July 6, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Former All-Americans Carl Banks and Clinton Jones have been elected for induction into the Michigan State University Athletics Hall of Fame. The Class of 2012 also includes Emily Bastel (women's golf), Shawn Respert (basketball), Diane Spoelstra (women's basketball/softball/volleyball) and George Szypula (men's gymnastics coach). The six-member class will be inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame on Thursday, Sept. 20, as part of the "Celebrate 2012" weekend.
The "Celebrate 2012" weekend includes the third-annual Varsity Letter Jacket Presentation and Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 20; announcement of the Varsity S Club award winners on Friday, Sept. 21; and culminates Saturday, Sept. 22 with a special recognition of the Hall of Famers during the Michigan State-Eastern Michigan football game in Spartan Stadium (kickoff TBA).
"We're excited about inducting another quality class into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame," Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis said. "We really look forward to the unique opportunity to celebrate the achievement of student-athletes being awarded their first varsity letter jacket in conjunction with honoring our best of the best with the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
"Carl Banks is simply one of the best linebackers in Spartan football history. He was a dominant player in college, earning All-Big Ten recognition three times and All-America honors twice. I was enrolled in some communication arts classes with Carl, and he was equally as impressive in the classroom as he was on the field. Carl also went on to become a tremendous player in the NFL, winning two Super Bowl titles with the New York Giants.
"Clinton Jones was an explosive playmaker on MSU's back-to-back National Championship football teams in the mid-1960s. He had that rare combination of size, speed and power."
The MSU Athletics Hall of Fame, located in the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center, opened on Oct. 1, 1999, and displays key moments in Spartan Athletics history as well as plaques of all 108 inductees. The charter class of 30 former Spartan student-athletes, coaches and administrators was inducted in 1992.
A four-year letterman and three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, outside linebacker Carl Banks played his first three years (1980-82) for Frank "Muddy" Waters and his senior season (1983) for George Perles.
As a true freshman in 1980, he appeared in all 11 games and contributed 25 tackles, including two for losses (10 years), and an interception.
In 1981, Banks led the team in tackles (career-best 97 stops) and tackles for loss (10 for 42 yards) en route to becoming just the fifth sophomore in Michigan State football history to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors (as selected by the league's head coaches). He ranked 13th in conference games with 79 stops, including a career-high 17 tackles in Week 2 at Ohio State. Nine of his career-best 10 tackles for loss came in Big Ten play.
As a junior in 1982, Banks was elected co-captain and finished second on the team in tackles with 71, including four for losses (26 yards). A first-team All-Big Ten selection by both the league's coaches and media, he earned third-team All-America honors from the Football News. Banks produced a season-high 16 tackles in Week 7 against Purdue.
Prior to the 1983 season opener against Colorado, MSU outside linebackers coach Norm Parker said, "Carl Banks should never be blocked. If anybody handles him, they're playing in the wrong league. They should be playing on Sundays."
As a senior in 1983, he was elected as the team's only captain and anchored a defensive unit that finished third in the Big Ten in total defense, allowing 322.0 yards per conference game. Banks ranked second on the team in tackles with 86, including nine for losses (44 yards), and garnered first-team All-Big Ten honors from the league's coaches and media. He earned first-team All-America honors from The Associated Press, United Press International and The Sporting News and was selected College Linebacker of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus. The 1983 team MVP reached double figures in tackles five times, including a season-high 16 stops in MSU's 28-23 victory at Notre Dame. He had two tackles for loss (12 yards) against the Irish, including a 10-yard sack. In his final game in Spartan Stadium, Banks produced 13 tackles against Iowa, including three behind the line of scrimmage (9 yards).
The Flint, Mich., native closed out his career ranked among MSU's all-time leaders in tackles (third with 279) and tackles for loss (tied for third with 25 for 122 yards). Today, his 25 tackles for loss still rank among the school's all-time Top 20 (tied for 19th). Banks, who recorded double-digit tackles 13 times in his career, started his last 32 games in a Spartan uniform (DNP vs. Purdue in 1983).
"I was very surprised (to receive the congratulatory phone call)," Banks said. "I'm flattered by my selection.
"Throughout my career, the teams valued the importance of representing the Green and White. Even during the down years, we aspired to become a great team. Year after year, we fought to get things back on track. Thankfully, George Perles took over the program in 1983, and he really started to restore the Spartan tradition. Despite our (won-lost) record, I played with great teammates and for great coaches. Overall, I simply had a great experience at Michigan State.
"As a linebacker at MSU, `Mickey' (George) Webster was the standard-bearer. My goal was to be thought of in his light. Throughout its football history, Michigan State has produced some special linebackers. Honestly, I'd stack Michigan State's linebacker tradition up against Penn State's (tradition) any day."
The Beecher High School product was selected No. 3 overall by the New York Giants in the 1984 National Football League Draft. He spent 12 years in the NFL, including nine seasons in New York (1984-92), one year in Washington (1993) and two seasons in Cleveland (1994-95). Banks, who won two Super Bowls (XXI and XXV) and recorded over 500 tackles including 36 sacks in New York, was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team (1980s). Last December, his name was added to the New York Giants' Ring of Honor. Banks, who started 151 of 173 career games, recorded more than 800 tackles as a pro, including 39.5 sacks.
A three-year letterman from 1964-66 for legendary head coach Duffy Daugherty, Clinton Jones accounted for 2,549 career all-purpose yards and 23 touchdowns. Jones led the team in rushing and all-purpose yards in his final two seasons while helping the Spartans to a combined record of 19-1-1, including back-to-back Big Ten and National Championships in 1965 and '66.
He made his presence known as a sophomore in 1964, finishing second on the team in rushing with 350 yards and four TDs.
As a junior in 1965, Jones earned first-team All-Big Ten and first-team All-America honors from the Football Writers Association after rushing for 787 yards and 10 TDs. In addition, he was named recipient of the Joe Fogg Memorial Trophy, presented by the Cleveland Touchdown Club to the nation's most outstanding college player. Jones also finished second on the team in receptions with 26 for 308 yards (11.8 avg.) and two scores. He ranked 13th nationally in scoring with 74 total points (12 TDs and one two-point conversion). In conference games, Jones led the Big Ten in scoring with 68 points (11 TDs and one two-point conversion) and finished second in rushing with 538 yards.
He recorded three 100-yard rushing games in 1965, including a season-best 132 yards on 16 carries in MSU's 32-7 victory over Ohio State. On the second play from scrimmage against the Buckeyes, Jones scored on a spectacular 80-yard run and later caught a 12-yard TD pass. Three weeks later, he tied the then-Big Ten single-game record with four rushing TDs in a 35-0 win at Iowa. Jones rushed 20 times for 117 yards, including a 3-yard TD run, in MSU's 12-3 victory at Notre Dame in the regular-season finale. In a 14-12 loss to fifth-ranked UCLA in the 1966 Rose Bowl, he picked up 113 yards on 20 attempts.
Each spring, Jones also distinguished himself as a hurdler on the track. As a sophomore in 1965, he placed third in the highs and fourth in the lows at the Big Ten indoor championships and took third in the conference outdoor meet. Jones earned All-America honors in 1965 as a member of the 440-yard relay. As a junior in 1966, he captured second in the Big Ten indoor highs and lows and ran a leg on MSU's shuttle hurdle team that set the national mark of 57.4 at the Drake Relays.
As a senior co-captain in 1966, the 6-foot, 210-pound Jones again earned first-team All-Big Ten honors en route to being named a consensus first-team All-American. He led the Spartans in rushing for the second year in a row, gaining 784 yards and scoring six rushing TDs. Jones led the Big Ten in rushing in league games, picking up 593 yards. He posted two 100-yard games in 1966, including a 129-yard effort on 19 carries in MSU's 28-10 win over N.C. State in the season opener. In Week 8, Jones ran 21 times for a then-Big Ten single-game record 268 yards and three TDs in MSU's 56-7 victory over Iowa. He scored on runs of 79, 70 and 2 yards against the Hawkeyes and was selected United Press International's Midwest Back of the Week.
Daugherty repeatedly told reporters, "I wouldn't trade Jones for any halfback in the country. He's the greatest back at eluding and breaking tackles I have ever seen. He has remarkable balance, speed and power. Jones is also big, so he can run either around tacklers or over them, and that's the same thing that made Jim Brown so great."
The Cleveland, Ohio, native closed out his career as MSU's second all-time leading rusher with 1,921 yards, trailing only Lynn Chandnois (2,103 career rushing yards). Today, Jones still ranks among the school's all-time Top 20 in carries (16th with 396), rushing yards (16th) and rushing TDs (tied for 16th with 20). He also had 33 career receptions for 408 yards (12.4 avg.) and three scores.
"Upon hearing the news of my selection, tears of joy ran down my face," Jones said. "I was speechless.
"We had a family atmosphere at Michigan State. Duffy Daugherty had recruited a lot of talent, especially from the South, so it was a culture shock for many of the guys. Duffy provided some direction, but for the most point, he left us alone; and for whatever reason, we came together as a team and really jelled. There was civil unrest and the country was in turmoil, but on the MSU campus, we took the off-the-field adversity and turned it into opportunity. Despite our uniqueness and different life experiences, we focused on each other and developed a special bond. It was more than about football.
"I wasn't highly recruited coming out of (Cathedral Latin) high school. In fact, I didn't become a first-string player until my senior year, and I spent only two-and-a-half games in the lineup before my season ended with a sprained ankle and broken hand. I was so disappointed, but I put all of my energy and effort into my studies and hurdles. At that point, I also became determined to make it as a football player in college or die trying.
"I didn't want to let anyone at Michigan State down, so I left everything on the field," Jones continued. "I really think my boxing (Golden Gloves) and track backgrounds helped me develop as a football player. With the help of my coaches and teammates, everything came together at MSU and I became a complete back.
"Jim Brown and Ernie Davis were my heroes growing up, so I dreamed the impossible. Michigan State provided me with the opportunity of a lifetime and I fulfilled my dreams. At MSU, I was surrounded by people that supported me and I developed friendships that have lasted a lifetime. I'm proud and honored to be joining Gene (Washington), `Bubba' Smith and `Mickey' (George Webster) in the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame."
Following his senior season, Jones participated in the Hula Bowl, East-West Shrine Game and College All-Star Game. He rushed for 79 yards and a TD in the Hula Bowl.
Jones was selected No. 2 overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1967 National Football League Draft (behind teammate Charles "Bubba" Smith, who went No. 1 to the Baltimore Colts). He spent seven seasons in the NFL, including six years in Minnesota (1967-72) and one season in San Diego (1973). His nine rushing TDs in 1970 ranked second in the league. As a pro, Jones accounted for 5,035 career all-purpose yards and 21 TDs, including 2,178 rushing yards and 20 scores.