My e-mail feed was blowing up today about perceived snubs and the college football Hall of Fame. Names like Orlando Pace and Tommie Frazier were thrown around as people who should be in, but are not and were not chosen this year. At Purdue, we've been lucky. Otis Armstrong was our ninth player selection and third since 2006. Given that we're not exactly a college football powerhouse, that's impressive.
Do we deserve more, however?
Here is our current roster of enshrines:
1951 - Andy Smith (coach)
1955 - Elmer Oliphant
1963 - Alex Agase
1967 - Cecil Isbell
1973 - Jim Phelan (coach)
1984 - Bob Griese
1988 - Jack Mollenkopf (coach)
1989 - Bump Elliott
1990 - Leroy Keyes
1999 - Jim Young (coach)
2006 - Mike Phipps
2010 - Mark Herrmann
2012 - Otis Armstrong
I don't think you can argue with the credentials of any of those men, but we certainly have a few more players eligible. To get in, a player must have the following:
- A major First Team All-American recognition.
- 10 years since they last played in college.
- Post football record as a citizen is also considered.
- Professional playing career must be over.
- Must have played within the past 50 years.
With that in mind, here are Purdue's top candidates:
Rod Woodson - An All-American in 1985 and 1986, Woodson is one of the most dynamic players ever in the collegiate game. He single-handedly beat Indiana in his last college game and was a First Round pick in the 1986 NFL draft at No. 10 overall. Professionally he was an 11-time Pro Bowler, holds a few NFL records, and was put into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot. The dude was so awesome he turned down a chance at the Olympics to keep playing football.
Honestly, I have no idea why Woodson is not in the College Hall already. It's a damn travesty that he's not.
Dave Young - Young, along with Herrmann, was Purdue's last unanimous All-American before Ryan Kerrigan. He was Herrmann's top target and was the first tight end to ever lead the nation in receptions. At the time he graduated he was the Big Ten's leading receiver as Purdue was on the cutting edge with this "forward pass" idea while many other teams in the conference were still grinding it out on the ground. He had 180 catches for 2,316 yards and 27 touchdowns, which are still all in the top 10 in school history in those categories.
Mike Alstott - Alstott was an All-American in 1995 by Gannett News Service, so I hope that is enough. The fact that he broke rushing records held by Leroy Keyes and Otis Armstrong gives him strong consideration. Off the field his character has been impeccable, and he has the cachet of being one of the last true rushing fullbacks in both the college and pro games. The fact that he was a rampaging beast of a man that almost single-handedly dragged a Jim Colletto coached team to a bowl game should get him nominated for sainthood, because it was a friggin' miracle Colletto even came close to a bowl.
Dave Butz - Butz once had a class with my dad, and given my dad is a 5'7" pharmacist, I don't think you could confuse the two. He was the fifth overall pick in the 1973 NFL Draft and played on the opposite side of the ball from Otis. He was a 1972 finalist for the Lombardi Award at defensive tackle, and won a pair of Super Bowl rings with the Redskins during a 16-year NFL career.
Drew Brees - Brees is ineligible until he retires from the NFL, but I think he's a stone-cold lock to be in because his off the field record is impeccable and he still holds virtually every Big Ten passing record. He won the Maxwell Award and Academic All-American of the Year as a senior and has a Super Bowl MVP award on his resume. He'll likely finish his career as one of the greatest passers in NFL history and he's probably headed to the Pro Hall of Fame for good measure.
Joe Tiller - In the coaching realm Tiller could be in the argument. He's the school's all-time wins leader, revolutionized a conference with the passing game, coached Brees, and won a conference title. I don't think he gets in, but he is at least worth mentioning if Mollenkopf is there.