LEADOFF: College Football Hall of Fame class inducted, including son of a Hall of Famer


Good morning. This is LEADOFF, today’s early look inside Atlanta sports.

The College Football Hall of Fame is located in Atlanta, but its annual induction ceremony is held in New York. That’s different from other sports, which induct new Hall of Famers at or near their Hall of Fame venue, but it’s how college football always has done it. 

Continuing the tradition, this year’s College Football Hall of Fame class was inducted Tuesday night at the National Football Foundation’s 60th annual awards dinner in a New York hotel ballroom. 

The 13-member class will be invited to Atlanta later this month for activities at the Hall of Fame building and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. 

The 2017 class: former players Bob Crable (Notre Dame), Marshall Faulk (San Diego State), Kirk Gibson (Michigan State), Matt Leinart (Southern California), Peyton Manning (Tennessee), Bob McKay (Texas), Dat Nguyen (Texas A&M), Adrian Peterson (Georgia Southern), Mike Ruth (Boston College), Brian Urlacher (New Mexico) and former coaches Danny Ford (Clemson, Arkansas), Larry Kehres (Mount Union [Ohio]) and Steve Spurrier (Duke, Florida, South Carolina). 

Manning joined his father, 1989 inductee Archie Manning, in the College Football Hall of Fame, making them the first father-son duo to be inducted as players. At a news conference in New York on Tuesday, Peyton Manning recalled attending his father’s induction: 

“I was 13 years old. My mom let me and my two brothers miss school to come up here and witness our dad going to the Hall of Fame. First time wearing a tuxedo, first time being in New York, so that was a big deal.

“But I can remember what a big deal it was to my dad, that honor. A lot of Ole Miss people were here. So it's kind of surreal thinking I'm going to experience that same moment. I am honored to be selected into the College Football Hall of Fame, especially with all these great players and coaches. But to join my dad, it's quite a unique honor. I'm very humbled by it.”

And yes, Manning let his kids skip school, too, to see him enter the Hall of Fame.

“I thought that was appropriate,” he said.

Another of Tuesday night’s inductees, former Michigan State wide receiver Gibson, earned fame and fortune in a different sport as a 17-year major-league baseball player with two World Series rings. At Tuesday’s news conference, Gibson recalled good advice from his football coach at Michigan State, Darryl Rogers:

“He asked me if I wanted to be a top five pick in the NFL. I said, ‘Yeah, it would be great.’ And he said, ‘Go out for baseball.’”

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Meanwhile, two-dozen stars of college football’s 2017 season are gathering in Atlanta from around the nation for an awards show that will be televised live Thursday night on ESPN. See story here.


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