EAST LANSING, Mich. - Two former Michigan State All-Americans - placekicker Morten Andersen and running back Lorenzo White - along with former Spartan head coach Darryl Rogers are featured on the National Football Foundation's 2018 (Football Bowl Subdivision) ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.
In addition, former Spartan Gideon Smith, the first African-American to play intercollegiate athletics at Michigan State and a three-year letterwinner from 1913-15, is on the ballot for the first time in the divisional coaching category. Smith coached at Hampton University from 1921-40 and led the Pirates to the 1922 Black College National Championship. He recorded four CIAA titles and two unbeaten seasons in his career. The longest tenured coach in Hampton history, Smith has the second-most wins all-time at the school.
The ballot was emailed this week to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF's Honors Courts, which deliberate and select the class. The FBS Honors Court, chaired by NFF Board Member and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Griffin from Ohio State, and the Divisional Honors Court, chaired by former Marshall head coach, longtime athletics director and NFF Board Member Jack Lengyel, include an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletic administrators, Hall of Famers and members of the media.
The announcement of the 2018 Class will be made Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Atlanta. The city is serving as the host for the CFP National Championship, which will be played later that day at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Some of the inductees will be on site during the announcement to represent the class and share their thoughts on being elected. The Jan. 8 announcement will be televised live, and specific viewing information will be available as the date draws near. A few inductees will also participate in the pregame festivities and the coin toss before the championship game.
To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been named First-Team All-American by a major/national selector as recognized and utilized by the NCAA for its consensus All-America teams; played their last year of intercollegiate football at least 10 years prior; played within the last 50 years and cannot be currently playing professional football. Coaches must have coached a minimum of 10 years and 100 games as a head coach; won at least 60 percent of their games; and be retired from coaching for at least three years. If a coach is retired and over the age of 70, there is no waiting period. If he is over the age of 75, he is eligible as an active coach. In both cases, the candidate's post-football record as a citizen may also be weighed.
Once nominated for consideration, all player candidates are submitted to one of eight District Screening Committees, depending on their school's geographic location, which conducts a vote to determine who will appear on the ballot and represent their respective districts. Each year, approximately 15 candidates, who are not selected for the Hall of Fame, will be named automatic holdovers and will bypass the district screening process and automatically appear on the ballot the following year. Additionally, the Veterans Committee may make recommendations to the Honors Court for exceptions that allow for the induction of players who played more than 50 years ago.
Of the 5.19 million individuals who have played college football since Princeton first battled Rutgers on Nov. 6, 1869, only 987 players, including the 2017 class, have earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, or less than two ten-thousandths (.0002) of one percent of those who have played the game during the past 149 years. From the coaching ranks, 214 individuals have achieved Hall of Fame distinction.
Below are bio sketches for the two former Spartans players and one former coach listed on the 2018 FBS ballot:
Morten Andersen (PK, 6-2, 195, Struer, Denmark): Four-year letterman played for both Darryl Rogers (1978-79) and Frank "Muddy" Waters (1980-81) . . . closed out his career as Michigan State's all-time leader in field goals (45), extra points (126) and scoring (261 points) . . . still ranks among MSU's all-time Top 10 in extra points (fifth), scoring (seventh) and field goals (eighth) . . . connected on nine field goals from 50-plus yards during his career, including a Big Ten-record 63-yarder at Ohio State in 1981 . . . also converted 62-straight extra-point attempts during one stretch . . . named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation All-Century Team (1900-2000) in 1999 . . . led the team in scoring with 73 points as a freshman in 1978, converting 52-of-54 extra points and 7-of-16 field goals, as the Spartans went 8-3 and won a share of the Big Ten Championship at 7-1 . . . led the Big Ten in kick scoring with 56 points in league games (44-of-45 extra points and 4-of-10 field goals) in 1978 . . . finished second on the team in scoring with 58 points as a sophomore in 1979, trailing only running back Derek Hughes who scored 11 touchdowns for 66 points . . . second-team All-Big Ten selection connected on all 25 extra-point and 11-of-18 field-goal attempts, including five from 50-plus yards . . . made a career-best four field goals in the 1979 season opener against Illinois . . . once again led the Spartans in scoring with 57 points as a junior in 1980, hitting 21-of-22 extra points and 12-of-18 field goals . . . named second-team All-Big Ten for the second year in a row . . . made three field goals from 50-plus yards, including a 57-yarder at Michigan . . . only 20 of his 50 kickoffs (40 percent) were returned by opponents in 1980 . . . earned first-team All-America honors as a senior, from The Sporting News, United Press International and Walter Camp . . . led the team in scoring for the third time in his career with 73 points in 1981, converting 28-of-29 extra points and 15-of-20 field goals . . . selected first-team All-Big Ten . . . ranked second in the conference in scoring with 68 points in league play (26-of-26 extra points and 14-of-18 field goals) . . . matched his career high with four field goals against Indiana . . . opponents returned just 17 of his 56 kickoffs (30 percent) in 1981 . . . also earned Academic All-Big Ten honors as a senior . . . selected by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round (No. 86 overall) of the 1982 National Football League Draft and became a seven-time Pro Bowl selection (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1992 and 1995) . . . named First-Team All-Pro three times (1986, 1987 and 1995) . . . kicked for five teams during his 25-year career and retired from the game in 2008 as the NFL's all-time leading scorer with 2,544 points . . . spent 13 seasons with the Saints (1982-94), eight with the Atlanta Falcons (1995-2000; 2006-07), two with the Kansas City Chiefs (2002-03) and one year each with the New York Giants (2001) and Minnesota Vikings (2004) . . . Atlanta advanced to its only Super Bowl following the 1998 season as Andersen's 38-yard field goal beat the Vikings in the NFC title game.
Lorenzo White (RB, 5-11, 211, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): Four-year letterman for Coach George Perles (1984-87) . . . helped MSU to a combined record of 28-18-1 during his career, including three postseason bowl appearances . . . led the Spartans to the 1987 Big Ten Championship and a 20-17 victory over USC in the 1988 Rose Bowl . . . became first player in school history to lead the team in rushing for four-straight years . . . two-time First-Team All-American (1985 and 1987) . . . also finished fourth in Heisman Trophy balloting twice (1985 and 1987) . . . two-time First-Team All-Big Ten selection (1985 and 1987) . . . led NCAA FBS with 1,908 rushing yards in 1985 (regular-season games only) . . . produced some of the top single-season totals in NCAA FBS history in 1985 (No. 21 at 173.5 rushing yards per game; No. 24 with 1,908 rushing yards) . . . still holds NCAA FBS record for most rushes in two consecutive games (102 in 1985: 53 vs. Purdue and 49 vs. Minnesota) . . . rushed for a school- and then-Big Ten record 2,066 yards and 17 touchdowns as a sophomore in 1985, with 11 100-yard rushing games including four 200-yard games . . . ran for 1,572 yards and 16 TDs as a senior in 1987, including seven 100-yard games . . . set career highs with 56 carries for 292 yards as MSU clinched the 1987 Big Ten title with a 27-3 win over Indiana . . . still ranks as MSU's all-time leader in rushing attempts (1,082), rushing yards (4,887), rushing TDs (43) and 100-yard rushing games (23) . . . his 4,887 career rushing yards still rank seventh in Big Ten history . . . selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (No. 22 overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft . . . 1992 Pro Bowl selection . . . had 1,062 career carries for 4,242 yards and 30 TDs in eight pro seasons (Houston Oilers, 1988-94; Cleveland Browns, 1995).
Darryl Rogers (Head Coach; Michigan State, 1976-79): Guided the Spartans to a 24-18-2 record (.568) in four years as head coach at Michigan State from 1976-79 and coached three first-team All-Americans (wide receiver Kirk Gibson, tight end Mark Brammer and punter Ray Stachowicz) . . . led the Spartans to the 1978 Big Ten championship, claiming the school's fourth conference title . . . honored as the 1978 Big Ten Coach of the Year after the Spartans closed the championship season on a seven-game winning streak, which started with a 24-15 victory at Michigan, to finish the year 8-3 overall and 7-1 in the Big Ten . . . 1978 team featured one of the top offenses in school history, setting MSU single-season records for points scored (411) and scoring average (37.4 points per game) . . . spent 20 seasons as a college head coach (Cal State Hayward, 1965; Fresno State, 1966-72; San Jose State, 1973-75; Michigan State, 1976-79; Arizona State, 1980-84).
Michigan State has nine former players and four former coaches (Clarence "Biggie" Munn, Charles Bachman, Duffy Daugherty, Frank "Muddy" Waters) already enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. In January, 2017, former All-America wide receiver Kirk Gibson became the ninth former Spartan player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, joining halfback John Pingel (inducted in 1968), tackle Don Coleman (1975), linebacker George Webster (1987), defensive end Bubba Smith (1988), safety Brad Van Pelt (2001), wide receiver Gene Washington (2011), linebacker Percy Snow (2013) and running back Clinton Jones (2015).