’s All-Century Team, and his jersey has been retired by Nebraska. Following his football days, the Bradenton, Fla., native settled in Omaha, Neb., where he works for a healthcare foundation.
Known as one of the fiercest defensive stalwarts of the old Southwest Conference, Jerry Gray was instrumental in helping the Texas defense shut down some of the decade’s most high-powered offenses. He becomes the 15th Longhorn to be selected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time First-Team All-American (consensus – 1983, unanimous – 1984), Gray led Texas to four consecutive bowl games, including a 1982 Cotton Bowl victory and a No. 2 final national ranking. He was a two-time Southwest Conference Player of the Year (1983, 1984), and he helped the Longhorns win the 1983 conference title under coach Fred Akers. The two-time team MVP recorded 297 career tackles, 16 interceptions, and 20 pass breakups during his time in Austin.
Taken in the first round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, Gray enjoyed a nine-year career, playing for the Rams, Houston Oilers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and appearing in four Pro Bowls. Following his playing days, Gray spent time as a position football coach in both the college and professional ranks. He has served as the defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans since the 2011 season.
The Lubbock, Texas, native established the Jerry Gray Foundation for underprivileged youth, which provides athletic and academic scholarships. He also founded and coordinated the Jerry Gray/Young Life Skills and Leadership Football Camp, and he is active in the Boys and Girls Club of Orchard Park and the United Way. Gray became a member of the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1996.
The two-time First-Team All-America (1952, 1953) selection, under Hall of Fame head coach Bear Bryant, Meilinger led Kentucky to victory in the 1952 Cotton Bowl over TCU. The three-year All-Southeastern Conference honoree played end, halfback and quarterback on offense, while covering end, linebacker and defensive back on defense. He also served as the Wildcats’ two-year starting punter while returning punts and kickoffs.
A first round selection by the Washington Redskins in the 1954 NFL Draft, Meilinger played six seasons in the league for the Redskins, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers. He spent the entirety of his non-football life in military or public service. Immediately following his selection by the Redskins, Meilinger served two years as a tank commander in the U.S. Army’s 100th Tank Battalion of the 1st Armored Division before embarking on his pro football career. From 1962-83, Meilinger was a United States Marshal, and he was one of the original six marshals who founded the U.S. Federal Witness Protection Program. He also served two stints as a property valuation officer for the state of Kentucky.
The Bethlehem, Pa., native is a member of the State of Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, the University of Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, the Fork Union Military Academy Hall of Fame, the Lehigh Valley (Penn.) Hall of Fame and the Liberty High School Hall of Fame.
Ohio State University
Offensive Tackle, 1994-96
Known as the “Pancake Man” for flattening his opponents with his exceptional blocking techniques, Orlando Pace finished fourth in the 1996 Heisman balloting, the highest finish for a lineman since 1980. Pace becomes the 24th Buckeye to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time unanimous First-Team All-American (1995, 1996), Pace was the first player in history to repeat as the Lombardi Trophy winner, earning the honors as a sophomore and junior. In addition, Pace claimed the 1996 Outland Trophy while leading Ohio State to a share of the Big Ten title. He did not allow a sack during his final two seasons, blocking for Hall of Fame and 1995 Heisman Trophy-winning running back Eddie George as well as NFF Campbell Trophy winner Bobby Hoying. The 1996 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year started every game of his career, and he led the Buckeyes to three straight bowl appearances under Hall of Fame coach John Cooper.
Chosen with the first overall pick by the St. Louis Rams in the 1997 NFL Draft, Pace enjoyed a decorated 13 seasons in the league, culminating with the Rams’ Super Bowl XXXIV Championship in 1999. Pace was named All-Pro five times, and he earned seven Pro Bowl selections.
The Sandusky, Ohio, native has been a spokesman for Our Little Haven’s ‘Safe & Warm’ expansion project since 1998, and he assists with the efforts for the Diversity Awareness Partnership. Pace also regularly purchases NFL tickets for underprivileged youth.
University of Oklahoma
Combining the speed of a running back with exceptional strength, Rod Shoate became a dominant defensive force at perennial football powerhouse Oklahoma in the early 1970s. Shoate becomes the 20th Sooner to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time First-Team All-American (consensus – 1973, unanimous – 1974), Shoate guided OU to a perfect 11-0 season and the National Championship in 1974, building on a 10-0-1 record the year before. The Sooners went 29-4-1 during Shoate’s career, never finishing with a national ranking lower than No. 3. He was twice named the Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year as the Sooners claimed the conference crown in each of those seasons. As a freshman, he led Oklahoma to a 14-0 shutout of Penn State in the 1972 Sugar Bowl.
Shoate led the Sooners in tackles for three straight seasons and currently ranks sixth in school history with 420 career tackles. He was the second player in OU annals to be named a three-time All-American (Second Team, 1972) while playing for coach Chuck Fairbanks and Hall of Fame coach Barry Switzer.
Picked by New England in the second round of the 1975 NFL Draft, Shoate enjoyed a six year career with the Patriots before playing two seasons in the USFL. The Spiro, Okla., native passed away on Oct. 4, 1999.
Michigan State University
The first player in college football history to win both the Butkus and Lombardi trophies in the same season, Percy Snow served as the backbone of Michigan State’s famed “Gang Green” defense in the late 1980s. Snow becomes the seventh Spartan to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
Voted a unanimous First-Team All-American selection as a senior, Snow led the team in tackles for three consecutive seasons, and he still ranks second all-time in total tackles (473) at MSU. Snow was a three-time all-conference selection, helping the Spartans to the 1987 Big Ten title and a 1988 Rose Bowl win in which he earned MVP honors after recording 17 tackles against Southern California. He also led MSU to the Gator and Aloha bowls under head coach George Perles after the 1988 and 89 seasons, respectively. The winner of the MSU “Governor of Michigan” award as the team MVP, he reached double figures in tackles 11 times as a senior, including a career-high 23 versus Illinois.
Selected in the first round of the 1990 NFL Draft by Kansas City, Snow played in the NFL for four seasons with the Chiefs and Chicago Bears.
Active in the community, he has volunteered as an assistant coach for a little league flag football team, and he has served as a longtime assistant coach in the Babe Stern Youth Baseball League. The Canton, Ohio, native was inducted into the Michigan State Hall of Fame in 2010.
University of Miami
Quarterback, 1982, 1984-86
One of the most celebrated players in a Hurricane program stocked with mythical talent, Miami’s Vinny Testaverde claimed virtually every major award during his senior season in 1986. He becomes the sixth Hurricane to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
As a senior, Testaverde earned unanimous First-Team All-American honors, and he won the Heisman Trophy, the Walter Camp Player of the Year, Maxwell, Davey O’Brien and UPI Player of the Year awards. He led the Canes to three consecutive bowls, including the 1987 Fiesta Bowl National Championship game. He finished his collegiate career with more than 6,000 passing yards and 48 touchdown passes, and he still ranks in the top five in virtually every passing category in school history. Testaverde, who was a redshirt on Miami’s 1983 national championship team, went 23-3 as a starter playing for legendary coaches Howard Schnellenberger and Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson.
Tampa Bay selected Testaverde as the No. 1 overall selection in the 1987 NFL Draft, and his pro career spanned 21 seasons with seven different teams. The 1998 All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowl selection finished his NFL career seventh all-time in passing yards (46,233) and eighth in touchdowns (275).
The Elmont, N.Y., native currently resides in Florida where he plays an active role with the Children’s Cancer Center of Tampa. Testaverde remains among only four Hurricanes to have their jerseys retired at Miami.
Passing for more than 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns in his career, Don Trull left an indelible mark on the Baylor record books while becoming the school’s first-ever NFF National Scholar-Athlete. Trull becomes the seventh Bear to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A 1963 First-Team All-American and First-Team All-Southwest Conference selection, Trull led the nation in touchdowns and passing yards his senior season. He was a two-time winner of the Sammy Baugh Award for leading the country in completions (1962, 1963), and he finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting as a senior. A trailblazer on the field and off, Trull became Baylor’s first two-time First-Team Academic All-American honoree in 1962 and 1963 as well as the school’s first NFF National Scholar-Athlete (1963). Trull led the Bears to the 1961 Gotham Bowl and the 1963 Bluebonnet Bowl under coach John Bridges.
The Oklahoma City native enjoyed an eight-year career in the professional ranks, playing for the Houston Oilers and Boston Patriots as well as the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos. Following his playing days, he served as an assistant coach at Arkansas from 1972-74.
Trull is the 2013 president-elect for the NFF Touchdown Club of Houston Chapter. His many other roles include NFL Alumni Director, vice chairman of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and a member of the Fort Bend County Water Board of Directors. Trull is a Baylor Hall of Fame inductee, and he was named to the school’s all-decade team.
University of Florida
The first player in history to win the Heisman as well as the NFF’s William V. Campbell Trophy, Danny Wuerffel dominated the college football landscape both athletically and academically during his senior season. He becomes the seventh Gator to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time First-Team All-American, Wuerffel claimed the 1996 Heisman Trophy, Walter Camp Player of the Year, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Unitas Golden Arm and the Sammy Baugh Trophy. The two-time SEC Player of the Year and First-Team All-SEC selection posted a 45-6-1 career mark, leading the Gators to the 1996 National Championship. Wuerffel finished his career with nearly 11,000 passing yards and 33 school records, taking Florida to bowl games in each of his four seasons under coach Steve Spurrier (a 1986 Hall of Fame player inductee himself also at Florida). In addition to the 1996 Campbell Trophy, Wuerffel was named a two-time Academic All-American and two-time Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He now becomes the first winner of the Campbell Trophy to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
The Ft. Walton, Fla., native was drafted in the fourth round of the 1997 NFL Draft by New Orleans, and spent six season in the league with the Saints, Packers, Bears and Redskins.
Wuerffel became executive director of Desire Street Ministries after Hurricane Katrina, currently leading the organization’s various community outreach activities. He was a presidential appointee to the White House Council for Service and Civic Participation from 2006-08; a member of the Board of Directors for Professional Athletes Outreach; and a national spokesman for Caps Kids. As the quintessential student-athlete and humanitarian, the All Sports Association established the Wuerffel Trophy in 2005, which recognizes a college football player for his exemplary community service.
United States Naval Academy, Temple University
Head Coach, 118-74-5 (61.2%)
The most successful coach in Temple football history and the coach of Navy’s only two Heisman Trophy winners, Wayne Hardin created a Hall of Fame career, leading the Midshipmen and Owl programs to unprecedented accomplishments.
Navy’s head coach from 1959-64 Hardin coached Hall of Famers and Heisman Trophy winners Joe Bellino (1960) and Roger Staubach (1963). Hardin ranks fifth all-time at Navy in wins (38), and his teams beat archrival Army in five of his six seasons. His five consecutive defeats of Army stood unsurpassed until 2007. He took Navy to the 1960 Orange Bowl and the 1963 Cotton Bowl, and he twice led the Midshipmen to a top five ranking (No. 4, 1960 and No. 2, 1963). He also coached NFF National Scholar-Athlete Joe Ince (1963).
The all-time leader in wins at Temple, Hardin served as head coach of the Owls from 1970-82. He led Temple to its only 10-win season in program history during the 1979 season, finishing at No. 17 in both major polls and beating favored California in the Garden State Bowl. Hardin also mentored Owl quarterback Steve Joachim who led the nation in total offense and won the Maxwell Trophy in 1973.
Hardin attended the College of the Pacific, playing football for College Football Hall of Fame coach Amos Alonzo Stagg. A 1998 Pacific Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, Hardin earned 11 varsity letters before graduating college in 1948.
University of Colorado
Head Coach, 93-55-5 (62.4%)
The Colorado head coach from 1982-94, Bill McCartney guided the Buffaloes to their first national title and to more bowl games than any other coach in CU football history.
McCartney and the Buffs finished in the Top 20 in each of his last six seasons in Boulder, including the 1990 national crown and back-to-back appearances in the 1989 and 1990 title games. He claimed unanimous 1989 National Coach of the Year honors, and his extraordinary accomplishments include leading the Buffs to nine bowls in 13 seasons and to three Big Eight titles. His 1988-92 teams went 25 consecutive games (23-0-2) without a loss in league play, the fourth-longest streak in conference history.
McCartney coached 1994 Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam; Hall of Famer and 1990 Butkus winner Alfred Williams; two Jim Thorpe award winners, Deon Figures (1992) and Chris Hudson (1994); 1992 Campbell Trophy winner Jim Hansen; and 1987 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Eric McCarty.
The three-time Big Eight Coach of the Year was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1999, and he was enshrined in CU’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. Active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he was voted the 1986 FCA’s “Man-of-the-Year” in Colorado.