January 11, 2018
2018 College Football Hall of Fame Class
ATLANTA (Jan. 8, 2018) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Football Hall of Fame announced the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame Class, which includes the names of 10 First Team All-America players and three standout coaches. The inductees were selected from the national ballot of 75 All-America players and six elite coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and the 98 players and 31 coaches from the divisional ranks.
2018 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS
- TREVOR COBB – RB, Rice (1989-92)
- KERRY COLLINS – QB, Penn State (1991-94)
- DAVE DICKENSON – QB, Montana (1992-95)
- DANA HOWARD – LB, Illinois (1991-94)
- CALVIN JOHNSON – WR, Georgia Tech (2004-06)
- PAUL PALMER – RB, Temple (1983-86)
- ED REED – DB, Miami [Fla.] (1998-2001)
- MATT STINCHCOMB – OT, Georgia (1995-98)
- AARON TAYLOR – C/OG, Nebraska (1994-97)
- CHARLES WOODSON – DB, Michigan (1995-97)
- FRANK BEAMER – 280-144-4 (65.9%); Murray State (1981-86), Virginia Tech (1987-2015)
- MACK BROWN – 244-122-1 (66.6%); Appalachian State (1983), Tulane (1985-87), North Carolina (1988-97), Texas (1998-2013)
- MEL TJEERDSMA – 242-82-4 (74.4%); Austin College [Texas] (1984-93), Northwest Missouri State (1994-2010)
“We are extremely proud to announce the 2018 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 announcement of the 2018 Class was made on January 8 on ESPN’s SportsCenter in Atlanta, the site of the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship, which will be played tonight at Mercedes-Benz Stadium between Alabama and Georgia. Mack Brown joined the ESPN set inside the stadium for the announcement,representing the class and sharing his thoughts on induction. Frank Beamer and Matt Stinchcomb joined Brown in participating in the coin toss on the field during the championship game.
Charles Woodson was announced as a member of the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame Class on January 7 live on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown.
The tradition of announcing the College Football Hall of Fame class in conjunction with the CFP National Championship began in 2015 before the inaugural CFP title game in Dallas. The 2018 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted at the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 4, 2018, at the New York Hilton Midtown. 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 College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
“We would like to thank CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock and his staff for the continued opportunity to announce the Hall of Fame Class in conjunction with the championship game,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are also grateful for the guidance, knowledge and vision of honors court chairmen Archie Griffin (FBS) and Jack Lengyel (divisional) for the essential role that they each play in guiding the committees in the selection of the inductees.”
2018 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS NOTES
- ONE NFF William V. Campbell Trophy® winner (Stinchcomb)
- TWO NFF National Scholar-Athletes (Dickenson, Stinchcomb)
- ONE Heisman Trophy winner (Woodson)
- SIX unanimous First Team All-Americans (Howard, Johnson, Palmer, Reed, Taylor, Woodson)
- FIVE consensus First Team All-Americans (Cobb, Collins, Reed, Stinchcomb, Taylor)
- SEVEN multi-year First Team All-Americans (Dickenson – 2, Howard – 2, Johnson – 2, Reed – 2, Stinchcomb – 2, Taylor – 2, Woodson – 2)
- SEVEN winners of college football major awards (Cobb – Doak Walker; Collins – Maxwell, Davey O’Brien; Dickenson – Walter Payton; Howard – Butkus; Johnson – Biletnikoff; Taylor – Outland; Woodson – Walter Camp, Bednarik, Nagurski, Thorpe)
- SIX national championships (Dickenson, Reed, Taylor – 3, Woodson)
- SEVEN conference players of the year (Cobb, Collins, Dickenson – 3, Howard – 2, Johnson, Reed, Woodson – 2)
- FIVE members of conference championship teams (Collins, Dickenson – 2, Reed – 2, Taylor – 3, Woodson)
- SEVEN players who still hold school records (Cobb, Collins, Dickenson, Howard, Johnson, Palmer, Reed)
- FOUR played for College Football Hall of Fame coaches (Collins – Joe Paterno; Stinchcomb – Jim Donnan; Taylor – Tom Osborne; Woodson – Lloyd Carr)
- SIX first-round NFL draft picks (Collins, Johnson, Palmer, Reed, Stinchcomb, Woodson)
- SEVEN offensive players (Cobb, Collins, Dickenson, Johnson, Palmer, Stinchcomb, Taylor)
- THREE defensive players (Howard, Reed, Woodson)
- THREE decades represented: 1980s (1) – Palmer; 1990s (7) – Cobb, Collins, Dickenson, Howard, Stinchcomb, Taylor, Woodson; 2000s (2) – Johnson, Reed
- ONE school with its first-ever College Football Hall of Fame player inductee (Temple – Palmer)
- 4 national championships (Brown – 1, Tjeerdsma – 3)
- 24 conference championships (Beamer – 7, Brown – 2, Tjeerdsma – 15)
- Winningest active coach in FBS history at the time of retirement (Beamer)
- Most wins in school history (Beamer – Virginia Tech; Tjeerdsma – Austin College [Texas], Northwest Missouri State)
- Highest winning percentage in school history* (Brown – Texas) *among head coaches with at least 10 years
- 24 bowl victories (Beamer – 11, Brown – 13)
- 16 playoff appearances (Beamer – 1, Tjeerdsma – 15)
- 108 First Team All-Americans coached (Beamer – 16, Brown – 37, Tjeerdsma – 55)
- 19 conference coach of the year honors (Beamer – 5, Brown – 2, Tjeerdsma – 12)
- First and foremost, a player must have received First Team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise their consensus All-America teams.
- A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation's honors courts 10 full seasons after his final year of intercollegiate football played.
- While each nominee's football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and fellow man. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether or not the candidate earned a college degree.
- Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years*. For example, to be eligible for the 2018 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1968 or thereafter. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.
- A coach becomes eligible three full seasons after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME QUICK FACTS
- Including the 2018 Hall of Fame class, only 997 players and 217 coaches, have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 5.26 million who have played or coached the game during the past 149 years. In other words, less than two one-hundredths of a percent (.02%) of the individuals who have played the game have been deemed worthy of this distinction.
- Founded in 1947, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame inducted its first class of inductees in 1951. The first class included 32 players and 22 coaches, including Illinois’ Red Grange, Notre Dame’s Knute Rockne, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Carlisle (Pa.)’s Jim Thorpe.
- 308 schools are represented with at least one College Football Hall of Famer.
- Induction for this class of Hall of Famers will take place Dec. 4, 2018, during the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown.
2018 College Football Hall of Fame Inductee Bios
Running Back, 1989-92
Holding nearly every rushing record in Rice history, Trevor Cobb cemented his name among the all-time greats when he took home the 1991 Doak Walker Award as the best running back in the nation. He becomes the seventh Owl player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus First Team All-American in 1991, Cobb became the first Owl to win one of college football’s major individual awards when he received the Doak Walker Award. A finalist for the award again as a senior, he went on to be named the 1992 Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year (across all sports) after leading Rice to its first winning season in 30 years. A three-time all-conference selection, he completed his career ranked second on the SWC career rushing list with 4,948 yards, which ranked eighth on the NCAA career list at the time and now ranks 24th in NCAA history.
Cobb became the first Owl and fourth SWC player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons, and he holds the top three season totals in school history, capped by his 1,692 yards in 1991. Cobb’s other conference career records include all-purpose yards (6,512), rushing attempts (1,091) and 200-yard games in a season (6). He also set 17 school records, including season and career marks for rushing attempts (306/1,091), career rushing touchdowns (38) and career 100-yard games (24). The recipient of the 1992 SWC American Spirit Award for achievement on and off the field, Cobb held Rice’s season and career scoring marks until 2008.
After his collegiate career, Cobb played in the 1993 Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game and had a stint in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chicago Bears. The Houston native also played for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe in 1996.
As the director of his non-profit, Trevor Cobb’s Helping Hands in Houston, he participates in numerous civic events and mentors young athletes to be well-rounded and educated while promoting young people’s understanding and attitudes towards those with special needs. A member of the State of Texas Sports and the Southwest Conference halls of fame, Cobb was selected as a 2017 “Honor Jersey” at Rice where a member of the current team wore No. 45 in his honor during the season. He returned to college and received his bachelor’s degree in 2001.
Penn State University
One of the greatest quarterbacks in Penn State history, Kerry Collins guided one of the most prolific offenses college football has ever seen. His remarkable career culminated with consensus First Team All-America honors in 1994, and he now becomes the 18th Nittany Lion player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
The recipient of the 1994 Maxwell and Davey O’Brien awards, Collins also finished fourth in the Heisman voting following his stellar senior campaign. That season, he led Penn State to a perfect 12-0 record, its first-ever Big Ten title and the No. 2 final ranking. The 1994 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Big Ten Silver Football Award recipient under College Football Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno, Collins broke nine single-season school records that year and guided the Nittany Lions to a win over Oregon in the 1995 Rose Bowl. Collins led the nation in passing efficiency in 1994 with a 172.9 rating, the fourth-highest all-time in a single season, while quarterbacking a prolific offense that led the nation in scoring and total offense. The 1994 First Team All-Big Ten selection led the conference in passing, passing efficiency and total offense while the Nittany Lions offensive unit broke seven conference records.
Overall, Collins quarterbacked Penn State to a 40-9 record and four straight bowl games during his time in Happy Valley, including an upset over No. 6 Tennessee in the 1994 Citrus Bowl that vaulted the Nittany Lions to a top 10 finish following the 1993 season. The 1994 team MVP and captain still holds the single-season school records for completion percentage (66.7) and pass efficiency (172.9). The 1994 Chevrolet Offensive Player of the Year and UPI Back of the Year, Collins finished his career with 5,304 passing yards and 39 touchdowns, and both marks remain in the top 10 in school annals.
Collins was the fifth overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers, becoming the team’s first-ever draft pick. The two-time Pro Bowl selection played 17 years in the NFL with the Panthers, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts. In 2000, Collins led the Giants to the NFC championship and a berth in Super Bowl XXXV. The Lebanon, Pa., native ranks in the top 20 in NFL history in both career passing yards and completions.
Collins has continuously given back to the community, donating more than $2 million to charities through the Kerry Collins Foundation. Ever loyal to his alma mater, Collins donated $250,000 to permanently endow Penn State’s quarterback position. Since his retirement from the NFL, Collins has owned a ranch in North Carolina and has dabbled in songwriting.
University of Montana
A Montana football legend, Dave Dickenson remains the Grizzlies’ all-time leading passer and still holds 28 other school records. The two-time First Team All-American becomes the second player in school history to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
The recipient of the 1995 Walter Payton Award as the top player in the FCS, Dickenson led Montana to the FCS national title that year. In the championship game, he orchestrated a 12-play, 72-yard scoring drive that culminated with the game-winning field goal as part of a come-from-behind win over Marshall. In four playoff games in 1995, Dickenson threw for 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns, bringing his totals at the end of the season to 5,676 and 51, respectively. Although the NCAA did not recognize playoff statistics at the time, he completed the regular season with a school- and then-Big Sky Conference single-season record 4,176 passing yards. Dickenson’s 379.6 yards per game in 1995 rank fifth all-time in FCS history and still stand as a school and conference record. His record-setting senior season also extended off the field where he was named an NFF National Scholar-Athlete and earned his third consecutive Academic All-America honors.
The three-time First Team All-Big Sky selection and Big Sky Offensive MVP led the Grizzlies to conference titles in 1993 and 1995, and he led the FCS in passing yards per game as a junior and senior. Dickenson finished third for the Walter Payton Award in 1994 and was an Honorable Mention All-American in 1993 after leading the team to the playoffs in both seasons. A three-time team MVP, his school-record 11,080 career passing yards are sixth in conference history, and his 33 career wins remain a program best. A member of the University of Montana’s Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame, Dickenson’s No. 15 jersey is one of only two retired jerseys at the school.
After college, Dickenson played professionally for 12 seasons, most notably in the Canadian Football League for the Calgary Stampeders (1997-2000, 2008) and the BC Lions (2003-07). The 2015 CFL Hall of Fame inductee was the league’s MVP in 2000, and he won three Grey Cups (1998, 2006, 2008). Dickenson spent the 2001 and 2002 seasons in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions.
After seven years as an assistant coach, Dickenson has served as head coach of the Calgary Stampeders since 2016, leading the team to two Grey Cup appearances in as many seasons and earning coach of the year honors after his first campaign. Active in the community, Dickenson is heavily involved with the Special Olympics in Alberta, Canada, and supports the Calgary Urban Project Society. A member of the Montana High School Association Athletic and State of Montana Football halls of fame, he was named the Big Sky Conference’s greatest-ever male athlete in 2013.
University of Illinois
A tackling machine during his time at Illinois, Dana Howard became the first player in school history to earn a major national award when he received 1994 Butkus Award as the best linebacker in the nation. He becomes the 11th Fighting Illini player elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time First Team All-American, Howard earned unanimous honors as a senior in 1994. The two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year remains Illinois’ all-time leading tackler with 595 career stops, which was a Big Ten record at the end of his Fighting Illini tenure. A four-time All-Big Ten honoree, Howard earned First Team recognition in his last three seasons after making the Second Team as a freshman. The 1994 team captain and two-time team MVP, he led Illinois in tackles all four seasons of his career, and all four marks still rank among the school’s top 10 single-season tackling performances.
The East St. Louis, Ill., native owns three of the Illini’s top four spots for single-game solo tackles, including the record of 20 which he set against Ohio State during his freshman season. Also ranked third in school history with eight career forced fumbles, Howard helped Illinois to three bowl berths, including a shutout win over East Carolina in the 1994 Liberty Bowl.
A fifth round selection by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1995 NFL Draft, Howard had stints with the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears. He also played for the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe.
Howard is a member of several foundations in the East St. Louis, Ill., area, including the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation. An avid guest speaker, he also helps organize the City of Champions Football Classic to benefit the East St. Louis school district. Howard currently owns Zoie LLC DBA Dana Howard Construction Company based in Belleville, Ill.
Wide Receiver, 2004-06
Arguably the greatest wide receiver in Georgia Tech history, Calvin Johnson rewrote the school record books and ended his career receiving the Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in the nation. He is the 14th Yellow Jacket player to enter the Hall.
One of just six Yellow Jackets to be a two-time First Team All-American, Johnson earned unanimous honors as a senior and became the first three-time First Team All-ACC selection in program history. The Tyrone, Ga., native remains Georgia Tech’s all-time career leader in receiving yards (2,927), touchdown receptions (28) and 100-yard receiving games (13). Johnson’s best year came in 2006 when he won the Biletnikoff Award and was named the ACC Player of the Year after leading the Yellow Jackets to the Coastal Division title. A team captain that season, he placed in the top 10 for the Heisman Trophy after setting single-season school records for receiving yards (1,202), touchdown receptions (15) and 100-yard receiving games (7).
The 2004 Freshman All-American and ACC Rookie of the Year helped Georgia Tech to three consecutive bowl games, including a win in the 2004 Champs Sports Bowl. A seven-time ACC Player of the Week, Johnson ranks 15th in conference history in career receiving yards and is tied for seventh in career touchdown receptions. “Megatron” also sits in the top 10 in Georgia Tech annals in five other receiving categories, currently ranking second in both career and single-season receptions. He was elected to the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.
The second overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, Johnson spent his entire nine-year career with the Detroit Lions. The Lions’ all-time leading receiver was a six-time Pro Bowl selection and owns the NFL record for single-season receiving yards.
Off the field, he founded the Calvin Johnson Jr. Foundation to help at-risk youth and provide financial assistance to community organizations. He is currently working as a private wide-receiver consultant, working with players at the high school, collegiate and professional levels, and he says he plans to return to college.
Running Back, 1983-86
A unanimous First Team All-American in 1986, Paul Palmer was the most prolific running back in Temple history. He deservedly becomes the first Owls player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
The runner-up for the 1986 Heisman Trophy, Palmer led the nation in rushing yards (1,866), rushing yards per game (169.6), all-purpose yards (2,633) and all-purpose yards per game (239.4) that season. His all-purpose yards that season broke the NCAA record held by Hall of Famer Marcus Allen while his rushing yards were the ninth-highest FBS single-season total at the time. Palmer also tied the NCAA record with 417 all-purpose yards against East Carolina in 1986, which still stands as a school single-game record, and his 349 rushing yards in the game were a Temple record until 2012. He ended his collegiate career by earning MVP honors in both the Blue-Gray Classic and the Hula Bowl.
A Second Team All-American in 1985, Palmer set 23 school records during his career and remains Temple’s all-time leading rusher with 4,895 yards, the sixth-best career mark in FBS history when his career ended. He also remains the Owls’ career leader in all-purpose yards (6,613), rushing attempts (935), 100-yard rushing games (21) and 200-yard rushing games (6). The owner of the top two single-season rushing performances in school history, Palmer led Temple in rushing, scoring and all-purpose yards all four seasons of his career. The Owls were independent at the time, but he received multiple honors from the ECAC, including the 1986 ECAC Player of the Year, 1985 ECAC Offensive Player of the Year and 1983 ECAC Rookie of the Year.
The 19th overall selection in the 1987 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, Palmer also had stints with the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals. He also played two seasons for the Barcelona Dragons of the World League of American Football.
The Potomac, Md., native was inducted into the Temple Football Hall of Fame in 2000. Palmer currently serves as the radio analyst for Temple football games.
University of Miami (Fla.)
Defensive Back, 1998-2001
One of the best defensive players in Miami history, Ed Reed twice earned First Team All-America honors while guiding the Hurricanes to a national championship. The St. Rose, La., native becomes the seventh player in school annals to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A unanimous First Team All-American in 2001 and a consensus honoree in 2000, Reed led the Hurricanes to four consecutive bowl victories, ending his career with a perfect 12-0 record and a national championship after defeating Nebraska in the 2002 Rose Bowl. He also led Miami to a win over in-state rival Florida in the 2001 Sugar Bowl. The 2001 Big East Defensive Co-Player of the Year led the Hurricanes to consecutive conference titles as a junior and senior. A finalist for the 2001 Jim Thorpe Award, Reed was a three-time All-Big East selection, earning first team honors his last two seasons after receiving second team laurels as a sophomore.
Reed’s 21 career interceptions and 389 career interception return yards both stand as Miami and Big East records. The standout defensive back led the Hurricanes and the conference in interceptions in 2000 and 2001, posting four consecutive games with a pick in both seasons. Reed also holds Miami’s career record with four interceptions returned for touchdowns, and his 206 interception return yards in 2001 are a single-season conference record. Overall, he led the Hurricanes to an impressive 41-8 record in his four years at “The U.”
Selected in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens, Reed played 11 seasons with the franchise before ending his career with the Houston Texans and New York Jets in 2013. The nine-time Pro Bowl selection led the Ravens to a championship in Super Bowl XLVII following the 2012 season. Reed is a member of the Baltimore Ravens Ring of Honor and the NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s.
Off the field, he established the Ed Reed Foundation to help youth in underserved communities. He hosts charity golf tournaments and football camps while annually providing full Thanksgiving meals to approximately 600 families. Reed is a member of both the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame and the Hurricanes’ Ring of Honor.
University of Georgia
Offensive Tackle, 1995-98
Just the third College Football Hall of Fame inductee ever to have also claimed the NFF William V. Campbell Trophy®, Matt Stinchcomb built an athletic and academic record that made him one of the most decorated players in Georgia history. He is the 14th Bulldog player to enter the Hall.
A two-time First Team All-American, Stinchcomb earned consensus honors following his senior season in 1998. He led Georgia to a 19-5 record during his junior and senior campaigns with respective victories in the Outback and Peach Bowls. Stinchcomb started 32 consecutive games for College Football Hall of Fame coach Jim Donnan’s Bulldogs while also claiming the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the SEC’s most outstanding blocker in 1998. The senior team captain was a two-time First Team All-SEC selection in 1997 and 1998 and claimed second team honors as a sophomore. A member of the UGA Circle of Honor and the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame, Stinchcomb was named an SEC Legend in 2009 and was named to the SEC All-Decade Team for the 1990s.
In addition to winning the 1998 Campbell Trophy® as the top football scholar-athlete in the country, Stinchcomb twice claimed First Team Academic All-America honors, including being named the Academic All-American of the Year as a senior. His academic record and community leadership brought multiple honors, including an NCAA Top Eight Award and twice being named to the AFCA Good Works Team.
After graduating magna cum laude with a business degree, Stinchcomb was selected 18th overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 1999 NFL Draft. He played five seasons with the Raiders (1999-2003), helping the team win the AFC championship in 2002 and earn a trip to Super Bowl XXXVII. He retired in 2006 following two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Following the NFL, Stinchcomb joined with his brother, Jon, a fellow NFF National Scholar-Athlete from Georgia, to form the Stinchcomb Family Foundation to support regional and national children’s charities. He also serves as chairman of the Countdown to Kickoff Charities, the fundraising arm for pediatric healthcare philanthropies, among many other community activities. An avid guest speaker, he currently serves as the director of the Atlanta branch of Seacrest Partners, a commercial insurance brokerage and consulting firm. During the college football season, Stinchcomb can be seen as a game analyst on the SEC Network.
University of Nebraska
Center/Offensive Guard, 1994-97
The only Nebraska player in history to earn All-America honors at two different positions, Aaron Taylor led the Huskers to three undefeated, national championship seasons. He becomes the 18th player from Nebraska to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
The two-time First Team All-American first earned consensus honors as a junior after making the switch to center at the beginning of the season. Taylor then moved back to his preferred position of left guard during his senior season when he claimed unanimous First Team All-America honors and the 1997 Outland Trophy as the most outstanding interior lineman in the nation. In addition to the three national championships, the three-time first team all-conference selection led Nebraska to three conference titles (Big Eight - 1994, 1995; Big 12 - 1997), as well as a Big 12 North Division title in 1996. Taylor posted 337 career pancake blocks while leading the Huskers to an impressive 49-2 overall record and a perfect 30-0 conference mark in four years.
As a senior in 1997, Taylor led Nebraska to a perfect 13-0 record and the school's third national title in four years after defeating Tennessee in the Orange Bowl. That season, he posted a then-single-season school record 137 pancake blocks while anchoring an offensive unit that led the nation in total offense, rushing and scoring. Taylor started every game of his junior season at center with the exception of the Orange Bowl win over Virginia Tech (started at left guard) as the team finished 11-2, giving him the only two losses during his four years in Lincoln. He moved into a starting role as a sophomore in 1995, earning Third Team All-America honors while guiding the Huskers to a 12-0 season and a national title after defeating Florida in the Fiesta Bowl. As a redshirt freshman in 1994, Taylor played in every game while helping the Huskers to a perfect 13-0 national championship season after a win over Miami (Fla.) in the Orange Bowl.
Taylor was selected in the seventh round of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, splitting the season between the Colts and Chicago Bears before retiring from the game.
The Wichita Falls, Texas, native played for College Football Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne and alongside Hall of Famers Tommie Frazier and Grant Wistrom during his time at Nebraska. Taylor has been named to the Sports Illustrated All-Century Team, Walter Camp All-Century Team, Nebraska All-Century Team and the Big 12 10th Anniversary Team. Currently a customer care manager for Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, Neb., he had his No. 67 jersey retired by the Huskers in 1998.
University of Michigan
Defensive Back, 1995-97
The only primarily defensive player to ever win the Heisman Trophy, Charles Woodson guided Michigan to a national championship during one of the best careers in college football history. He becomes the 31st Wolverine player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time First Team All-American, Woodson earned unanimous honors after his remarkable 1997 season – the same year he claimed the Heisman, Walter Camp Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award and Jim Thorpe Award. His versatility was on full display that season as he finished second nationally with eight interceptions while also scoring as a rusher, receiver and punt returner. The two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year led the Wolverines to the 1997 conference title after a win against archrival Ohio State in which he scored on a 78-yard punt return, intercepted a pass in the end zone and caught a 37-yard pass for Michigan’s only offensive touchdown. Woodson and the Wolverines would wrap up their perfect 12-0 national championship season with a win over Washington State in the Rose Bowl, in which he recorded an interception and tied for a then-Rose Bowl record with four passes broken up.
The three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection led the team in interceptions all three seasons. Named the 1997 team MVP while playing for College Football Hall of Fame coach Lloyd Carr, Woodson set the Michigan record with 30 career pass break-ups, which now ranks fifth all-time. The 1995 Big Ten Freshman of the Year also ranks second all-time in school history in career interceptions (18), third in single-season interceptions (8 in 1997) and still sits in the top 10 in multiple punt return categories. A native of Fremont, Ohio, Woodson was named to both the University of Michigan Hall of Honor and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 2017.
Taken fourth overall in the 1998 NFL Draft, Woodson played professionally 18 years for the Oakland Raiders (1998-2005, 2013-15) and the Green Bay Packers (2006-12). The nine-time Pro Bowler helped the Packers win Super Bowl XLV following the 2010 season, and he guided the Raiders to an AFC championship in 2002. Woodson twice led the NFL in interceptions, and his multiple honors include the 1998 Defensive Rookie of the Year and 2009 Defensive Player of the Year.
Active in the community, he established the Charles Woodson Foundation, which offers scholarships to students raised in single-parent homes, and he has contributed millions of dollars to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital for pediatric research. A member of the Walter Camp All-Century Team, the Big Ten renamed its defensive player of the year award as the Nagurski-Woodson Award in his honor in 2011. He has served as a broadcaster for ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown since 2016.
Murray State University (1981-86), Virginia Tech (1987-2015)
Head Coach, 280-144-4 (65.9%)
The winningest coach in Virginia Tech history, Frank Beamer’s 280 career victories rank sixth in FBS history and are the 13th most by a college football coach at any NCAA division. He led the Hokies to their first-ever national title game appearance as part of an impressive streak of 23 consecutive bowl berths in his final 23 seasons.
Beamer began his 35-year head coaching career at Murray State from 1981-86, and he ranks fourth in school history in wins after leading the Racers to a 42-23-2 record in six seasons. In 1986, he guided the team to a share of the Ohio Valley Conference title and a trip to the FCS Playoffs.
In 1987, Beamer became the head coach at his alma mater Virginia Tech, where would win a school-record 238 games in 29 seasons (1987-2015). Arguably, his best season came in 1999 when he earned consensus National Coach of the Year honors after leading Virginia Tech to an appearance in the BCS National Championship at the Sugar Bowl following the program’s first 11-win season and first undefeated regular season in school history. Under Beamer, the Hokies posted five top-10 finishes and became one of only six programs in college football history to go to a bowl game in at least 20-straight seasons. After just one win in six bowl games prior to his arrival, Beamer would win 11 of his 23 appearances, including marquee wins in the 1995 Sugar Bowl, 2009 Orange Bowl and the 2009 Chick-fil-A Bowl. His Hokies are also one of just four teams in Division I history to produce 10 wins in eight or more consecutive seasons (2004-11), and his 23-straight seasons of seven or more wins are a school record.
A five-time conference Coach of the Year, Beamer won three BIG EAST titles and added four ACC titles in five conference championship game appearances. Overall, he coached 16 First Team All-Americans, two NFF National Scholar-Athletes, 79 first team all-conference selections, three ACC Players of the Year, three BIG EAST Offensive Players of the Year, two BIG EAST Defensive Players of the Year and two BIG EAST Special Teams Players of the Year.
One of his lasting legacies is “Beamerball,” the name given for the Hokies’ ability to make big plays and score on offense, defense and special teams. Beamer’s teams blocked more kicks in the 1990s than any other FBS program, helping him earn BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Decade laurels.
Beamer started three years as a cornerback at Virginia Tech for College Football Hall of Fame coach Jerry Claiborne. Before becoming a head coach, he served as an assistant coach at Maryland, The Citadel and Murray State. A member of the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame, Beamer’s No. 25 jersey was retired by the school in 2002, his name adorns the Hokies’ locker room and the street in front of Lane Stadium is known as Beamer Way. He currently serves as a special assistant to the athletics director at Virginia Tech, and he is a member of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.
Appalachian State University (1983), Tulane University (1985-87),
University of North Carolina (1988-97), University of Texas (1998-2013)
Head Coach, 244-122-1 (66.6%)
Highlighted by a national championship win at Texas, Mack Brown led his teams to 22 bowl games during a remarkable 30-year career as a head coach. His 244 career victories are the 10th most by a coach in FBS history.
Brown began his successful head-coaching career with a one-year stint at Appalachian State in 1983, leading the Mountaineers to a 6-5 record. After a successful season as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma under Hall of Fame coach Barry Switzer, he became the head coach and athletics director at Tulane in 1985. He led the Green Wave to a 6-6 record in his final year in 1987 and a trip to the Independence Bowl, its first bowl appearance in seven years.
During 10 seasons as the head coach at North Carolina from 1988-97, Brown won 69 games – tied for the second most victories in school history. Brown’s Tar Heels would post winning records in his final eight seasons and go to bowl games every year beginning in 1992, including a win in the 1993 Peach Bowl, the program's first bowl appearance since 1986. The 1996 ACC Coach of the Year led North Carolina to three 10-win seasons, and the team finished in the top 25 four times, including a No. 10 ranking in 1996 and the No. 4 spot in 1997.
It was at Texas from 1998-2013 where Brown would see his greatest success. Boasting the highest winning percentage (76.7%) in school history among coaches with at least 10 years at the helm, his 158 career wins are second only to Hall of Fame coach Darrell Royal in Longhorn history. During the 2005 season, Brown guided Texas to its first national championship in 35 years after defeating Southern California at the Rose Bowl in one of the greatest games in college football history. The 2009 Big 12 Coach of the Year won two conference titles (2005, 2009), four Big 12 South Division titles and led the Longhorns to another appearance in the BCS National Championship following the 2009 season. A two-time National Coach of the Year at Texas, Brown won more than 10 games in nine consecutive seasons, and his teams posted 13 top 25 finishes, including seven in the top 10. He posted a Big 12 record 21 consecutive conference wins from 2004-06, and he led the Longhorns to bowl games in all but one season, winning 10.
Over his entire career, Brown coached 37 First Team All-Americans, six Academic All-Americans, 110 first team all-conference selections and 11 conference Players of the Year. He also coached two College Football Hall of Famers in Dre Bly (North Carolina) and Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams (Texas), and four NFF National Scholar-Athletes, including Campbell Trophy® winners Sam Acho and Dallas Griffin at Texas. Brown posted 20 consecutive winning seasons from 1990-2009, and his 225 wins from 1990-2013 were the most among FBS coaches during that span.
A native of Cookeville, Tenn., Brown played running back at Vanderbilt and Florida State. Before his first head coaching job at Appalachian State, he served as an assistant coach at Florida State, Southern Miss, Memphis, Iowa State and LSU. A member of the Texas Longhorns Hall of Honor, Brown is also enshrined in the Rose Bowl, State of Texas Sports, State of Tennessee Sports and Holiday Bowl halls of fame. He currently serves as a college football studio and game analyst at ESPN and as a special assistant at Texas.
Austin College [Texas] (1984-93), Northwest Missouri State University (1994-2010)
Head Coach, 242-82-4 (74.4%)
The winningest head coach in both Austin College and Northwest Missouri State history, Mel Tjeerdsma left a lasting impact on college football. Boasting an impressive 74.4 winning percentage and three national championships, his 242 career wins are the 10th most all-time by an NCAA Division II coach.
Tjeerdsma began his 27-year head coaching career at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, from 1984-93. Winning a school record 59 games in 10 seasons, he led the ‘Roos to three conference titles (1984, 1985, 1988) and trips to the NAIA Division II playoffs in 1988 and 1990.
In 1994, Tjeerdsma became the head coach at Northwest Missouri State, where he compiled the most wins (183) and highest winning percentage in school history during a 17-year stint. Four years after his inaugural winless season with the Bearcats, Northwest became the first NCAA Division II football program to finish a season 15-0 in 1998. He won back-to-back Division II national championships in 1998 and 1999 – the university's first national titles in any sport. Tjeerdsma’s Bearcats added a third championship in 2009, capping an unprecedented run of five national championship game appearances that began in 2005.
The four-time AFCA National Coach of the Year led Northwest to 12 MIAA titles and a 32-10 record in 13 trips to the postseason. The 2009 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year, Tjeerdsma was named the conference Coach of the Year 12 times and an AFCA Regional Coach of the Year seven times. His Bearcats won more than 11 games in all but four seasons, and his 24 consecutive wins streak from 1999-2000 is the longest run in school history. Tjeerdsma retired as Northwest’s head coach following the 2010 season, during which he led the team to a 12-2 record, a conference title and a trip to the Division II semifinals.
Overall, he coached 55 First Team All-Americans, 20 First Team Academic All-Americans, 194 first team all-conference selections and one NFF National Scholar-Athlete. Tjeerdsma is a member of the NCAA Division II Football, MIAA, State of Missouri Sports, State of South Dakota Sports and Northwest’s M-Club halls of fame. In 2011, the Springfield, S.D., native coached Team USA to a world championship at the International Federation of American Football World Cup in Austria.
A graduate of Southern State College (S.D.) in 1967, Tjeerdsma began his coaching career at the high school level in Iowa where he won the very first Class 2A State football championship in 1972. Before becoming the head coach at Austin College, he served as the offensive coordinator for eight seasons at Northwestern (Iowa) and helped the team win an NAIA Division II national championship in 1983. The field at Northwest’s Bearcat Stadium was named in his honor in 2007 when he was still coaching, and he received the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Grant Teaff Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. Tjeerdsma has served as Northwest’s Athletics Director since 2013.
About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include Football Matters®, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy® presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.