Ex-UT QB Manning Named To College Football Hall Of Fame

Honor Comes Less Than Year After His NFL Retirement

Monday, January 9, 2017 - by special to The Chattanoogan.com

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tennnessee football legend and two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning has been named to the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class, as announcedon Mondayby the National Football Foundation (NFF) and the College Football Hall of Fame.

The 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class features 10 players and three coaches. Manning, Bob Crable (Notre Dame), Marshall Faulk (San Diego State), Kirk Gibson (Michigan State), Matt Leinart (Southern California), Bob McKay (Texas), Dat Nguyen (Texas A&M), Adrian Peterson (Georgia Southern), Mike Ruth (Boston College), Brian Urlacher (New Mexico), Danny Ford (coach of Clemson, Arkansas), Larry Kehres (coach of Mount Union) and Steve Spurrier (coach of Duke, Florida, South Carolina) will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Dec. 5, 2017, during the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown.

"It's a tremendous honor to represent Tennessee and join the distinguished list of University of Tennessee alumni in the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame," Manning said. "I've always had great appreciation for the unbelievable history of Tennessee football, coaches and players. I'm extremely appreciative and humbled by this incredible honor.

"I know it wouldn't be possible without the great coaches and teammates that I was surrounded by in Knoxville, including my Hall of Fame coach, Philip Fulmer, who was recently inducted. I truly accept this as a team honor, and when I say ‘team,’ it’s more than just the players I played with; it’s the fans, the alumni and just the great support system I was blessed with at Tennessee. To everybody involved with me getting this recognition, thank you! I accept it as a group award, not as an individual award. To everybody involved with me getting this recognition, thank you."

Manning will be the 23rd Vol to be inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Manning is the third Tennessee quarterback to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, joining Bobby Dodd, who starred at Tennessee from 1928-30, and George Cafego (1938-39).

Seventy-five All-America coaches and six elite coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 95 players and 29 coaches from the divisional ranks were on the ballot. The Hall of Fame Honors Court, comprised of members of the National Football Foundation, athletics directors, coaches and members of CoSIDA, are responsible for the final vote for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

"We are extremely proud to announce the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class," said Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Mississippi. "Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments."

The announcement of the 2017 Class was made today live on ESPN's SportsCenter in Tampa, Fla., the site of the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship, which will be played tonight at Raymond James Stadium between No. 1 Alabama (14-0) and No. 2 Clemson (13-1). Spurrier joined the ESPN set inside the stadium for the announcement, representing the class and sharing his thoughts on induction. Spurrier and Manning will also participate in pregame festivities and the coin toss on the field during the championship game, including an appearance by Manning on Championship Drive at  7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

After 18 outstanding years in the NFL, setting league passing and touchdown records and winning his second Super Bowl last January, Manning retired from the game of football.

Leading the Denver Broncos to a 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, Manning earned his 200th career win (regular season and postseason included) to become the first player to reach that milestone. He is also the only quarterback in NFL history to have led two different franchises (he won Super Bowl XLI with the Indianapolis Colts) to Super Bowl Championships. Manning retired as the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards (71,940), passing touchdowns (539), game-winning drives (56), fourth-quarter comebacks (45) and regular-season wins (186, tied with Brett Favre). He was also a five-time NFL MVP (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013) and a 14-time Pro Bowl selection.

Manning is the Vols' all-time leader in passing yards (11,201), wins by a quarterback (39), 300-yard games (18), passing touchdowns (89), pass attempts (1,381) and pass completions (863). His 11,020 total yards of offense, 10 games of 300 passing yards, 22 home wins and 13 road wins are also Tennessee records.

Manning was the 1994 SEC Freshman of the year and earned All-SEC honors in 1995 and 1996. He was an Associated Press and Football News Third-Team All-American in 1996. In 1997, Manning was a consensus All-American and won the William V. Campbell Trophy, the Davey O'Brien Award, the Johnny Unitas Award, the NCAA QB of the Year award, the Maxwell Award, the James E. Sullivan Award, the Today's Top VIII Award and SEC Player of the Year. He led the Vols to a 30-29 win over Auburn in the 1997 SEC Championship, earning MVP honors. Manning also received the 1998 ESPY for Best College Football Player.

(Contact Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44)


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