he has volunteered with Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors and the Special Olympics. Grigsby continued his relationship with ISU football as the color analyst for Redbird football broadcasts on NBC Sports Chicago for three seasons, and he served as a television analyst for Illinois High School Association football playoff broadcasts for two years. He currently works in Las Vegas as a sales representative for Stryker.
Oregon State University
Wide Receiver, 2002-05
After receiving no Division I scholarship offers and walking on at Oregon State, Mike Hass left the university as its all-time leading receiver while boasting a Biletnikoff Award. The Portland, Oregon, native becomes the third Beaver player to join the College Football Hall of Fame.
The 2005 First Team All-American and Biletnikoff Award recipient was just the 10th player in NCAA history and the only Oregon State player ever with three seasons of 1,000-plus receiving yards. During his stellar senior season in 2005, Hass led the nation with 139.9 receiving yards per game. He set then-school records for single-season receptions (90) and receiving yards (1,532 – also a Pac-10 mark at the time), surpassing his own records set in 2004 when he was a Third Team All-American. The 2005 team captain led the Beavers to three consecutive bowl berths, including wins in the 2003 Las Vegas Bowl and 2004 Insight Bowl.
A two-time First Team All-Pac-10 selection, Hass’ 3,924 career receiving yards rank third all-time in conference history. In addition to being the school’s all-time leading receiver, he owns Oregon State records for career 100-yard games (19), single-season 100-yard games (nine in 2005) and single-game receptions (14 vs. Arizona State in 2004). Hass owns four of the top 10 single-game receiving performances in school history, including a Beaver record 293 yards against Boise State in 2004. His 20 career receiving touchdowns are second in school annals while his 220 receptions rank fourth.
A sixth-round pick by the New Orleans Saints in the 2006 NFL Draft, Hass played in the league for the Chicago Bears (2006-08) and the Seattle Seahawks (2009). He also played for the Omaha Nighthawks in the United Football League from 2010-11.
Hass earned his degree in civil engineering from Oregon State in 2007. Following his football career, he worked in the development department at Nike, helping design sporting equipment. Hass is currently a project manager at Pacific GeoSource, an industry leader in pavement design and engineering. He has also coached youth football.
Florida State University
A dominant force on Florida State’s stellar teams in the early 1990s, Marvin Jones became the first player from the university to win two national awards in the same season. The Miami, Florida, native becomes the eighth Seminole player in the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time First Team All-American, Jones earned consensus honors in 1991 and unanimous honors in 1992. During his stellar 1992 campaign, he won the Butkus and Rotary Lombardi awards and finished fourth for the Heisman Trophy. Jones tallied 111 tackles that year while guiding the Seminoles to the ACC title, an 11-1 record and the No. 2 final ranking after a win over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. The 1992 First Team All-ACC selection was also named the Sporting News Defensive Player of the Year and received the Jack Lambert Trophy.
In 1991, Jones tallied 125 tackles while leading Florida State to an 11-2 record and a No. 4 final ranking following a win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. A Third Team All-American as a freshman in 1990, he guided that squad to a 10-2 record, No. 4 ranking and a win in the Blockbuster Bowl. Prior to joining the ACC in 1992, Jones was a two-time First Team All-South Independent selection. He ranks seventh in Seminole history with 369 career tackles despite playing just three seasons. One of 11 players in school history to have his number retired, Jones was inducted into the Florida State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000. Coached by College Football Hall of Famer Bobby Bowden, he played alongside Hall of Famers Derrick Brooks, Terrell Buckley and Charlie Ward during his time in Tallahassee.
The fourth overall selection in the 1993 NFL Draft, Jones played his entire 11-year career with the New York Jets from 1993-2003.
Now a coach in the Champions Indoor Football (CIF) league, Jones has served as the head coach of the Omaha Beef since 2019. In 2021, he led the team to a victory in Champions Bowl VI. Jones also serves as general manager of NFL Draft Bible’s Pro Football Free Agent Database, which enables scouts from all pro football leagues to easily evaluate and obtain pertinent prospect information.
One of the most precise passers in college football history, Andrew Luck put together a record-setting career at Stanford that saw him claim multiple national awards. The Houston, Texas, native becomes the 19th Cardinal player to join the College Football Hall of Fame.
A 2011 First Team All-American, Luck took home the Maxwell, Walter Camp and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm awards. The two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up (2010, 2011) transformed a Stanford program that had suffered seven-straight losing seasons before he became the starter in 2009. Luck would lead the Cardinal to a 31-7 record, including three-straight postseason berths and consecutive top 10 final rankings in 2010 (No. 4) and 2011 (No. 7). He was named the MVP at the 2011 Orange Bowl after throwing for 287 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Virginia Tech, which gave Stanford a school-record 12 wins.
A two-time Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, Luck led the conference in multiple categories during his stellar 2011 campaign, including completion percentage (71.3) and passing efficiency (169.7). The two-time First Team All-Pac-12 selection is Stanford’s all-time leader in career passing touchdowns (82) and passing efficiency (162.8). Ranking second in Cardinal history with 9,430 career passing yards, Luck owns two of the top four passing seasons in school history: 3,517 yards in 2011 and 3,338 in 2010. His .670 career completion percentage is the best in Stanford annals, as are his single-season completion percentages in 2010 (.707) and 2011 (.713). His 37 touchdown passes in 2011 are a single-season school record, followed by his 32 touchdown passes in 2010.
Luck presided over three of the most prolific offensive teams in Stanford history, helping the Cardinal to scoring records in 2009 (461), 2010 (524) and 2011 (561). Just as proficient in the classroom, he was named the 2011 Academic All-American of the Year, and he was a three-time First Team Academic All-Pac-12 honoree and a member of the NFF Hampshire Honor Society.
The first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Luck spent his entire seven-year career with the Indianapolis Colts from 2012-18. The four-time Pro Bowler was named the 2018 Comeback Player of the Year, and he owns the NFL rookie record for passing yards (4,373).
Luck is involved with several philanthropic pursuits, including Riley Children’s Foundation and the Andrew Luck Book Club. He was previously honored by the NFF in 2008 as an NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete. Luck is now retired and living in Indianapolis.
University of Michigan
Defensive Tackle, 1985-88
One of the greatest defensive players in Michigan history, Mark Messner terrorized offenses while becoming the Wolverines’ all-time leader in sacks and tackles for loss. The Hartland, Michigan, native becomes the 33rd player in school history to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
A unanimous First Team All-American in 1988, Messner started every game of his career (49) at Michigan. The 1988 Rotary Lombardi Award finalist remains the Wolverines’ all-time career leader with 70 tackles for loss, 376 tackles for loss yardage, 36 sacks and 273 sack yardage. Named the 1988 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, Messner led Michigan to conference titles in 1986 and 1988. He was the first player in Big Ten history to be a first team all-conference selection in four consecutive years, and his career tackles for loss and sacks are both tied for third in the Big Ten record books.
The 1988 team captain led the Wolverines to three bowl victories, including the 1986 Fiesta Bowl where he earned Defensive MVP honors, as well as the 1988 Hall of Fame Bowl and the 1989 Rose Bowl. Messner guided the Wolverines to a 38-9-2 record and four final national rankings, including two top five finishes in 1985 (No. 2) and 1988 (No. 4). Michigan’s sack leader all four seasons, his five sacks against Northwestern in 1987 remain a school single-game record. The Wolverines’ 1987 team MVP and 1986 Defensive MVP led the team to a 3-1 record against archrival Ohio State. Messner was coached by College Football Hall of Famer Bo Schembechler and played alongside Hall of Famer John Elliott during his time in Ann Arbor. He capped his collegiate career in the Hula Bowl all-star game.
A sixth-round pick in the 1989 NFL Draft, Messner played one season for the Los Angeles Rams before a career-ending injury.
After retiring from football, Messner worked for Eastman Kodak, and he currently serves as a market vice president at Konica Minolta. He is also a board member of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee in Florida.
Oklahoma State University
Running Back, 1974-77
One of only three players in Big Eight history to rush for more than 4,000 yards during his career, Terry Miller’s 4,754 yards were the fourth most in NCAA history when his career ended. The Colorado Springs, Colorado, native becomes the fifth Oklahoma State player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time First Team All-American, Miller earned unanimous honors in 1977, and he twice finished as a top five Heisman Trophy finalist (second in 1977 and fourth in 1976). The only rusher in Oklahoma State history with three 1,000-yard seasons, he ranked fifth in the nation in rushing yards in 1976 (1,714) and third in 1977 (1,680). Miller also led the nation with 23 rushing touchdowns in 1976. The two-time Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year (1976, 1977) led the Cowboys to the 1976 conference title and postseason wins in the 1974 Fiesta Bowl and 1976 Tangerine Bowl, which led to a final No. 14 ranking for the Pokes.
Miller led the Big Eight in rushing his final two seasons, boasting 1,887 yards in 1976 (note: Oklahoma State credits him with a different total than the NCAA) and 1,680 yards in 1977 – marks that rank third and sixth all-time, respectively, at Oklahoma State. He owns the Cowboy record with 26 career games with 100 yards rushing. Sitting behind fellow College Football Hall of Fame running backs Barry Sanders and/or Thurman Thomas in nearly every other school career rushing category, Miller ranks second in rushing yards (4,754), rushing touchdowns (871) and rushing yards per game (113.2) while placing third in career all-purpose yards (5,305).
The fifth overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, Miller played for the Bills from 1978-80 before one season with the Seattle Seahawks in 1981.
Miller has been a regular volunteer for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Payne County Youth Services, among many other organizations. He is now retired and living in Stillwater.
University of Colorado
Running Back, 1992-94
The winner of the 1994 Heisman Trophy, Rashaan Salaam was just the fourth player in NCAA history to run for 2,000 yards in a season. The San Diego native becomes the ninth Buff player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A unanimous First Team All-American in 1994, Salaam also claimed the Walter Camp and Doak Walker awards in addition to the Heisman Trophy. That season, the 1994 Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year led the nation in rushing yards (2,055), scoring (144) and all-purpose yards (2,349), all while not playing in the fourth quarter in five games. Salaam led the 1994 Buffs to an 11-1 record and the No. 3 final ranking after a win over Notre Dame in the 1995 Fiesta Bowl. He led Colorado to two other bowl berths, including a win in the 1993 Aloha Bowl where he was named MVP, and two other top 20 finishes in 1992 (No. 13) and 1993 (No. 16).
Salaam was a two-time First Team All-Big Eight selection, including unanimous recognition in 1994, and he led the Buffs to second place finishes in the conference all three seasons. He still owns 18 school records, including many single-season marks for rushing yards (2,055), touchdowns (24), points (144) and all-purpose yards (2,349), all set during his 1994 Heisman campaign. That season, Salaam also set Colorado single-season records with 10 games of 100 yards rushing, four games of 200 yards rushing and nine consecutive games with 100 yards rushing. He finished his career with 3,057 rushing yards, which rank fourth all-time at Colorado. During his time in Boulder, Salaam played for College Football Hall of Fame Coach Bill McCartney and alongside Hall of Famer Michael Westbrook.
A first-round pick in the 1995 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, Salaam played three seasons with the Bears (1995-97), and he was named the NFC Rookie of the Year in 1995. He spent the 1999 season with the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers before playing with the XFL’s Memphis Maniax in 2001.
A member of both the CU Athletic and the State of Colorado Sports halls of fame, Salaam’s No. 19 jersey was retired by the university in 2017. He died Dec. 5, 2016, at the age of 42.
Alcorn State University
The only offensive lineman to ever be named the SWAC Offensive Player of the Year, Dennis Thomas was a looming force on Alcorn State’s offensive line. The Heidelberg, Mississippi, native becomes the second Braves player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time First Team All-American, Thomas earned the honor from the Pittsburgh Courier in 1972 and 1973 and from the Black Mutual Sports Network in 1973. The only offensive lineman to ever win SWAC Offensive Player of the Year honors, he put together such an impressive 1973 season that he beat out legendary College Football Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton (Jackson State) for the award. That season, Thomas was a First Team All-SWAC selection and received Alcorn State’s outstanding offensive lineman award. He also blocked for freshman running back Augusta Lee, who would go on to become the school’s all-time leading rusher (currently ranks second).
Thomas lettered three seasons and started two years at center for Hall of Fame Coach Marino Casem. In 1970, he was redshirted on the Braves’ SWAC championship team. In 1973, Thomas was named to the “Who’s Who in America Colleges and Universities,” and he was a member of the dean’s list all four years of college. In 1974, the state of Mississippi declared April 15 as Dennis and Johnny Thomas Day.
Following his collegiate career at Alcorn State, Thomas joined the Braves’ coaching staff, and he helped Casem’s teams win SWAC football championships in 1976, 1979 and 1984. He then served as the head football coach at South Carolina State from 1986-88. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Alcorn State, Thomas later earned his master’s from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and his doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo. From 1990-2002, he served as the athletics director at Hampton University, where he oversaw the school’s transition from NCAA Division II to the Division I level. In 2002, Thomas was named NACDA’s Athletics Director of the Year for the Southeast Region.
Thomas served as the commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference from 2002 until his retirement in December 2021. As MEAC commissioner, he negotiated a multi-million dollar TV contract with ESPN and was instrumental in the creation of the Celebration Bowl, the annual game between the MEAC and SWAC champions. A 2020 Black College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Thomas also serves on the NFF Board of Directors.
University of Nebraska
Offensive Tackle, 1991-94
The anchor of some of Nebraska’s dominant teams of the 1990s, Zach Wiegert capped his collegiate career by helping the Huskers when a national title. The Fremont, Nebraska, native becomes the 20th player in school history elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
A unanimous First Team All-American in 1994, Wiegert received the Outland Trophy after helping Nebraska to a perfect 13-0 national championship season and the NCAA rushing title. In 1993, he was a finalist for the Outland Trophy after leading the Huskers to an 11-1 record, the No. 3 final ranking and berth in the Orange Bowl for the national title. The three-time First Team All-Big Eight selection led Nebraska to four conference titles and two other top 15 national finishes in 1991 (No. 15) and 1992 (No. 14).
Wiegert’s other honors include being named the 1994 TD Club of Columbus Offensive Lineman of the Year, the 1994 UPI Lineman of the Year, a 1993 Second Team All-American and a 1992 First Team Sophomore All-American. He was named the ABC Chevrolet Player of the Game following the Huskers’ 1994 win over UCLA in which he helped the team rush for 340 yards. Wiegert blocked for three 1,000-yard rushers during his career, and he allowed only one sack in 37 starts. In 1994 alone, he recorded 113 pancake blocks. Wiegert played for College Football Hall of Fame Coach Tom Osborne and alongside five other Hall of Famers at Nebraska: Trev Alberts, Tommie Frazier, Will Shields, Aaron Taylor and Grant Wistrom.
A second-round pick by the St. Louis Rams in the 1995 NFL Draft, Wiegert played with the Rams (1995-98), Jacksonville Jaguars (1999-2002) and Houston Texans (2003-06). He started in 137 NFL games and helped the Jaguars make the playoffs in 1999.
After a decade of working in commercial real estate as an investor and developer, Wiegert formed Goldenrod Companies in October 2005 to oversee his own portfolio of assets. He has served, or is currently serving, on many non-profit boards, and he has chaired events for The Salvation Army, The United Way, The Omaha North Magnet STEM School, The Boy Scouts of America and The Teammates Foundation.
University of Oklahoma
Defensive Back, 1999-2001
The first player in history to claim the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Jim Thorpe Award in the same year, Roy Williams struck fear in his opponents as he led Oklahoma to the 2000 national title and a 31-7 record during his three seasons in Norman. The Union City, California, native becomes the 23rd Sooner player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A unanimous First Team All-American in 2001, Williams started 31 games for the Sooners, recording 287 tackles, 34 tackles for loss, nine interceptions and 44 pass deflections during his career. In 2001, he captained the Sooners to an 11-2 record and a 10-3 win in the Cotton Bowl against Arkansas. Williams posted six tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks in the game, claiming Defensive MVP honors. His performance during the 2001 season earned him Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors as well as the Nagurski and Thorpe awards, and he finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting, the highest vote total in 2001 for a non-quarterback. In 2000, he led the Big 12 champion Sooners to their first 13-win season and first undefeated season since 1987, capped by a 13-2 win over Florida State in the 2001 Orange Bowl to claim the BCS National Championship.
In 1999, which marked the first season at OU for Coach Bob Stoops (inducted into the Hall in 2021), Williams helped Oklahoma notch a 7-5 record and a spot in the Independence Bowl, which snapped the school’s four-year absence from postseason play. A two-time First Team All-Big 12 selection, he carved a unique place in Oklahoma football annals with an iconic play during the 2001 Red River Showdown. Leaping over defenders, Williams knocked the ball from Texas QB Chris Simms and into the hands of OU’s Teddy Lehman, who scored a touchdown. The play sealed a 14-3 win for OU while earning Williams the “Superman” moniker as he appeared to fly through the air.
Selected as the eighth overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft by Dallas, Williams played for the Cowboys from 2002-08 and the Cincinnati Bengals from 2009-10, earning five consecutive Pro Bowl selections from 2003-07 while being named a First Team All-Pro in 2003.
William currently serves as the president of Global Security Corporation in Edmond, Oklahoma, which provides protection for VIPs, security at corporate events and other security consulting services. Active in the community, he established the Roy Williams Safety Net Foundation to support low-income single mothers. The Roy Williams Strength and Speed Complex at OU is named in his honor, and he is a member of the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame.
Washington & Jefferson College [PA] (1982-98), California University [PA] (2002-11)
Head Coach, 225-70-2 (76.1%)
A stalwart on the Western Pennsylvania football scene for the better part of three decades, John Luckhardt turned two programs into perennial national contenders, winning an astounding 76.1 percent of his combined games at Washington & Jefferson and California University of Pennsylvania. He becomes the first person ever to represent the Vulcans in the College Football Hall of Fame and the fourth person with ties to Washington & Jefferson.
In 1982, Luckhardt took over a Washington & Jefferson program that had only produced four winning campaigns in the previous 17 seasons. By 1984, Luckhardt had turned the Presidents into a 9-2 team, winning the team’s first Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) title and earning the school’s first trip to the NCAA Division III playoffs. The program never looked back, amassing winning records every season under his watch, culminating in 1998 with a 137-37-2 record during his 17-year tenure.
Under Luckhardt’s guidance, W&J claimed 13 PAC championships and made 11 appearances in the NCAA Playoffs, including two trips to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl (1992 and 1994). In 1992, he was named the AFCA National Coach of the Year, and CNN named him the Division III Coach of the Year in 1994.
Following his time at W&J, Luckhardt led the program at nearby Cal U from 2002-11. His tenure with the Vulcans witnessed the best 10-year stint in school history, and he exited as the school’s all-time winningest coach with an 88-33 overall record. He led Cal U to the NCAA Division II Semifinals in three consecutive seasons after capturing NCAA Regional titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The 2008 season marked the program’s first Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championship since 1984. Two more playoff appearances in his final two years at Cal U gave him five consecutive seasons of double-digit victories and five NCAA Division II Playoff appearances along with seven consecutive PSAC West titles.
Luckhardt’s teams appeared in 16 NCAA playoffs during his 27-year coaching career, and he coached 11 First Team All-Americans, nine Academic All-Americans and two NFF National Scholar-Athletes. He was named the PAC Coach of the Year 11 times and the PSAC West Coach of the Year once.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Luckhardt played college football at Purdue for College Football Hall of Fame Coach Jack Mollenkopf, and he was the center on the 1967 Rose Bowl team that beat USC. He began his coaching career at Northern Illinois and then Lehigh. Luckhardt has been inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports; the Washington & Jefferson College Athletics; and the California University of Pennsylvania Athletic halls of fame. From 1994-98, he served on the American Football Coaches Association Board of Directors. From 1996-98, Luckhardt also served as Washington & Jefferson's Director of Athletics.
BILLY JACK MURPHY
University of Memphis (1958-71)
Head Coach, 91-44-1 (67.3%)
The winningest coach in Memphis history, Billy Jack Murphy headed the Tigers’ program for 14 years, posting winning records in all but two seasons and leading the school into the national rankings. Murphy, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 87, becomes the second person with ties to Memphis to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
In 1958, Murphy became head coach at Memphis, then-known as Memphis State, and he would take the program from obscurity to national prominence with multiple firsts while winning 67.3 percent of his games before his exit after the 1971 season with an overall record of 91-44-1. In 1960, he led the team’s transition to major college status as a member of the NCAA University Division while posting an 8-2 record. As the Tigers’ program grew in stature, Murphy replaced small-college opponents with major programs, including wins against Florida State, Houston, Miami (FL), Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. In 1962, Murphy led the Tigers to their first win over a member of the SEC, a 28-7 victory at Mississippi State.
In 1963, the Tigers posted the school’s first undefeated season since 1938 with a 9-0-1 record, and Murphy claimed National Coach of the Year honors from The Detroit Times while Memphis running back Dave Casinelli claimed the NCAA rushing title and the defense posted five shutouts. The team finished No. 14 in the UPI Coaches Poll, the highest ranking in school history. The lone tie that season, a 0-0 tilt, came against No. 2 Ole Miss who had not been shutout in 47 games. In 1967, Murphy and the Tigers would finally gain the upper hand, claiming the program’s first win against Ole Miss with a 27-17 victory at home.
In 1968, Memphis ended its 27-year run as an independent, joining the Missouri Valley Conference, and Murphy would earn Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year honors in three of the school’s first four seasons in the conference. On Dec. 18, 1971, Murphy led Memphis to its first appearance and first win in a major bowl with a 28-9 victory over San Jose State in the Pasadena Bowl. The game marked Murphy’s final appearance as a head coach, and he transitioned fulltime to athletics director, a role he had started in 1966 and held until 1981.
Murphy grew up in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, before enrolling at Mississippi State in 1939 and playing as an All-SEC tailback for future College Football Hall of Coach Allyn McKeen who had previously headed the Memphis program. In 1943 and the midst of World War II, Murphy joined the Marine Corps Reserve and transferred to Duke University for training with the V-12 Program. He served heroically in the South Pacific, narrowly escaping with his life on at least four occasions and receiving the Bronze Star, the Presidential Citation and the Navy Citation. Following World War II, Murphy returned to Mississippi State as the captain of the 1946 Bulldogs team.
After graduating from Mississippi State, Murphy took his first job as an assistant coach at Memphis for a five-year stint. In 1951, he returned to Mississippi State under head coach Murray Warmath who he then followed to Minnesota in 1954 for four seasons as the running backs coach before becoming the Memphis head coach at the age of 37 in 1958. Murphy has been inducted into the State of Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, the Mississippi State Hall of Fame and the Memphis M Club Hall of Fame. Each year the Billy J. Murphy Award is presented to a former Memphis athlete who has excelled in their chosen profession after graduation, and the Tigers' practice facility is named in Murphy's honor.
University of Toledo (1991-2000), University of Missouri (2001-15)
Head Coach, 191-110-3 (63.3%)
Standing at No. 20 for most wins in Football Bowl Subdivision history at the time of his retirement, Gary Pinkel’s legacy as the winningest coach in school history at both Toledo and Missouri makes him one of only three coaches to hold the distinction at two Division I programs. He becomes the first coach from Toledo and the sixth coach from Missouri inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Pinkel began his head coaching career at Toledo in 1991 and during the next 10 years he would take the Rockets to new heights, winning 65.9 percent of his games and amassing a 73-37-3 record, the most wins in school history. His nine winning seasons at Toledo included the 1995 MAC championship, with the Rockets going 11-0-1 and finishing at No. 24 in the final polls. Pinkel would lead Toledo to three other MAC West Division titles. In 1997, the Rockets finished 9-3, climbing as high as No. 18 in the national rankings. They repeated as division champions again in 1998 with a 7-5 record. In his final season with the Rockets in 2000, the team went 10-1, including a 24-6 win at Penn State. The team finished the regular season with the MAC West Division title and ranked No. 25 in the AP Poll. He was named the MAC Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1997.
Pinkel took over at Missouri in 2001, inheriting a program that had produced just one 10-win season in school history and two winning seasons in the previous 17 years. Pinkel would transform the program, leading the Tigers to 10 winning seasons (including five years with 10 wins or more), five conference division titles, 10 bowl appearances and six bowl victories. The end result: an overall record of 118-73 and the distinction of being the school’s all-time winningest coach.
Pinkel’s Missouri teams posted final top-20 national rankings five times, including AP rankings of No. 4 in 2007 and No. 5 in 2013. In 2007, he was named the National Coach of the Year by FieldTurf, and he won conference coach of the year honors in 2007 (Big 12) and 2014 (SEC). In 2007, Mizzou claimed the school's first No. 1 national ranking since 1960 after a watershed 36-17 win against archrival Kansas in the Border Showdown at Arrowhead Stadium on Nov. 24, 2007. The Tigers subsequently fell short against Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, but the team ended the season with a school-record 12 wins, including a win in the Cotton Bowl and a No. 4 final national ranking.
Pinkel’s finest year may have come in 2013, one year after Mizzou joined the SEC. Picked to finish sixth in the SEC Eastern Division, the Tigers finished 11-1 as East Division champs, and they gave Pinkel his second victory in the Cotton Bowl and his second 12-win season along with a final No. 5 ranking in the national polls. Pinkel would lead the Tigers back to the SEC Championship Game in 2014, falling short against Alabama. The team finished the season with a win against Minnesota in the Citrus Bowl and an 11-3 record and No. 14 ranking in the AP Poll.
After his final game in 2015 and announcing his retirement because of a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Pinkel ranked as the third-winningest active coach behind future College Football Hall of Fame inductees Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech and Bill Snyder of Kansas State. Pinkel also is one of only three coaches in history to be the winningest coach of two college football programs, joining College Football Hall of Fame inductees Bear Bryant(Kentucky, Alabama) and Steve Spurrier (Florida, South Carolina). Pinkel coached 10 First Team All-Americans, three Academic All-Americans, three NFF National Scholar-Athletes and 79 first team all-conference players.
Prior to becoming a head coach, Pinkel was an all-conference and Honorable Mention All-America tight end at Kent State, playing for future College Football Hall of Fame Coach Don James. Pinkel worked as an assistant under James at Washington for 12 years, including the Huskies’ 1991 national championship team. He also served as an assistant at Kent State and Bowling Green.
Pinkel has been inducted into multiple halls of fame, including the State of Missouri Sports, St. Louis Sports Commission, Mid-American Conference, Toledo Athletics, Kent State Athletics and Kenmore High School. Active in the community, he created the GP Made Foundation to help youth facing difficult challenges and he has raised more than $10 million for charitable causes. In 2017, Pinkel released an autobiography "The 100-Yard Journey: A Life in Coaching and Battling for the Win."
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