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Strahan, Williams Named Hall of Fame Finalists

Southern University’s Aeneas Williams is a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist.

It looks like the HBCU alumni of the NFL Hall of Fame are one-step closer to welcoming two new members. Michael Strahan and Aeneas Williams, were two of of 17 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Friday. 

Strahan, was named a finalist in his first year of eligibility. Before he became a morning talk show host or a Super Bowl champion, Strahan spent his time giving SWAC coaches nightmares.Strahan had his way with opposing linemen, collecting 41.5 sacks in college career. The two-time SWAC Player of the Year and All-American was selected by the New York Giants in the second round of the NFL Draft.

Injuries and underwhelming sack totals marked Strahan’s early career, but when he finally emerged, he broke through in a big way. He made his first Pro Bowl in 1997 after recording 14 sacks. His sack totals continued to climb, culminating in a record-breaking 22.5 sacks in 2001. Strahan went out a winner on the biggest stage possible, helping the Giants defeat the New England Patriots in one of the Super Bowl’s biggest upsets.

Strahan racked up on awards while at
Texas Southern.

Strahan would be the first player from Texas Southern to have a bust in Canton.

Williams’ run to Canton was as improbable as Strahan’s was interesting. Williams played just two years at Southern, walking on to the football team prior to his junior year. It didn’t take long for him to make an impact, however, as he tied the Division 1-AA record with 11 interceptions that season.

Williams was picked by the then-Phoenix Cardinals in the third round of the 1991 draft. By the end of his rookie season, Williams had tied for the league lead in interceptions. He spent most of his brilliant career on bad Cardinals teams, racking up six Pro Bowl appearances and three All-Pro nods but just one playoff season.

Williams was traded to the St. Louis Rams in 2001, and switched from cornerback to free safety. Williams and the Rams made it to the Superbowl, only to lose to the New England Patriots. He would retire a few years later to wrap up a spectacular career. He ended up with 55 interceptions and was named to the All-Decade Team of the 1990s.

If selected, Williams would be the second Southern Jaguar in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Former Pittsburgh Steelers Mel Blount was the first in 1989.

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