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Boomer Grigsby


James Harvey Grigsby

Inducted 2022

Date of Birth



Canton, IL


Illinois State University (2001-2004)


The all-time leading tackler in FCS history, Boomer Grigsby is the only three-time Gateway (now Missouri Valley) Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year in league history. The Canton, Illinois, native is the first Redbird player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame. A three-time First Team All-American (2002-04), Grigsby set the FCS record 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 was the only player in history to finish in the top three for the Buck Buchanan Award in three consecutive seasons. Grigsby ranked second all-time in FCS history with 12.5 tackles per game during his career, and he boasted 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 was renamed in his honor. The three-time First Team All-Gateway selection was 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 Gateway 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. Grigsby played five seasons in the NFL. 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.


Height 5'11"

Weight 237

Career Highlights

  • 2004 First Team All-America
  • 2004 First Team All-Gateway
  • 2003 First Team All-America
  • 2003 First Team All-Gateway
  • 2002 First Team All-America
  • 2002 First Team All-Gateway
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