The leader of one of the best offenses in Penn State history has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
All-America quarterback Kerry Collins was selected as part of the 2018 class. Collins will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, at the 61st National Football Foundation (NFF) annual awards dinner in New York City.
Collins is among 13 inductees (10 players, three coaches) to be recognized.
Collins is the 25th Penn State member (19 players, six coaches) to be elected to the College Hall of Fame.
“I was surrounded by great players and coaches during my time at Penn State, and was fortunate to have been part of an unbelievably talented undefeated 1994 Big Ten championship team," Collins said in a statement released by Penn State. "My years at Penn State were special."
Collins helped Penn State post a 40-9 record from 1991-94 and was instrumental in the Nittany Lions earning a 22-2 overall mark (14-2 conference) during their first two years in the Big Ten Conference, posting records of 10-2 in 1993 and 12-0 in 1994. The recipient of the 1994 Maxwell Award as the national player of the year, he helped coach Joe Paterno’s squad win three New Year’s Day bowl games: the 1992 Fiesta, 1994 Citrus and 1995 Rose Bowls.
A native of West Lawn, Pennsylvania, Collins started every game in leading Penn State to the 1994 Big Ten title. The Nittany Lions defeated Oregon, 38-20, in the 1995 Rose Bowl to become the first Big Ten team to post a 12-0 record, earning the No. 2 final ranking by AP, UPI and USA Today/CNN. Penn State was ranked No. 1 by the New York Times and in the Sagarin computer ratings at the end of the 1994 season.
A consensus first-team All-American, Collins directed one of most prolific and balanced offenses in NCAA and Big Ten history in 1994. The Lions led the nation in scoring (47.8 points per game) and total offense (520.2 yards per game). The 1994 offense broke 14 school season records and seven Big Ten season marks.
“On what was arguably one of the most dynamic offenses ever assembled, Kerry Collins was the driving force that made it go,” said Fran Ganter, the Lions’ offensive coordinator from 1984-2003 and a member of the coaching staff for 33 years. ... "Players like Kerry Collins don't come along very often. In my more than 30 years on the Penn State sidelines, Kerry was one of the strongest leaders, most gifted athletes and finest young men I ever had the honor to coach.”
During his career, Collins broke Penn State season records for completions (176), passing yardage (2,679), completion percentage (66.7, 176-of-264), pass efficiency (172.86) and yards per pass attempt (10.15). He still holds the season records for completion percentage, yards per attempt and pass efficiency.
Collins graduated from Penn State with a degree in labor and industrial relations. He finished his career 370 of 657 passing for 5,304 yards, with 39 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions.
In 1994, Collins finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Collins went on to a 17-year career with the NFL, where he was a two-time Pro Bowl selection.
Others selected: Coaches Frank Beamer and Mack Brown and former players Ed Reed and Calvin Johnson were also selected for the hall.
Brown won 244 games in a 30-year head coaching career at four schools that featured 16 seasons and a national championship at Texas.
Beamer built Virginia Tech football into a national power, taking over the program in 1987 and leading the Hokies to a BCS championship game in 1999. His 280 victories rank sixth in FBS history.
The rest of the class includes Trevor Cobb of Rice; Dave Dickenson of Montana; Dana Howard of Illinois; Paul Palmer of Temple; Matt Stinchcomb of Georgia; Aaron Taylor of Nebraska; Matt Tjeerdsma, who coached Austin College and Northwest Missouri State; and Michigan’s Charles Woodson, whose selection was announced Sunday.
Reed played safety for Miami and was an integral part of the school’s last great teams, including a national title in 2001. He became an all-time great NFL player and Super Bowl winner with the Baltimore Ravens.
Johnson was a star receiver for Georgia Tech, winning the Biletnikoff Award as top receiver in 2006 before going on to a brilliant NFL career with the Detroit Lions.
Cobb won the Doak Walker as the country’s best running back and holds most of Rice’s school rushing records.
Dickenson passed for 11,080 yards in his career and was named the 1994 Division I-AA player of the year.
Howard was the Butkus Award win 1994 as best linebacker.
Palmer is considered maybe the greatest player in Temple history and finished second in the Heisman voting in 1986. He ran for 4,985 yards in his career
Stinchcomb was one of the best offensive lineman to play for Georgia, named the SEC’s most outstanding blocker in 1998.
Taylor was an offensive lineman on three Nebraska national championship teams, playing center and guard.