IRVING, Texas (March 11, 2020) – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class Presented by ETT during “SportsCenter” on ESPN2.
2020 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS
Presented by ETT
- Lomas Brown – OT, Florida (1981-84)
- Keith Byars – RB, Ohio State (1982-85)
- Eric Crouch – QB, Nebraska (1998-2001)
- Eric Dickerson – RB, Southern Methodist (1979-82)
- Glenn Dorsey – DT, LSU (2004-07)
- Jumbo Elliott – OT, Michigan (1984-87)
- Jason Hanson – PK, Washington State (1988-91)
- E.J. Henderson – LB, Maryland (1999-2002)
- E.J. Junior – DE, Alabama (1977-80)
- Steve McNair – QB, Alcorn State (1991-94)
- Cade McNown – QB, UCLA (1995-98)
- Leslie O’Neal – DT, Oklahoma State (1982-85)
- Anthony Poindexter – DB, Virginia (1995-98)
- David Pollack – DE, Georgia (2001-04)
- Bob Stein – DE, Minnesota (1966-68)
- Michael Westbrook – WR, Colorado (1991-94)
- Elmo Wright – WR, Houston (1968-70)
- Dick Sheridan – 121-52-5 (69.4%); Furman (1978-85), North Carolina State (1986-92)
- Andy Talley – 258-155-2 (62.4%); St. Lawrence [NY] (1979-83), Villanova (1985-2016)
The 17 First Team All-America players and two standout coaches in the 2020 Class were selected from the national ballot of 76 players and five coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision, the 101 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks and the NFF Veterans Committee candidates.
“We are extremely proud to announce the 2020 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 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class Presented by ETT will be officially inducted during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by ETT on Dec. 8 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 Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
The announcement of the 2020 Class was made today during the Noon ET edition of “SportsCenter” on ESPN2.
“We want to thank ESPN for the opportunity to announce the 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class during ‘SportsCenter,'” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “Today’s announcement shines a light on the accomplishments of some of college football’s greatest legends.”
2020 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS NOTES
- 2 NFF National Scholar-Athletes (Hanson, Stein)
- 1 Heisman Trophy winner (Crouch)
- 6 unanimous First Team All-Americans (Byars, Dickerson, Dorsey, Hanson, Junior, O’Neal)
- 8 consensus First Team All-Americans (Brown, Elliott, Henderson, McNown, Poindexter, Pollack, Westbrook, Wright)
- 7 multi-year First Team All-Americans (Dorsey (2), Elliott (2), Hanson (2), Henderson (2), O’Neal (2), Poindexter (2), Pollack (3))
- 5 winners of college football major awards (Crouch – Heisman, Davey O’Brien, Walter Camp; Dorsey – Lombardi, Nagurski, Outland; Henderson – Bednarik, Butkus; McNair – Walter Payton; Pollack – Bednarik, Lombardi)
- 2 members of national championship teams (Dorsey, Junior (2))
- 10 conference players of the year (Byars, Crouch (2), Dickerson (2), Dorsey, Henderson (2), McNair (4), McNown, O’Neal, Poindexter, Pollack (2))
- 13 members of conference championship teams (Byars, Crouch, Dickerson (2), Dorsey, Elliott, Henderson, Junior (3), McNair (2), McNown (2), Poindexter, Pollack, Stein, Westbrook)
- 13 players who still hold school records (Byars, Crouch, Dickerson, Hanson, Henderson, Junior, McNair, McNown, O’Neal, Poindexter, Pollack, Westbrook, Wright)
- 9 played for College Football Hall of Fame coaches (Byars – Earle Bruce, Elliott – Bo Schembechler, Hanson – Dennis Erickson, Junior – Paul “Bear” Bryant, McNown – Terry Donahue, O’Neal – Jimmy Johnson, Poindexter – George Welsh, Westbrook – Bill McCartney, Wright – Bill Yeoman)
- 11 first-round NFL draft picks (Brown, Byars, Dickerson, Dorsey, Junior, McNair, McNown, O’Neal, Pollack, Westbrook, Wright)
- 9 offensive players (Brown, Byars, Crouch, Dickerson, Elliott, McNair, McNown, Westbrook, Wright)
- 7 defensive players (Dorsey, Henderson, Junior, O’Neal, Poindexter, Pollack, Stein)
- 1 special teams players (Hanson)
- 5 decades represented: 1960s (1) – Stein; 1970s (1) – Wright; 1980s (7) – Brown, Byars, Dickerson, Elliott, Hanson, Junior, O’Neal; 1990s (4) – McNair, McNown, Poindexter, Westbrook; 2000s (4) – Crouch, Dorsey, Henderson, Pollack
- 1 school with its first-ever Hall of Fame player (Alcorn State – McNair)
- 1 national championship (Talley)
- 14 conference championships (Sheridan – 6, Talley – 8)
- Most wins in school and conference history (Talley – Villanova & CAA)
- Highest winning percentage in school history (Sheridan – Furman)
- 16 playoff appearances (Sheridan – 3, Talley – 13)
- 6 bowl appearances (Sheridan)
- 28 First Team All-Americans coached (Sheridan – 12, Talley – 16)
- 190 first team all-conference players coached (Sheridan – 106, Talley – 84)
- 7 conference coach of the year honors (Sheridan – 4, Talley – 3)
- 3 schools with their first-ever Hall of Fame coach or player inductee (Furman – Sheridan; St. Lawrence – Talley; Villanova – Talley)
1. First and foremost, a player must have received First Team All-America recognition by a selector recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise its consensus All-America teams.
2. A player becomes eligible for consideration by the NFF’s Honors Court 10 full seasons after his final year of intercollegiate football played.
3. 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. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether or not the candidate earned a college degree.
4. Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years*. For example, to be eligible for the 2020 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1970 or thereafter. In addition, current professional players and/or coaches are not eligible until retirement.
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, which examine unique cases.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME QUICK FACTS
- Including the 2020 Hall of Fame class, only 1,027 players and 221 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 5.4 million who have played or coached the game during the past 150 years. In other words, less than two one-hundredths of a percent (.02%) of the individuals who have played the game have earned 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.
- 314 schools are represented with at least one College Football Hall of Famer.
- Induction for the 2020 Class will take place Dec. 8 during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by ETT at the New York Hilton Midtown.
2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class Bios
University of Florida
Offensive Tackle, 1981-84
The anchor of the Gators’ offensive line known as “The Great Wall of Florida,” Lomas Brown remains one of the most dominant blockers in SEC history. The Miami native becomes the ninth Florida player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus First Team All-American in 1984, Brown received the Jacobs Blocking Trophy that season as the SEC’s top blocker. The senior team captain was a two-time All-SEC selection, earning first team honors in 1984 after taking home second team laurels in 1983. During his stellar 1984 campaign, Brown guided Florida to nine consecutive wins to finish the season 9-1-1 while anchoring an offense that helped three different backs each gain nearly 700 rushing yards.
Florida’s Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1983, Brown led the Gators to three-straight bowl berths, including a win in the 1983 Gator Bowl. He started 31 of his last 33 games, guiding Florida to top 10 national rankings in 1983 (No. 6) and 1984 (No. 3). The Gators beat in-state rival Florida State all four years Brown was in Gainesville, and he capped his stellar collegiate career by playing in both the Hula and Senior bowls. A member of the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame, he played for the Gators alongside fellow College Football Hall of Famer Wilber Marshall.
The sixth overall pick by the Detroit Lions in the 1985 NFL Draft, Brown played 18 seasons in the pros with the Lions (1985-95), Arizona Cardinals (1996-98), Cleveland Browns (1999), New York Giants (2000-01) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002). The seven-time Pro Bowl selection appeared in two Super Bowls, retiring on a high note after helping the Buccaneers win Super Bowl XXXVII. Brown returned to Florida during the NFL offseason to complete his bachelor’s degree in 1996.
While still playing in the NFL, he founded the Lomas Brown Jr. Foundation benefitting educational institutions and related activities focusing on scholarships, student financial aid and awards programs. Noted for his generosity, Brown has hosted free football camps in Detroit for local high school students among many other charitable endeavors. He currently serves as the CEO of LBJB Sports, a sports marketing firm in Detroit, and he can be heard as the color commentator on the Detroit Lions broadcast team for flagship radio station WJR-AM.
Ohio State University
Running Back, 1982-85
Ohio State’s go-to offensive weapon during his time in Columbus, Keith Byars received unanimous First Team All-America honors in 1984 following one of the greatest individual seasons in history. He becomes the 26th player in school history to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
The 1984 Heisman Trophy runner-up, Byars led the nation that season in rushing yards (1,764), all-purpose yards (2,441) and scoring (144). The 1984 Big Ten MVP claimed first team all-conference honors for the second consecutive year while guiding the Buckeyes to the Big Ten title and a trip to the Rose Bowl. Byars’ all-purpose yards from his prolific 1984 campaign remain a single-season school record and rank fourth all-time in the Big Ten. His standout game that year came in a comeback win over Illinois in which he rushed for 274 yards and five touchdowns, which is tied for an Ohio State single-game record. On his fourth touchdown of the game, he famously lost his left shoe at the Illini 40 but never broke stride. Byars’ 354 all-purpose yards against Purdue in 1984 also remain a single-game school record.
A 1985 team captain, Byars guided the Buckeyes to four top 15 finishes, including a No. 9 ranking in 1983. He led Ohio State to three wins in four bowl games, highlighted by a win over Pittsburgh in the 1984 Fiesta Bowl in which he returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and added another score rushing. Despite missing most of his final season with an injury, Byars remains second in Ohio State history with 50 total touchdowns and ranks in the top 10 in career all-purpose yards (4,369) and career rushing yards (3,200). He surpassed 100 yards rushing in 17 games and twice led the Big Ten in rushing while playing for College Football Hall of Fame coach Earle Bruce and alongside Hall of Fame linebacker Chris Spielman. Byars was inducted into the Ohio State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000.
Selected 10th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1986 NFL Draft, Byars played 13 seasons with the Eagles (1986-92), Miami Dolphins (1993-96), New England Patriots (1996-97) and New York Jets (1998). He earned Pro Bowl honors in 1993 and helped the Patriots to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXI following the 1996 season.
Byars can currently be heard on ESPN 1410 WING-AM in Dayton, Ohio, hosting “The Keith Byars Show” on Mondays and calling high school football games on Fridays. He was also previously a studio analyst for “This Week in Football” on the YES Network.
University of Nebraska
The winner of the 2001 Heisman Trophy, Eric Crouch finished his career as only the third quarterback in NCAA history to rush for 3,000 yards and pass for 4,000 yards. The Omaha, Nebraska, native becomes the 19th Husker player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A 2001 First Team All-American as both a quarterback and all-purpose player, Crouch took home the Heisman Trophy, Walter Camp Player of the Year and Davey O’Brien Award. The 2001 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year guided Nebraska to an 11-2 record, a share of the Big 12 North title and an appearance in the BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl. In 2000, Crouch was a Second Team All-Big 12 honoree after leading the Huskers to a share of the Big 12 North title, a 10-2 record and a dominant victory over Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl. As a sophomore, he was named the 1999 Big 12 Co-Offensive Player of the Year after guiding Nebraska to the Big 12 title and a win over Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl. The 1999 Huskers finished the season with a No. 3 final ranking and a 12-1 record.
Crouch finished his career with 32 school records, and he remains atop the Nebraska charts for rushing yards by a quarterback (3,434), total touchdowns (88) and career (59) and single-season (20 in 2000) rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, among others. He surpassed 100 yards rushing in 17 games, and his career rushing touchdowns were an NCAA record for a quarterback at the time. In a game against California in 1999, Crouch tied an NCAA record by scoring a touchdown via a run, a pass and a reception. The team captain’s 4,481 career passing yards rank in the top 10 at Nebraska while his rushing yards are fourth among all positions. Crouch’s other accolades include the 2001 Sporting News National Offensive Player of the Year, the 2001 ABC/Chevrolet National Player of the Year and the Big 12 Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll. Nebraska retired his No. 7 jersey in 2002.
Crouch was selected as a wide receiver in the third round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams, and he went on to professional stints in NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League.
An active member of the community, Crouch regularly makes non-publicized visits to hospitals and works with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In 2017, he established the ARQ 7-on-7 developmental football league for youth players, and he was an assistant coach at Midland University (NE) during the 2018 season. Crouch is currently the Owner & CEO of Crouch Recreation, a playground and recreation equipment vendor in Omaha.
Southern Methodist University
Running Back, 1979-82
The leader of SMU’s famed “Pony Express,” Eric Dickerson set nearly every school rushing record while launching the Mustangs into national prominence. The Sealy, Texas, native becomes the seventh SMU player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A unanimous First Team All-American in 1982, Dickerson finished third for the Heisman Trophy after guiding SMU to a No. 2 final ranking and an 11-0-1 record. The two-time Southwest Conference Player of the Year led the Mustangs to back-to-back conference titles in 1981 and 1982 and a victory over Pittsburgh in the 1983 Cotton Bowl Classic. The game was SMU’s first Cotton Bowl appearance since 1966, and it marked its first win in the fabled game since 1949. Dickerson earned Second Team All-America honors in 1981 after helping SMU to a No. 5 final ranking and a 10-1 record.
SMU’s all-time leading rusher with 4,450 career yards, Dickerson owns 12 other school records, including single-season rushing yards (1,617 in 1982), career rushing touchdowns (47) and career 100-yard rushing games (28). He is also tied atop the Mustang record books with College Football Hall of Famer Doak Walker with 288 career points. A two-time First Team All-Southwest Conference selection, Dickerson twice led the conference in both rushing and scoring, and he ranks third in SWC history in career rushing yards. He is enshrined in the SMU Athletics, Cotton Bowl, Southwest Conference and State of Texas Sports halls of fame. A co-recipient of the 2010 Doak Walker Legends Award alongside his former Mustangs teammate Craig James, Dickerson had his No. 19 jersey retired by SMU in 2000.
A six-time Pro Bowler, Dickerson was selected second overall by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1983 NFL Draft, playing 11 years with the Rams (1983-87), Indianapolis Colts (1987-91), Los Angeles Raiders (1992) and Atlanta Falcons (1993). A 1999 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, he owns the NFL single-season rushing record (1984) and remains in the top 10 in career rushing yards. A member of the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, Dickerson is recognized in the Colts Ring of Honor and had his jersey retired by the Rams.
Off the field, he established the Eric Dickerson Foundation, which is dedicated to providing opportunities to disadvantaged youth through education. An entrepreneur, Dickerson previously worked as a sideline reporter for “Monday Night Football,” and he can currently be seen as an NFL analyst on FOX Sports.
Louisiana State University
Defensive Tackle, 2004-07
Despite being double- and sometimes triple-teamed, Glenn Dorsey terrorized offensive lines while guiding LSU to a national championship. The most decorated defensive player in school history becomes the 10th Tiger player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time First Team All-American, Dorsey earned unanimous honors in 2007 after leading LSU to a win over Ohio State in the BCS National Championship Game. During his stellar senior campaign, he won the Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi and Lott IMPACT trophies, becoming the first player in Tigers history to receive any of those awards. A team captain in 2007, Dorsey guided LSU to the conference title while earning SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors and being named a finalist for the Bednarik Award.
The two-time First Team All-SEC selection was the leader of one of the most successful four-year periods in LSU history, helping the Tigers to a 43-9 overall record during his career. A five-time SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week, Dorsey also guided LSU to the 2005 SEC West Division title and three other bowl games, including back-to-back wins in the 2005 Peach Bowl and 2007 Sugar Bowl. The anchor of a defense that rated No. 3 nationally in yards allowed in both his junior and senior seasons, he led the Tigers to top 10 final rankings in 2005 (No. 5), 2006 (No. 3) and 2007 (No. 1). Dorsey accumulated 179 total tackles, including 27 for loss and 13 sacks, while playing in 52 games for LSU, including 27 straight starts to end his career in Baton Rouge. He was honored as a member of the SEC Football Legends Class in 2017.
Dorsey, who opted to return to LSU for his senior season despite being projected as a first-round NFL
Draft pick as a junior, became the fifth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. He played five seasons with the Chiefs (2008-12) and four with the San Francisco 49ers (2013-16).
Off the field, he established the Glenn Dorsey Foundation, which focuses on teaching youth the importance of education. A motivational speaker, his community activities include donating food and water to flood victims in 2016, furnishing homes for the underprivileged and donating time and money to host Easter egg hunts in Louisiana.
University of Michigan
Offensive Tackle, 1984-87
Standing at 6-foot-7 and weighing 300 pounds, John “Jumbo” Elliott certainly lived up to his nickname while becoming one of the top offensive lineman to ever don the Michigan winged helmet. The Long Island, New York, native becomes the 32nd Wolverine player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time First Team All-American, Elliott garnered consensus honors during his senior campaign. A finalist for both the Outland Trophy and the Rotary Lombardi Award in 1987, he finished his career with a then-school record 44 career starts on the offensive line, a mark that currently ranks sixth. A two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection, Elliott guided Michigan to a share of the 1986 conference title and two top 10 finishes (No. 2 in 1985 and No. 8 in 1986). A member of the 1987 All-Bowl Team, he led the Wolverines to four postseason games, including wins in the 1986 Fiesta Bowl and 1988 Hall of Fame Bowl.
The anchor of College Football Hall of Fame coach Bo Schembechler‘s potent offense, Elliott was key to the team’s 5,396 yards of total offense and 286 first downs in 1986, which were both single-season Michigan records at the time. He paved the way for running back Jamie Morris, who had three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons and held the title as the Wolverines’ all-time leading rusher for 14 years. The 1987 recipient of Michigan’s Hugh H. Rader Jr. Memorial Award as the team’s best lineman, Elliott helped the Wolverines rush for more than 2,500 yards in each of his last three seasons in Ann Arbor. A 2015 inductee into the University of Michigan Hall of Honor, he capped his collegiate career by playing in the Hula Bowl, Japan Bowl and East-West Shrine Game.
Taken in the second round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, Elliott played 14 seasons in the NFL with the Giants (1988-95) and New York Jets (1996-2000, 2002). A member of the Giants 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, he guided the team to a Super Bowl XXV victory following the 1990 season, and he was elected to the Pro Bowl in 1993.
Active in the community, Elliott has volunteered with Toys for Tots and the Special Olympics, and he participated in the NFL’s United Way campaigns every year of his pro career. He has embarked on several business ventures since retiring from the NFL, including owning Dunkin’ Donuts franchises in New York.
Washington State University
An NFF National Scholar-Athlete, Jason Hanson’s booming leg helped him set multiple records while becoming Washington State’s first unanimous First Team All-American. He becomes the fifth player in school history to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time First Team All-America kicker, Hanson earned unanimous honors during his sophomore year and was recognized by the FWAA in 1991. He was also a Third Team All-America punter as a junior and was named to the Freshman All-America Team in 1988. The Spokane, Washington, native holds several NCAA records, including career field goals of 40 yards or more (39) and 50 yards or more (20). A four-time First Team All-Pac-10 selection, Hanson earned the honor as a both a kicker and a punter in 1990. He set the Pac-10 record by making 57.1 percent of his field goals from 50 yards or longer, highlighted by a still-standing Washington State and conference record 62-yarder against UNLV in 1991.
As a freshman for College Football Hall of Fame coach Dennis Erickson, Hanson helped the Cougars to a No. 16 final ranking and an Aloha Bowl victory, securing the school’s first postseason win in 73 seasons and its first nine-win season since 1930. He was also key in leading the Cougars to their first-ever win against a No. 1 team in 1988 against UCLA, in which he kicked field goals of 48 and 50 yards. Hanson set 15 school records by career’s end, and he currently ranks second all-time at Washington State in career points (328), field goals made (63) and PATs made (139). Matching his on-field success in the classroom, the 1991 NFF National Scholar-Athlete was a three-time First Team Academic All-American and First Team Academic All-Pac-10 honoree. A teammate of Hall of Famer Mike Utley during his time in Pullman, Hanson capped his standout collegiate career playing in both the East-West Shrine Game and Hula Bowl.
A second-round pick in the 1992 NFL Draft, Hanson spent 21 seasons with the Detroit Lions. The fourth-leading scorer in NFL history is the only player with 2,000 career points for one franchise, and he was the first player to play 300 games for one team. The two-time Pro Bowler holds every placekicking record in Lions history, and he was inducted into the team’s ring of honor in 2013.
An active Christian speaker, Hanson has participated in Habitat for Humanity and helped establish Providence Youth Outreach in Pontiac, Michigan, which helps at-risk youth. A member of the Pac-12 All-Century Team and Detroit Lions 75th Season All-Time Team, he has been inducted into the Washington State University Athletics, State of Michigan Sports and CoSIDA Academic All-America halls of fame.
University of Maryland
The only two-time consensus First Team All-American in Maryland football history, E.J. Henderson racked up the awards during a remarkable career in College Park. The tackling machine becomes the seventh Terrapin player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame, and the school’s first in two decades.
A consensus First Team All-American as both a junior and a senior, Henderson took home the 2002 Bednarik Award as the best defensive player in the nation and the Butkus Award as the best linebacker in college football. The Aberdeen, Maryland, native owns NCAA records for career solo tackles per game (8.8) and single-season solo tackles (135 in 2001) while boasting school marks for tackles for loss in a career (62.5) and single-season (28 in 2001). Henderson led Maryland in tackles his final three seasons en route to compiling 473 in his career, which rank second in Terrapins history.
As a junior, Henderson was named ACC Player of the Year after leading the conference in tackles per game (13.6) and tackles for loss (28). The two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year led Maryland to the 2001 ACC title, the team’s first conference championship since 1985. Henderson and the Terps finished that season with a trip to the Orange Bowl, a No. 11 ranking and the school’s first 10-win season since 1976. During his senior campaign, the two-time First Team All-ACC Selection capped off his career as the Defensive MVP in a 2002 Peach Bowl win over Tennessee that helped the Terps finish with a No. 13 national ranking. Henderson was inducted into the University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.
A second-round pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, Henderson played his entire nine-year career with the Minnesota Vikings. He was elected to the Pro Bowl in 2011 and was named the Minnesota Vikings Community Man of the Year in 2010.
Recognized by the State of Minnesota for exemplary community involvement, he established the EJ Henderson Youth Foundation in 2007 to provide athletic and fitness programs, academic support and life skills lessons designed to help promote good choices and bright futures. Henderson also served as youth football manager for the Minnesota Vikings.
University of Alabama
Defensive End, 1977-80
An imposing threat on the defensive line, E.J. Junior led Alabama to two national championships as part of a remarkable four years in Tuscaloosa. The Nashville, Tennessee, native becomes the 19th Crimson Tide player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A unanimous First Team All-American in 1980, Junior was a finalist for the Lombardi Award and guided Alabama to consecutive national championships in 1978 and 1979. In winning College Football Hall of Fame coach Paul “Bear” Bryant‘s final national title, Junior and the 1979 Crimson Tide squad went 12-0 and claimed the program’s third-straight Sugar Bowl and SEC championships. Junior lost only four games at Alabama as the Crimson Tide posted an astounding 44-4 record, including a 28-game winning streak from 1978-80, and never finished lower than No. 6 in the national rankings.
The three-time First Team All-SEC selection capped his career in a dominant 30-2 win over Baylor in the 1981 Cotton Bowl. Selected as the 1980 SEC Lineman of the Year by both the Atlanta Touchdown Club and the Birmingham Monday Morning Quarterback Club, Junior was the leader of a defense that allowed only 98 points during his senior campaign and just 67 in 1979. He racked up 190 tackles and 21 sacks for the Crimson Tide while playing alongside Hall of Famers Marty Lyons and Ozzie Newsome, and his 10 career forced fumbles are tied for the school record. Junior is enshrined in the Senior Bowl, State of Alabama Sports and State of Tennessee halls of fame.
The fifth overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft, Junior was a two-time Pro Bowl selection while playing with the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals (1981-88). He subsequently played for the Miami Dolphins (1989-91), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1992) and Seattle Seahawks (1992-93).
Junior became an ordained minister after retiring from the NFL while also entering the coaching ranks. He started out as a linebackers coach with the Seahawks and had stints with the Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars and Rhein Fire of NFL Europe. After time as an assistant at Southwest Baptist (MO), Junior served as the head coach at Central State (OH) from 2009-13, and he was later an assistant and interim head coach at Delaware State.
Alcorn State University
Arguably the greatest player in Alcorn State history, Steve McNair rewrote the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and school record books en route to winning the 1994 Walter Payton Award as the best player in the FCS. “Air McNair” deservedly becomes the first Brave player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A 1994 First Team All-American, McNair finished third for the Heisman Trophy, which is tied for the highest finish ever by an FCS player. The 1994 Eddie Robinson Trophy recipient as the nation’s best HBCU player, he remains the all-time total yards leader in FCS history with 16,823, and his 14,496 passing yards were a national record until 2018. The only four-time SWAC Offensive Player of the Year in history, McNair led Alcorn State to conference titles and FCS Playoff berths in 1992 and 1994. Those same two seasons, the four-time First Team All-SWAC selection led the nation in total offense with 4,057 yards in 1992 and an FCS single-season record 5,799 in 1994. McNair’s other career FCS records include 41 games with 200 passing yards, 32 games with 300 passing yards, 15 games with 400 total offensive yards and nine games with 500 total offensive yards.
Alcorn State’s all-time leading passer with 14,496 career yards, McNair also owns school records for career completions (958) and passing touchdowns (119). During his remarkable 1994 senior campaign, he set single-season Braves records with 5,377 passing yards, 356 completions and 47 passing touchdowns. Some of McNair’s top performances from that season led to Alcorn State single-game records, including 587 passing yards against Southern, eight passing touchdowns against Chattanooga and 52 completions against Youngstown State (an FCS Playoff record). The 1991 SWAC Freshman of the Year also ranks third in school history with 2,327 rushing yards. The two-time Dean’s Scholar is enshrined in the SWAC, Black College Football, State of Mississippi Sports and State of Tennessee Sports halls of fame.
The third overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers, McNair played for the Oilers/Tennessee Titans from 1995-2005 and led the franchise to a berth in Super Bowl XXXIV. The three-time Pro Bowler and 2003 NFL Co-MVP finished his pro career with the Baltimore Ravens from 2006-07. McNair is a member of the Titans/Oilers Hall of Fame, and the franchise retired his No. 9 jersey in 2019.
McNair left a lasting impact in the community through the Steve McNair Foundation, which served underprivileged youth through education and civic opportunities and raised more than $1 million for charities. He organized a highly successful relief drive following Hurricane Katrina, and he trained thousands of kids at youth football camps, covering the costs for nearly 70% of the attendees. McNair received multiple awards for his work in the community, including the NFLPA’s Byron “Whizzer” White Award. He died on July 4, 2009, at the age of 36.
University of California, Los Angeles
At a school with a long line of College Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks, it was Cade McNown who finished his career as UCLA’s all-time leading passer. His record-setting four years has earned his place as the 13th Bruin player to enter the Hall of Fame.
A consensus First Team All-American in 1998, McNown took home the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and finished third for the Heisman Trophy after a stellar senior campaign. The 1998 Pac-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year and Davey O’Brien Award finalist racked up 3,470 passing yards and 3,652 total offensive yards that year – both single-season records at the time. The senior team captain and UCLA offensive MVP was named the National Quarterback of the Year by the Quarterback Club of Washington D.C. and the Pop Warner Award recipient as the top player on the West Coast. McNown led the Bruins to the 1998 Pac-10 title, a No. 8 final ranking and a berth in the 1999 Rose Bowl, where he set a school bowl record with 340 passing yards. His 513 passing yards in a shootout loss to Miami (FL) remains a UCLA single-game record.
McNown remains UCLA’s all-time leader with 10,708 passing yards and 1,250 passing attempts while his 11,285 yards of total offense and 68 touchdown passes both rank second in the school record books. As a junior, he guided UCLA to a share of the Pac-10 title while leading the nation in passing efficiency. The 1997 Bruins would finish the season with a No. 5 national ranking after a win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl in which McNown would earn Offensive MVP honors. He boasts 11 games with 300 yards passing, the second most in Bruins history, and he led the team to a 20-game winning streak during his junior and senior seasons. He played for College Football Hall of Fame coach Terry Donahue during his freshman season in 1995, and he is the only player in school history to start at quarterback in four straight wins over archrival Southern California. McNown is a member of both the UCLA Athletics and Rose Bowl halls of fame.
The 12th overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, McNown played four seasons in the pros with the Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers.
McNown entered the financial sector after his football career, and he is currently a senior managing director for Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors in Los Angeles where he is responsible for business development and client relations. He serves on the advisory board for West Coast Sports Associates and the board of directors for Friends of Golf while participating on various committees at the California Club. He has also volunteered at the California Showcase, an event sponsored by the NFF and headed by Coach Donahue that gives unsigned high school football players an opportunity to try out for divisional college football programs and earn scholarships.
Oklahoma State University
Defensive Tackle, 1982-85
The anchor of some of the best defenses in Oklahoma State history, Leslie O’Neal was every Big Eight quarterback’s nightmare. The Pokes’ all-time sacks leader becomes the fourth player in school history to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time First Team All-American, O’Neal earned unanimous honors in 1985 when he finished as the runner-up for the Lombardi Award. The 1984 Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year led the Cowboys to three consecutive bowl games, including wins in the 1983 Bluebonnet Bowl and the 1984 Gator Bowl. O’Neal racked up 12 tackles in the latter bowl victory over South Carolina that helped Oklahoma State finish the 1984 season with a 10-2 record and a No. 7 national ranking.
Arguably the greatest defensive player in program history, O’Neal was the dominant force on teams that allowed only 34 touchdowns in both 1984 and 1985, the lowest totals ever at OSU. The three-time First Team All-Big Eight selection still owns school records for career sacks (34), single-season sacks (16 in 1984), single-season sack yards (118 in 1984) and blocked kicks in a game (2 vs. Missouri in 1984). His 47 career tackles for loss rank second in Cowboys history while his 393 career tackles are good for fourth most all-time. O’Neal played for College Football Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson during his first two seasons at Oklahoma State, and he was teammates with Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas.
The eighth overall pick in the 1986 NFL Draft, O’Neal played professionally for 14 seasons with the San Diego Chargers (1986-95), St. Louis Rams (1996-97) and Kansas City Chiefs (1998-99). The 1986 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year was a six-time Pro Bowl selection and led the Chargers to an appearance in Super Bowl XXIX. A member of the Chargers Hall of Fame, O’Neal remains the franchise’s all-time leader with 105.5 sacks.
Since retiring, O’Neal has served as a motivational speaker. The Little Rock, Arkansas, native is enshrined in the Oklahoma State Athletics Hall of Honor and the State of Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Oklahoma State annually gives the Leslie O’Neal Award to the team’s outstanding defensive player.
University of Virginia
Defensive Back, 1995-98
Regarded as one of the fiercest hitters in the game during his career, Anthony Poindexter ranks among the best defensive backs in Virginia history. The Lynchburg, Virginia, native becomes the fifth Cavalier player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Just the second player in UVA history to be a two-time First Team All-American, Poindexter garnered consensus honors after his senior campaign. The 1998 ACC Defensive Player of the Year was a finalist for both the Thorpe and Nagurski Awards while playing for College Football Hall of Fame coach George Welsh. After guiding UVA to a share of the 1995 conference title and earning Honorable Mention All-ACC accolades, Poindexter would go on to become just the third Cavalier to be named a three-time First Team All-ACC selection. A two-time team captain, he was named a co-recipient of the 1998 Brian Piccolo Award as the ACC’s most courageous football player
A Second Team All-American in 1996, Poindexter led Virginia to three bowl games, including a win in the 1995 Peach Bowl. Named the 1997 Dudley Award winner as the best player in the state of Virginia, he owns the school record with seven career fumble recoveries while his 342 career tackles are the second most all-time among Cavalier defensive backs. A two-time recipient of the Ned McDonald Award as UVA’s most outstanding defensive player, Poindexter owns the school single-game record for assisted tackles (14 vs. Virginia Tech in 1996) while sharing the single-game marks for interceptions (3 vs. NC State in 1996) and fumble recoveries (2 vs. Georgia Tech in 1997 and again vs. Duke in 1998). A member of the ACC All-Academic Team as a junior, his No. 3 jersey was retired by the Cavaliers in 2009.
A seventh-round pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, Poindexter played for the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns during three seasons in the league. During the 2000 season, he played in 10 games for the Ravens on the way to their victory in Super Bowl XXXV.
Following his NFL career, Poindexter spent 11 seasons on the coaching staff at his alma mater, starting as a graduate assistant and ending his Virginia tenure as safeties coach in 2013. After serving as defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Connecticut from 2014-16, he is entering his fourth season as the co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Purdue.
University of Georgia
Defensive End, 2001-04
Following the legendary Herschel Walker as just the second Georgia player to earn First Team All-America accolades in three seasons, David Pollack left Athens as one of the most decorated players in school history. He becomes the 15th Bulldog player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus First Team All-American in 2002 and 2004, Pollack received the Bednarik Award, Rotary Lombardi Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy following his senior campaign. The 2002 SEC Player of the Year and 2004 SEC Defensive Player of the Year led Georgia to consecutive conference title games, taking the crown during his sophomore season. The only two-time recipient of the Ted Hendricks Award as the top defensive end in college football, Pollack was a three-time First Team All-SEC selection and two-time Nagurski Trophy finalist. The 2004 team captain guided the Bulldogs to top 10 finishes in his final three seasons, highlighted by a No. 3 ranking in 2002 when the team posted a 13-1 record and a Sugar Bowl win over Florida State. Pollack earned Defensive MVP honors following a 2004 Capital One Bowl win over Purdue, and he followed that up with MVP honors after a school bowl record three sacks in a 2005 Outback Bowl victory over Wisconsin.
The two-time Vince Dooley team MVP is Georgia’s all-time leader with 36 sacks, a mark that ranks fourth in SEC history. Pollack also holds school career records for 58.5 tackles for loss and three blocked punts, and he boasts two of the top five single-season sack performances in Bulldogs history – 14 in 2002 (No. 2) and 12.5 in 2004 (No. 5). The 2003 Atlanta Touchdown Club Lineman of the Year led the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss during his sophomore and senior seasons. A four-year starter, Pollack was named to the Freshman All-SEC team in 2001.
A first round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, Pollack’s pro career was cut short after an injury, and he retired in 2007. The 2009 Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame inductee was named to Sports Illustrated’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.
Pollack started his broadcasting career in 2008, doing studio work for CBS and hosting a sports radio talk show in Atlanta for 790 The Zone. A college football analyst at ESPN since 2009, he previously worked as an analyst for the network’s Thursday night college football games and co-hosted “Palmer & Pollack” on ESPNU. Pollack now contributes to “College Football Live” and has been part of the Emmy Award-winning “College GameDay” since 2011.
University of Minnesota
Defensive End, 1966-68
The quintessential student-athlete at Minnesota, Bob Stein matched All-America honors on the field with NFF National Scholar-Athlete recognition. The NFF Veterans Committee selection becomes the 19th Golden Gopher player to join the College Football Hall of Fame.
A First Team All-America defensive end in 1967, Stein also garnered Walter Camp First Team All-America honors in 1968*. The two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection led Minnesota to a share of the 1967 conference title. The 1967 squad finished with a No. 14 ranking in the coaches poll after posting an 8-2 record that included a dominant win over fifth-ranked and Rose Bowl-bound Indiana. Although defensive stats were not recorded at the time, Stein is credited with five tackles for loss against Iowa in 1966, which rank as the second most in a single-game in the Golden Gophers record book. Also serving as the team’s kicker, his 40-yard field goal in 1968 was a school record at the time, and he led the team in kicker scoring with 20 points in 1967.
An NFF National Scholar-Athlete in 1968, Stein was a two-time Academic All-American and received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. The three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree was a semifinalist for a Rhodes Scholarship in 1968. Stein is enshrined in the University of Minnesota Sports, National Jewish Sports and St. Louis Park High School (MN) halls of fame.
A fifth-round draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1969, Stein played four seasons for the franchise and helped the team win Super Bowl IV following his rookie season. He also played for the Los Angeles Rams (1973-74) before splitting the 1975 season between the Minnesota Vikings and San Diego Chargers.
While playing for the Chiefs, Stein graduated in the top 10% of his class from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. As the founding president and CEO of the Minnesota Timberwolves from 1987-95, he helped secure the NBA franchise while developing a new arena and overseeing the team’s charitable foundation. He currently works as an attorney at his own law firm in Minneapolis, Bob Stein LLC. A member of the NFF Minnesota Chapter Board of Directors, Stein previously served on the boards of the Children’s Cancer Research Fund and the University of Minnesota National Alumni Association, among others.
* The Walter Camp All-America First Team was not recognized by the NCAA until 1972.
University of Colorado
Wide Receiver, 1991-94
Having cemented his place in college football lore during the “Miracle at Michigan,” Michael Westbrook left his stamp on the record books during his Colorado career. The Detroit native becomes the eighth Buff player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus First Team All-American in 1994, Westbrook received the Touchdown Club of Columbus Paul Warfield Trophy as the nation’s top wide receiver. During that stellar senior season, he led Colorado in receiving while guiding the team to a No. 3 final ranking and an 11-1 record. Westbrook was on the receiving end of one of the most memorable passes in college football history during 1994’s “Miracle at Michigan,” hauling in a 64-yard pass from Kordell Stewart after time expired to rally the Buffs to a 27-26 win over the Wolverines. A two-time First Team All-Big Eight performer, he became only the third Colorado receiver to earn all-conference honors and the first to be selected twice. An AP Second Team All-American in 1992, Westbrook led the Buffs to four bowl berths, including wins in the 1993 Aloha Bowl over Fresno State and the 1995 Fiesta Bowl over Notre Dame.
By career’s end, Westbrook had set school records for receptions (167) and receiving yards (2,548), which currently rank fourth and third all-time at Colorado, respectively. His 19 career touchdown receptions were also a then-school record, and he still holds the Buffs career bowl game marks of 14 receptions and 283 yards. The 1992 John Mack Award recipient as Colorado’s outstanding offensive player, Westbrook led the team in receiving and scoring that year while posting a then-school record 76 receptions. As a freshman, he led the Buffs to a share of the Big Eight title and a No. 20 ranking, followed by a No. 13 finish in 1992 and a No. 16 spot in 1993. The 1995 East-West Shrine Game MVP racked up eight 100-yard receiving games in his career under College Football Hall of Fame coach Bill McCartney.
The fourth overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft, Westbrook played eight seasons in the league for the Washington Redskins (1995-2001) and Cincinnati Bengals (2002).
Westbrook was inducted into the University of Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016. Having dabbled in martial arts during his football days, he focused on Brazilian jiu-jitsu after retiring from the NFL and has since obtained a black belt, the highest level in the sport. Westbrook has won national and Pan-American events as a brown belt, and he won the 2008 International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation World Championship at purple belt.
University of Houston
Wide Receiver, 1968-70
During an era when Houston ranked among the nation’s leaders in rushing, Elmo Wright managed to leave his mark as a receiver and remains in the top five of nearly every receiving category in school history. He becomes the third Cougar player elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus First Team All-American in 1970, Wright was named the Touchdown Club of Columbus Player of the Year after leading Houston to a No. 19 final ranking. He earned Second Team All-America honors in 1969 after leading the NCAA with 14 touchdowns and guiding the Cougars to a No. 12 final ranking and a win over Auburn in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl. In 1968, Wright helped Houston finish at No. 18 while earning Honorable Mention All-America honors and setting a still-standing NCAA single-season record with eight touchdown receptions of 50 yards or more. His 111.6 career receiving yards per game were the second most in FBS history at the end of his career and still rank 12th all-time.
Fifty years later, Wright still owns five Houston records – all-purpose career average yards per play (21.0), yards per reception in a season (27.9 in 1968), yards per reception in a career (21.9), 200-yard receiving games in a season (2 each in 1968 and 1969) and 200-yard receiving games in a career (4). He posted career marks of 34 touchdown receptions and 3,347 receiving yards, which rank second and fourth in Cougar history, respectively. Wright also sits second in Houston annals for 100-yard receiving games (15) and 1,000-yard receiving seasons (2) while placing third in both single-game receiving yards (262 vs. Wyoming in 1969) and single-game touchdown receptions (4 – two occasions). He led College Football Hall of Fame coach Bill Yeoman‘s Cougars to upsets over No. 17 Ole Miss in back-to-back seasons, and he scored twice in the team’s historic 100-6 win over Tulsa in 1968.
A first-round pick in the 1971 NFL Draft, Wright played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1971-74 before splitting the 1975 season between the Houston Oilers and New England Patriots.
Now retired, Wright earned an MBA after his football career and worked for more than 25 years for Harris County in Houston. He has been involved with the YMCA and served as a mentor for students in the University of Houston’s C.T. Bauer College of Business. Considered by many to be the inventor of the end zone dance, Wright is a member of the University of Houston Athletics Hall of Honor and the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame.
Furman University (1978-85), North Carolina State University (1986-92)
Head Coach, 121-52-5 (69.4%)
A national coach of the year at both the FBS and FCS levels, Dick Sheridan won 69.4% of his games during a stellar 15-year run as a head coach. After guiding one of the most successful runs in Furman history, he led a massive turnaround at NC State.
Sheridan began his head-coaching career at Furman from 1978-85, winning 69 games in eight seasons and posting a 74.4 winning percentage that remains the best in school history. During his first season in Greenville, he guided the Paladins to their first-ever conference football championship while earning his first of three Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors. Sheridan’s Furman teams would win six SoCon titles in his eight seasons, and they became just the second program in league history to win four in a row (1980-83). After overseeing the Paladins’ transition from the FBS to the FCS in 1982, he directed Furman to a first-round playoff appearance that year followed by a 10-2-1 season in 1983 that culminated with a trip to the FCS Semifinals. Sheridan’s final year at Furman was his best, as the team won a then-school record 12 games and narrowly lost the FCS National Championship Game.
The 1985 AFCA FCS National and Region II Coach of the Year earned multiple South Carolina Coach of the Year accolades during his career from the S.C. Sportswriters Association, Columbia Touchdown Club and Charleston-Palmetto Touchdown Club. While leading the Paladins, Sheridan coached eight First Team All-Americans, 75 all-conference players and five SoCon Players of the Year, including the league’s first three-time selection Stanford Jennings. He also coached two-time Academic All-American and 1985 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Brian Jager, and he served as Furman’s athletics director from 1983-85. Sheridan is the first player or coach from Furman to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
Sheridan’s success followed him to NC State where he helped spark a turnaround as the coach from 1986-92. Prior to his arrival, the Wolfpack had posted three consecutive 3-8 seasons. During his first year in Raleigh, Sheridan would be named the Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year and ACC Coach of the Year after leading NC State to an 8-3-1 record, a second-place finish in the conference and a berth in the Peach Bowl. He would guide the Wolfpack to five more bowl games, including wins in the 1988 Peach Bowl and 1990 All-American Bowl, as well as national rankings in 1991 (No. 24) and 1992 (No. 17). Boasting a winning record in all but one of his seven seasons at NC State, he would finish with the second-most wins in school history (52) while coaching four All-Americans and 31 all-conference players.
A native of Augusta, Georgia, Sheridan graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1964. He began his coaching career at the high school level, compiling a 37-8-1 record and leading Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School to a South Carolina state title in 1971. Two years later, Sheridan joined the staff at Furman as an assistant before becoming head coach in 1978. He is a member of the Furman Athletic, South Carolina Athletic and South Carolina Football halls of fame.
ANDY TALLEYSt. Lawrence University [NY] (1979-83), Villanova University (1985-2016)
Head Coach, 258-155-2 (62.4%)
Villanova’s all-time winningest coach, Andy Talley’s name became synonymous with Wildcat football while leading them to unprecedented success and a national championship. After winning a remarkable 258 games during his 37-year career at St. Lawrence (NY) and Villanova, he becomes the first player or coach from either university to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Talley started his head-coaching career at St. Lawrence, where he posted a 28-18-1 record over five seasons from 1979-83. His best season with the Saints came in 1982 when he led them to an undefeated regular season, their first of back-to-back conference titles and a trip to the NCAA Division III semifinals. The squad was named the 1982 ECAC Division III Football Team of the Year.
After his success at St. Lawrence, Villanova chose Talley to rebuild its football program after a four-year hiatus. He accomplished that task and more, winning 230 games during 32 seasons on the Main Line from 1985-2016. Talley became the program’s all-time winningest head coach in just his 11th year, and he was just the 37th coach across all divisions of college football to win 200 games at one school. The highlight of his career came in 2009 when he was named AFCA National Coach of the Year after leading the Wildcats to a 14-1 record and the FCS National Championship after knocking off No. 1 seed Montana, 23-21, in the title game. The winningest coach in Colonial Athletic Association history (142 victories), Talley guided Villanova to six conference titles and 11 other FCS Playoff appearances, including trips to the semifinals in 2002 and 2010.
In 1997, Talley was named AFCA National Coach of the Year and received the Eddie Robinson Award as the top coach in the FCS after leading the Wildcats to a 12-1 record and a trip to the FCS quarterfinals. A three-time conference coach of the year (1997, 2009, 2012), he mentored 16 First Team All-Americans, 84 first team all-conference selections and 16 Academic All-Americans. Three of Talley’s Villanova players would win the Walter Payton Award as the top offensive player in the FCS: wide receiver Brian Finneran (1997), running back Brian Westbrook (2001) and quarterback John Robertson (2014).
Talley earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Southern Connecticut State where he played defensive back for College Football Hall of Fame Coach Jess Dow. The Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, native began his coaching career as an assistant at Simsbury High School in Connecticut before stints at Springfield (MA), Middlebury (VT) and Brown. Talley is a member of the Villanova Varsity Club, Southern Connecticut State University and Haverford High School (PA) halls of fame, among others. Villanova dedicated the Andrew J. Talley Athletic Center during his final season in 2016.
Active in the community, Talley officially partnered with Be The Match in 2008 to start the “Get in the Game and Save a Life” bone marrow donor registry campaign, and he has enlisted 80 college football programs from all divisions to take part. Since that time, the program has been responsible for more than 300 potentially lifesaving stem cell/marrow transplants as well as over 71,000 new potential donors added to the worldwide registry. Talley has received numerous awards and accolades for his efforts with the bone marrow program, including the Rod Carew Leadership Award and the March of Dimes’ Shining Star Lifetime Achievement Award. The president of the NFF Philadelphia Chapter for 30 years, he was honored with a national NFF Chapter Leadership Award in 2000.
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 Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments 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, ETT, Fidelity Investments, Goodyear, Herff Jones, Mazda, the New York Athletic Club, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, the Sports Business Journal and Under Armour. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NFFNetwork and learn more at footballfoundation.org.