The National Football Foundation revealed the illustrious 2021 class of the College Football Hall of Fame on Monday afternoon, which features 11 All-Americans and two coaches.
One inductee, Tony Romo, heard the news from his NFL on CBS broadcast partner, Jim Nantz, during their call of the Saints-Bears NFC Playoff game on Sunday evening.
"I was just thrilled to give Tony and his distinguished college career its just due on national television," Nantz told Brooklyn Digest. "He was really excited by the recognition. I know he didn't want a big fuss made over it but if your friends can't salute you, then who can?! Overall, a fun 'break in the action' for those of us who think the world of Tony."
The 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class:
Harris Barton - OT, North Carolina (1983-86)
David Fulcher - DB, Arizona State (1983-85)
Dan Morgan - LB, Miami [FL] (1997-2000)
Carson Palmer - QB, Southern California (1998-2002)
Tony Romo - QB, Eastern Illinois (1999-2002)
Kenneth Sims - DT, Texas (1978-81)
C.J. Spiller - RB/KR, Clemson (2006-09)
Darren Sproles - RB, Kansas State (2001-04)
Aaron Taylor - OT, Notre Dame (1990-93)
Andre Tippett - DE, Iowa (1979-81)
Al Wilson - LB, Tennessee (1995-98)
Rudy Hubbard - 83-48-3 (63.1%); Florida A&M (1974-85)
Bob Stoops - 190-48-0 (79.8%); Oklahoma (1999-2016)
Archie Manning, the NFF Chairman and a 1989 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, said in a statement, "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 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class will officially be inducted during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December 7, alongside the 2020 Hall of Fame Class, since this year's event was cancelled because of the pandemic. The honorees will also be recognized at their collegiate institutions with NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes during the fall. They will also be immortalized at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, and each inductee will receive a ring from Jostens.
NFF President Steve Hatchell said of the 2020 and '21 classes in a statement, "With two College Football Hall of Fame classes, the NFF Annual Awards Dinner will prove to be one of the biggest events in the NFF's history when it returns this December. We are beyond excited to announced the 2021 electees and look forward to maing induction worth the wait for the 2020 class."
2021 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS NOTES (Provided by the National Football Foundation)
- 1 NFF National Scholar-Athlete (Barton)
- 1 Heisman Trophy winner (Palmer)
- 4 unanimous First Team All-Americans (Morgan, Sims, Spiller, Taylor)
- 6 consensus First Team All-Americans (Fulcher (2), Palmer, Sims, Taylor, Tippett, Wilson)
- 3 multi-year First Team All-Americans (Fulcher (2), Sims (2), Taylor (2))
- 5 winners of college football major awards (Morgan – Butkus, Bednarik, Nagurski; Palmer – Heisman; Romo – Walter Payton; Sims – Lombardi; Taylor – Lombardi)
- 1 member of a national championship team (Wilson)
- 5 conference players of the year (Barton, Morgan, Palmer, Romo (3), Spiller)
- 6 members of conference championship teams (Morgan, Palmer, Romo (2), Sproles, Tippett, Wilson (2))
- 8 players who still hold school records (Morgan, Palmer, Romo, Sims, Spiller, Sproles, Tippett, Wilson)
- 5 played for College Football Hall of Fame coaches (Fulcher – John Cooper, Sproles – Bill Snyder, Taylor – Lou Holtz, Tippett – Hayden Fry, Wilson – Phillip Fulmer)
- 7 first-round NFL draft picks (Barton, Morgan, Palmer, Sims, Spiller, Taylor, Wilson)
- 6 offensive players (Barton, Palmer, Romo, Spiller, Sproles, Taylor)
- 5 defensive players (Fulcher, Morgan, Sims, Tippett, Wilson)
- 3 decades represented: 1980s (4) – Barton, Fulcher, Sims, Tippett; 1990s (3) – Morgan, Taylor, Wilson; 2000s (4) – Palmer, Romo, Spiller, Sproles
- 1 school with its first-ever Hall of Fame player (Eastern Illinois – Romo)
- 2 national championships (Hubbard – 1, Stoops – 1)
- 2 Black national championships (Hubbard)
- 12 conference championships (Hubbard – 2, Stoops – 10)
- Most wins in school history (Stoops)
- 23 Bowl/postseason appearances (Hubbard – 5, Stoops – 18)
- 36 First Team All-Americans coached (Stoops)
- 8 national coach of the year honors (Stoops)
- 6 conference coach of the year honors (Stoops)
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 2021 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1971 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. Veterans Committee candidates must still meet First Team All-America requirement.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME QUICK FACTS
- Including the 2021 Hall of Fame class, only 1,038 players and 223 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 5.47 million who have played or coached the game during the past 151 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 2021 Class will take place Dec. 7 during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner. The event will also feature the induction of the 2020 Hall of Fame Class.
2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class Bios
University of North Carolina
Offensive Tackle, 1983-86
An NFF National Scholar-Athlete in 1986, Barton matched his success in the classroom by becoming one of the most dominant offensive linemen in North Carolina history. The Atlanta native becomes the sixth Tar Heel to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A First Team All-American in 1986, Barton was named the ACC’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman after helping the Tar Heels finish sixth in the nation and first in the conference with 436 yards of total offense per game. The 1986 First Team All-ACC selection was also part of an offensive unit that finished 10th in the nation with 252.5 rushing yards per game. A four-year starter, Barton began his career at center before being switched to tackle as a sophomore to take better advantage of his skills. After leading UNC to berths in the 1983 Peach Bowl and the 1986 Aloha Bowl, he concluded his stellar collegiate career in the Japan Bowl all-star game.
In addition to being an NFF National Scholar-Athlete, Barton was an Academic All-ACC selection, and he received the 1987 Jim Tatum Award as the conference’s top football scholar-athlete. A member of the 2007 ACC Legends Class, he is one of 27 players to have his jersey honored at Kenan Stadium. During his freshman year, Barton played alongside College Football Hall of Famer William Fuller.
Selected in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, Barton spent his entire career with the franchise from 1987-98. A 1993 Pro Bowler, he led the team to victories in Super Bowls XXIII, XXIV and XXIX.
After both of his parents passed away from brain tumors, Barton founded Champion Charities in 2004 with fellow College Football Hall of Famer and former 49ers teammate Ronnie Lott. The non-profit has contributed significantly to treating and researching brain tumors while helping those afflicted with the disease. Barton is also a board member of the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund, a venture philanthropy that invests exclusively in social enterprises that employ and empower people overcoming barriers to work. He is the founder and managing director of H. Barton Asset Management, where he specializes in providing investment capital to up-and-coming VC-backed technology startups.
Arizona State University
Defensive Back, 1983-85
Referred to as “a safety in a linebacker’s body” for his rare combination of size and speed, David Fulcher is one of only three Sun Devils to twice earn consensus All-America honors. The Los Angeles native is the ninth Arizona State player to join the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus First Team All-American in 1984 and 1985, Fulcher also earned Second Team All-America laurels as a freshman. The three-time First Team All-Pac-10 selection twice led the Sun Devils in tackles (1983, 1984) and interceptions (1983, 1985). A three-year starter, Fulcher’s established himself as a star early – recording 53 tackles, three interceptions, six sacks and six pass deflections just four games into his college career. In his second collegiate game in 1983, he posted 15 tackles and returned an interception 40 yards against UCLA. Named Arizona State’s Most Outstanding Defensive Back in 1985, Fulcher guided the Sun Devils to a berth in the Holiday Bowl.
A 1996 inductee into the Arizona State University Sports Hall of Fame, Fulcher finished his career with 293 tackles and 12 interceptions. During his time in Tempe, "Fo-Rock" played for College Football Hall of Fame Coach John Cooper and alongside Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel.
A third-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1986 NFL Draft, Fulcher spent eight years in the league with the Bengals (1986-92) and the Los Angeles Raiders (1993). The three-time Pro Bowl selection guided the Bengals to an appearance in Super Bowl XXIII following the 1988 season.
The founder and director of the David Fulcher Foundation, he is active in fundraising and awareness for multiple sclerosis. Fulcher has also operated his Mentoring Against Negative Actions program for 15 years, working in prisons to help inmates learn life skills. In 2016, he helped launch Cincinnati Christian University’s football program, serving as the head coach for two seasons. Fulcher also previously coached at Cincinnati Christian High School. Decades after leaving college early for the NFL, he earned his degree from Arizona State in May 2020.
University of Miami
The first player in history to sweep the three major defensive awards in one season, Dan Morgan is Miami’s all-time leading tackler. Part of the Hurricanes’ reemergence in the late 90s, he becomes the eighth player in school history to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A unanimous First Team All-American in 2000, Morgan took home the Bednarik, Butkus and Nagurski Awards after leading the Hurricanes to the Big East title, an 11-1 record and a No. 2 final ranking. The 2000 Big East Defensive Player of the Year led Miami in tackles three times, and he holds the school record with 532 career tackles (also a Big East record). A four-time All-Big East selection, Morgan garnered first team honors in 1997, 1999 and 2000 while claiming second team laurels in 1998. The 2000 Football News National Defensive Player of the Year was a four-year starter and a three-time captain, becoming the first sophomore in school history to receive the honor.
The standout linebacker led Miami to three top 20 finishes and three consecutive postseason wins in the 1998 Micron PC Bowl, 2000 Gator Bowl and 2001 Sugar Bowl. Morgan’s 45 consecutive starts were a school record at the time, and he was the first player in Hurricane annals to post 100 or more tackles every season of his career. Despite making the switch to linebacker just days prior to the 1997 season opener, he became a Second Team Freshman All-American and was a finalist for the Butkus and Nagurski Awards as a junior. The 2011 University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame inductee played alongside College Football Hall of Famer Ed Reed during his time in Coral Gables.
The 11th overall pick by the Carolina Panthers in the 2001 NFL Draft, Morgan played for the franchise from 2001-07. The All-Rookie Team and 2004 Pro Bowl selection led the Panthers to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVIII following the 2003 season.
While with the Panthers, Morgan volunteered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Coral Springs, Florida, native has contributed time during his post-NFL career working with FEAT (Families for Effective Autism Treatment) and Ben’s Fund, which raises money for families with autistic children. Morgan currently serves as the director of player personnel for the Buffalo Bills.
University of Southern California
The winner of the 2002 Heisman Trophy, Carson Palmer helped usher in a new era of dominance at USC and finished his career as the Pac-10’s all-time leading passer. The Rancho Santa Margarita, California, native becomes the 33rd Trojan player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus First Team All-American in 2002, Palmer was the first USC quarterback to win the Heisman, and he also received the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Pop Warner Award and Sporting News National Player of the Year. The Pac-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year as a senior, he guided the 2002 USC squad to its first 11-win season since 1979, a share of the conference title and a No. 4 national ranking. The 2002 co-captain and team MVP capped his stellar career earning MVP honors in the Trojans’ 2003 Orange Bowl victory.
The USC record holder with 1,569 career pass attempts, Palmer finished his time in Los Angeles as the Trojans’ all-time leader in career passing yards and career total offense, and he currently ranks second in both categories. His 11,818 passing yards and 11,621 yards of total offense – both also Pac-10 career records at the time – currently rank sixth and eighth in conference history, respectively. A two-time recipient of the Marv Goux Award for efforts in the annual USC-UCLA rivalry game, Palmer ranks second all-time in single-season passing at USC with 309 completions for 3,942 yards in 2002. A teammate of College Football Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu at USC, Palmer is a member of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame, and his No. 3 jersey has been retired by the program.
The first overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, Palmer played 15 seasons with the Bengals (2003-10), Oakland Raiders (2011-12) and Arizona Cardinals (2013-17). A three-time Pro Bowler, he was named the 2005 AFC Player of the Year after leading the Bengals to their first winning season and playoff appearance in 15 years. A member of the Arizona Cardinals Ring of Honor, Palmer ranked 12th all-time in both passing yards and passing touchdowns when he retired from the NFL.
Off the field, he established the Carson Palmer Foundation to assist abused and abandoned children. Palmer has provided aid and support to organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Phoenix Children’s Hospital. He and his wife recently pledged to make a challenge gift of $300,000 for Compassion International’s “Fill the Stadium” initiative, which seeks to provide essential food, medical care and support for children and their families during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Eastern Illinois University
The winner of the 2002 Walter Payton Award as the top player in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Tony Romo goes down as one of the greatest players in Eastern Illinois history. He deservedly becomes the first Panther player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A First Team All-American in 2002, Romo became the first three-time Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year in league history. The Walter Payton Award winner led the Panthers to consecutive conference titles (2001, 2002) and three-straight FCS Playoff berths. EIU was 25-10 overall and 17-2 in OVC games with Romo as the starter, and the team was nationally ranked during his final three seasons.
A three-time First Team All-OVC selection, Romo set conference and school records for single-season (34 in 2002) and career (85) touchdown passes, which remained unbroken for more than a decade. The 2001 Third Team All-American owns the school record with a 157.5 career passing efficiency, and he ranks third in career passing yards with 8,212. In 2009, Romo was inducted into the EIU Athletic Hall of Fame; the same day, he became the first player to have his number retired by the Panthers.
After going undrafted in 2003, Romo would put together a standout NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys from 2003-16. The four-time Pro Bowl selection holds Cowboy records for career passing yards and passing touchdowns.
Off the field, Romo has annually hosted youth football camps in his hometown of Burlington, Wisconsin. He is also heavily involved with the United Way, Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Since retiring with the Cowboys, Romo has served as the lead color analyst for CBS’ NFL telecasts, working alongside Jim Nantz.
University of Texas
Defensive Tackle, 1978-81
Kenneth Sims was so dominant in 1981 that he became Texas’ first-ever winner of the Lombardi Award… despite being sidelined following the ninth game of the season due to injury. The Groesbeck, Texas, native becomes the 20th Longhorn player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame
A two-time First Team All-American, Sims earned unanimous honors as a senior and consensus laurels as a junior. The 1981 UPI Lineman of the Year finished eighth for the Heisman Trophy, receiving three first-place votes. Sims’ 23 tackles for loss that season were a then-school record. He also led Texas to four wins over top 15 teams during stellar senior campaign, including a 12-tackle performance in a decisive 34-14 win over No. 10 Oklahoma.
The two-time consensus First Team All-Southwest Conference selection led the Longhorns to four consecutive postseason berths, including wins in the 1978 Sun Bowl and the 1982 Cotton Bowl. The 1981 team captain guided Texas to three top 25 finishes: No. 9 in 1978, No. 12 in 1979 and No. 2 in 1981. The two-time team MVP boasts the Longhorn record with 15 career forced fumbles. On the Texas career charts, Sims ranks fourth in sacks (29), fifth in fumble recoveries (seven) and ninth in tackles for loss (50). His other honors include the 1981 Houston Post SWC Defensive MVP Trophy and a 1982 NCAA Today’s Top V Award. Sims was inducted into the University of Texas Athletics Hall of Honor in 1997.
The first overall pick in the 1982 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, Sims spent his entire pro career with the franchise from 1982-89. He helped guide the team to an appearance in Super Bowl XX following the 1985 season.
A dedicated supporter of Texas Athletics, Sims has participated in numerous letterman functions. He is also an annual volunteer for the Grays Harbor Football Camp, a free youth event. Now retired, Sims resides in Round Rock, Texas.
Running Back/Kick Returner, 2006-09
When he had the ball in his hands, C.J. Spiller was one of the most exciting all-purpose players to ever step foot on the college gridiron. The Lake Butler, Florida, native becomes the fourth Tiger player in the College Football Hall of Fame.
A unanimous First Team All-America kick returner in 2009, Spiller finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting and was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award. He was named a Second Team All-America running back by Walter Camp in 2009, making him the first player in the organization’s history to earn All-America honors at two positions in the same season. The 2009 ACC Player of the Year set a single-season conference and school record with 2,680 all-purpose yards while also becoming the first player in conference history to gain 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in the same season. A three-time All-ACC selection, Spiller garnered first team honors in 2008 and 2009 while receiving honorable mention laurels in 2007. Despite losing the 2009 ACC Championship Game to Georgia Tech, he earned MVP honors in the game after setting an ACC title game record with 233 rushing yards.
The NCAA record holder with seven career kickoff returns for touchdowns, Spiller ranks third all-time in FBS history with 7,588 career all-purpose yards. He joined USC’s Reggie Bush as the only players in college football history with 3,000 rushing yards, 1,500 kickoff-return yards, 1,000 receiving yards and 500 punt-return yards in a career. Spiller set 31 Clemson records by career’s end, including career all-purpose yards (7,588), kickoff return yards (2,052) and kickoffs returned for a TD (seven). He led the Tigers to four bowl games, earning MVP honors at the 2007 Chick-fil-A and 2009 Music City bowls. Spiller twice led the ACC in all-purpose yards, and he helped Clemson finish in the top 25 in 2007 (No. 21) and 2009 (No. 24). A member of both the Clemson Athletics and State of South Carolina Athletic halls of fame, Spiller’s No. 28 jersey was retired by the Tigers.
The ninth overall pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 2010 NFL Draft, Spiller played for the Bills (2010-14), New Orleans Saints (2015), Seattle Seahawks (2016), New York Jets (2016) and Kansas City Chiefs (2017).
Off the field, Spiller was a First Team Academic All-ACC selection at Clemson. A regular visitor to hospitals and convalescent homes, he also hosts the annual C.J. Spiller Football & Life Skills Camp. In 2020, Spiller returned to Clemson to get his master’s in athletic leadership, and he joined his former coach Dabo Swinney’s football staff as an unpaid graduate intern. He is also a board member of IPTAY, the fundraising organization for Clemson Athletics.
Kansas State University
Running Back, 2001-04
One of the most electric and prolific runners in college football history, Darren Sproles ranks as Kansas State’s all-time leading rusher holding more than 20 school and conference records. The Olathe, Kansas, native becomes the third Wildcat player in the College Football Hall of Fame.
A First Team All-American in 2003, Sproles finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting after leading the nation with 1,986 rushing yards. A three-time All-Big 12 performer, he earned first team honors in 2003 and 2004 and second team accolades in 2002. In 2003, Sproles led K-State to the Big 12 title, its first conference title since 1934, after posting 345 all-purpose yards, catching a 60-yd touchdown pass and rushing for a Big 12 Championship Game record 235 yards in an upset win over No. 1 Oklahoma. One of three finalists for the 2003 AP Player of the Year, he earned Honorable Mention All-America honors in 2002, and he led the FBS in all-purpose yards (2,067) in 2004. The 2003 Doak Walker Award finalist led the Wildcats to three postseason berths, including a win in the 2002 Holiday Bowl, and two top-15 finishes in 2002 (No. 7) and 2003 (No. 14).
Playing for College Football Hall of Fame Coach Bill Snyder, Sproles finished his career 11th all-time in rushing and sixth all-time in all-purpose yards in NCAA history. A member of the K-State Football Ring of Honor, he left Manhattan with 28 single-game, single-season or career records, 21 of which are still standing. The senior team captain boasts program career records for rushing yards (4,979), all-purpose yards (6,812), rushing attempts (815), rushing yards per carry (6.11), 100-yard rushing games (24) and consecutive 100-yard rushing games (10). Sproles still holds three of the top five single-season rushing performances in school history, including the top mark of 1,986 in 2003. His 2,735 all-purpose yards in 2003 are a Big 12 and K-State single-season record, and he also holds conference records for career 100-yard games and career all-purpose yards.
A fourth-round pick by the San Diego Chargers in the 2005 NFL Draft, Sproles played 15 seasons in the league with the Chargers (2005-10), New Orleans Saints (2011-13) and Philadelphia Eagles (2014-19). The three-time Pro Bowl selection was a member of the Eagles team that won Super Bowl LII. Currently ranked sixth in NFL history with 19,696 all-purpose yards, Sproles set the single-season league record with 2,696 in 2011.
Giving back to the community, Sproles has funded football and life skills camps for at-risk youth in Kansas and San Diego. He also helped a family in New Orleans rebuild their home. Sproles currently works as a personnel consultant for the Eagles.
University of Notre Dame
Offensive Tackle, 1990-93
At a school with a long history of stellar offensive lineman, Aaron Taylor was one of the best to ever suit up at Notre Dame. A monster in the trenches, he becomes the 48th Fighting Irish player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame, the most of any school.
A two-time First Team All-American, Taylor earned unanimous honors in 1993 and consensus recognition in 1992. The anchor for one of the best stretches of Notre Dame football in the last three decades, the Irish went 40-8-1 and won three major bowl games (1992 Sugar Bowl and the 1993 and 1994 Cotton Bowls) during his career. The 1993 Lombardi Award recipient as the nation’s top lineman, Taylor also won the Jim Parker Award from the Touchdown Club of Columbus, and he was a finalist for the Outland Trophy. The senior team captain guided the Fighting Irish to top-15 finishes every year of his career: No. 6 in 1990, No. 13 in 1991, No. 4 in 1992 and No. 2 in 1993.
The 1993 Moose Krause Lineman of the Year, Taylor blocked for consecutive 1,000-yard rushers in Reggie Brooks (1992) and Lee Becton (1993). He burst onto the scene in Notre Dame’s upset of Florida in the 1992 Sugar Bowl when Jerome Bettis scored two of his three touchdowns behind Taylor’s blocks. Starting the final 30-straight games of his career, he helped pave the way for an Irish run game that averaged 275 yards per game and tallied 71 rushing touchdowns from 1992-93. During his time at Notre Dame, the Bay Area native played for College Football Hall of Fame Coach Lou Holtz and alongside Hall of Famers Raghib “Rocket” Ismail and Chris Zorich.
A first-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 1994 NFL Draft, Taylor played for the franchise from 1994-97 and helped them win Super Bowl XXXI. He finished his pro career with the San Diego Chargers from 1998-99.
Taylor spent five months volunteering for Teaching and Projects Abroad, teaching English to high school students in South America. He also funded a project in Sri Lanka that built a community center and 40 temporary houses in the village of Kosgoda after a tsunami. Taylor helped establish The Joe Moore Foundation for Teamwork in honor of his offensive line coach at Notre Dame, and he created the Joe Moore Award, which is given annually to college football’s most outstanding offensive line. In 2007, he received the Harvey G. Foster Award from the Notre Dame Alumni Association for distinguished civic service. The founder of the Aaron Taylor IMPACT Fund, he can be seen during the fall as a college football analyst for CBS Sports.
University of Iowa
Defensive End, 1979-81
A terror to offensive backfields, Andre Tippett guided Iowa to its first Big Ten title in over two decades. The Newark, New Jersey, native becomes the 10th Hawkeye player elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus First Team All-American in 1981, Tippett led Iowa to a share of the Big Ten title and a berth in the 1982 Rose Bowl, the program’s first appearance in the game since 1958. The two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection (1980 and 1981) led the conference with 20 tackles for loss during his junior season.
A senior team captain, Tippett holds the Iowa single-season record for tackles for loss yardage with 153 yards on 20 TFL in 1980. Part of the Hawkeyes’ initial success under College Football Hall of Fame Coach Hayden Fry, he helped the 1981 team finish with a No. 18 ranking and an 8-4 record, ending a streak of 20 consecutive losing seasons. A member of Iowa’s All-Time Team, Tippett was also elected to the National Iowa Varsity Club Hall of Fame.
A second-round selection in the 1982 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, Tippett played his entire pro career with the franchise from 1982-93. The five-time Pro Bowler and 1985 NFL Defensive Player of the Year is the Patriots’ all-time sacks leader and guided the team to an appearance in Super Bowl XX. Tippett is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the New England Patriots Hall of Fame.
A Pop Warner football coach for seven years, Tippett also served on the organization’s board of directors. A certified sixth degree black belt in Uechi-ryu karate, he has studied martial arts for over three decades. Involved in community outreach throughout the Massachusetts region since his NFL career began, Tippett currently serves as the executive director of community affairs for the New England Patriots.
University of Tennessee
Acting as the quarterback of Tennessee’s defense, Al Wilson capped his career as one of the Vols’ greatest linebackers by leading them to the 1998 national championship. The Jackson, Tennessee, native becomes the 21st player in school history to join the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus First Team All-America in 1998, Wilson was the only All-America selection from the perfect 13-0 Vols squad that won the inaugural BCS National Championship at the Fiesta Bowl against Florida State. He also guided Tennessee to three other bowl games, including consecutive wins at the Citrus Bowl in 1996 and 1997. During his career in Knoxville, Wilson led the Vols to back-to-back SEC titles and four top 10 finishes (No. 3 in 1995, No. 9 in 1996, No. 7 in 1997 and No. 1 in 1998).
A finalist for the 1998 Nagurski Trophy, Wilson earned First Team All-SEC honors as a senior and second team all-conference laurels as a junior while losing only three conference games in four years. The 1998 team captain posted 12 tackles and a school-record three forced fumbles in the Vols’ win over No. 6 Florida that season, which ended Tennessee’s five-game losing streak to the Gators. A 1999 Senior Bowl participant, Wilson played for College Football Hall of Fame Coach Phillip Fulmer and alongside Hall of Famer and 1997 Campbell Trophy® recipient Peyton Manning. Finishing his stellar career with 272 total tackles, he is enshrined in both the University of Tennessee Athletics and the State of Tennessee Sports halls of fame.
A first-round pick by the Denver Broncos in the 1999 NFL Draft, Wilson was a five-time Pro Bowl selection while playing for the team from 1999-2006.
Wilson co-founded Project FANchise, which previously established the first-ever fan-controlled professional sports franchise, the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles, and operated the Colorado Crush to play in the Indoor Football League. Off the field, he has annually hosted children’s football camps and resides in Atlanta.
Florida A&M University (1974-85)
Head Coach, 83-48-3 (63.1%)
The only HBCU head coach to win the Division I-AA (now FCS) national title, Rudy Hubbard posted 83 wins in his 12 seasons at Florida A&M. He becomes the fourth Rattler coach to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
During his tenure at Florida A&M from 1974-85, Hubbard compiled an 83-48-3 overall record, the third most wins in school history behind fellow College Football Hall of Fame Coaches Jake Gaither (203) and Billy Joe (86). The Rattlers went 6-5, 9-2 and 6-3-2 in his first three seasons. Hubbard’s most successful stretch occurred from 1977-79 as the Rattlers compiled a 30-5 record, including a perfect 11-0 mark in 1977. The team won back-to-back Black College Football National Championships and conference titles in 1977 and 1978.
In 1978, Hubbard guided Florida A&M to a 12-1 record and wrapped up the season winning the inaugural NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship as the Rattlers defeated UMass, 35-28. Although a member of NCAA Division II’s Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, FAMU successfully petitioned the NCAA for Division I-AA classification, which took effect right before the 1978 season began.
One year after winning the national title, Hubbard's Rattlers claimed another milestone when they defeated Miami (FL), 16-13. From 1974-78, Hubbard won five straight Orange Blossom Classics, which annually pitted Florida A&M against another HBCU. The numerous standout players he coached included College Football Hall of Famer and three-time All-America offensive guard Tyrone McGriff. Hubbard was inducted into the Florida A&M University Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.
A native of Hubbard, Ohio, he played running back at Ohio State from 1965-67. Hubbard then made history as the first Black assistant coach at Ohio State, where he served six seasons and was part of the 1968 and 1970 national championship staffs under College Football Hall of Fame Coach Woody Hayes
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