2019 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot Features Three Spartans, Former Coach
Flozell Adams, Tony Mandarich, Lorenzo White and Darryl Rogers are among the candidates being considered for election.
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Three former Michigan State All-Americans -- offensive tackle Flozell Adams, offensive tackle Tony Mandarich and running back Lorenzo White -- along with former Spartan head coach Darryl Rogers are featured on the National Football Foundation's 2019 (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 second 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 Monday 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 will 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 2019 Class will be made Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, California. The city is serving as the host for the CFP National Championship, which will be played later that day at Levi's Stadium. Some of the electees will be on site during the announcement to represent the class and share their thoughts on being elected. The Jan. 7 announcement will be televised live, and specific viewing information will be available as the date draws near. Several of the electees 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 5.26 million individuals who have played college football since Princeton first battled Rutgers on Nov. 6, 1869, only 997 players have earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, or less than two one-hundredths of a percent (.02%) of those who have played the game during the past 149 years. From the coaching ranks, 217 individuals have achieved Hall of Fame distinction.
Below are bio sketches for the three former Spartan players and one former coach listed on the 2019 FBS ballot:
Flozell Adams (OT, 6-7, 300, Bellwood, Ill.): Earned first-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Foundation as a senior in 1997 . . . one of only three Spartans to be named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year . . . started all 12 games at left tackle in 1997 and helped the Spartans to a No. 24 ranking in rushing offense (199.5 ypg) . . . also opened holes for MSU running backs who tallied 100 or more yards seven times during the season . . . allowed just two sacks and recorded 37 pancakes . . . in his final game at Spartan Stadium, he graded out 89 percent overall with a season-high six pancakes vs. Penn State as MSU gained 452 yards on the ground, the most ever allowed by the Nittany Lions . . . named recipient of MSU's President's Award in 1997 . . . three-year starter (left tackle in 1997; right tackle in 1995-96) . . . four-year letterwinner (1994-97) . . . was an honorable mention All-Big Ten choice in 1995, a second-team All-Big Ten pick in 1996, and a first-team all-league honoree in 1997 . . . drafted in the second round (No. 38 overall) by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1998 NFL Draft . . . played 13 seasons in the NFL, 12 with Dallas (1998-2009) and one with Pittsburgh (2010) . . . five-time Pro Bowler played in 198 career games, including 194 starts . . . his final game was in Super Bowl XLV with the Steelers.
Tony Mandarich (OT, 6-6, 315, Oakville, Ontario): Two-time first-team All-American is the only Spartan and just one of five Big Ten players in history to be named Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year twice (1987-88) . . . is the only offensive tackle in school history to earn first-team All-America and first-team All-Big Ten honors twice (1987-88) . . . four-year starter at left tackle from 1985-88; started 44 career games with the Spartans . . . was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy and finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1988 . . . did not allow any sacks and recorded more than 50 pancakes as a senior while earning consensus All-America honors . . . started all 12 games at left tackle on MSU's 1987 Big Ten and 1988 Rose Bowl Championship team . . . was the No. 2 overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers and spent six seasons in the NFL (Green Bay, 1989-91; Indianapolis, 1996-98).
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 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 then 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 December 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).