Nearly a quarter century after playing his last college football game, Steve “Air” McNair is one step closer to taking his place among the games’ all-time greats.
The former Alcorn State quarterback was one of 12 former HBCU greats named on the ballot for the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame on Monday.
Joining McNair on the ballot as a first timer is former Fort Valley State star Tyrone Poole. A two-time Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Defensive Player of the Year (1993-94) Poole led FVSU to two conference titles…Recorded 44 pass breakups and 17 interceptions, returning four for TDs. He was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft and went on to a stellar NFL playing career.
McNair, a 1994 First Team All-American is still the all-time passing leader (14,496) in the FCS. He finished third in 1994 Heisman Trophy voting and the only four-time SWAC Offensive Player of the Year in league history. He also won the 1994 Walter Payton Award and led the Braves to two SWAC titles and two NCAA playoff appearances. He went on to a storied NFL career, earning co-MVP honors in 2003.
The announcement of the 2019 Class will be made Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. The 2019 class will officially be inducted during the 62nd NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 10, 2019, at the New York Hilton Midtown. The inductees will be permanently enshrined at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta later that December and honored on the field during the 15th Annual National Hall of Fame Salute during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. They will also be honored at their respective schools with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the 2019 season.
Below are the other HBCU players and coaches nominated.
Ashley Ambrose, Mississippi Valley State
Defensive Back-1991 First Team All-American and First Team All-SWAC selection…Named SWAC Defensive Back and Return Specialist of the Year in 1991…Led nation in punt returns during senior campaign.
Vincent Brown, Mississippi Valley State
Linebacker-1987 First Team All-American, leading the NCAA in tackles in 1986 and 1987…Set NCAA All-Divisions record with 570 career tackles…Two-time All-SWAC selection who led MVSU in tackles his last three seasons.
Parnell Dickinson, Mississippi Valley State
Quarterback-1975 First Team All-American and Pittsburgh Courier National Player of the Year…Four-time All-SWAC selection and conference Player of the Year as a senior…Finished career as SWAC’s all-time leader in total offense (7,442 yards).
William Dillon, Virginia Union
Free Safety-Three-time First Team All-America selection (1980-82)…Tallied 16 interceptions in 1983…1983 Black College Player of the Year…Two-time First Team All-Conference selection and Player of the Year (1981-82).
Bob Gaddis, Mississippi Valley State
Wide Receiver-1974 First Team All-American and Pittsburgh Courier National Receiver of the Year…Named 1970 NAIA Freshman of the Year en route to twice leading the NAIA in yards per catch (1971-72)…Three-time All-SWAC selection led conference in yards per catch all four years.
Rudy Hubbard-Florida A&M (1974-85)
Captured back-to-back national championships, 1977 and 1978, including the inaugural NCAA Division I-AA National Title in 1978…Led A&M to back-to-back SIAC championships.
Eddie Hurt-Virginia Lynchburg (1925-28), Morgan State (1930-59)
Led Morgan State to six Black College National Championship and 14 CIAA titles…Posted 11 undefeated seasons, including the 1943 team that did not allow a score from a single opponent…From 1932-39, led Bears to 54-game streak without a loss.
Dwight Reed-Lincoln (Mo.) (1949-71)
Teams won three conference titles…Coached 93 All-Americans in four sports…The football stadium at Lincoln University was named for him.
Gideon Smith-Hampton (1921-40)
Led Pirates to 1922 Black College National Championship… Recorded four CIAA titles and two unbeaten seasons in career…Longest tenured coach in Hampton history, boasting the second-most wins all-time at the school.
Joe Taylor-Howard (1983), Virginia Union (1984-91), Hampton (1992-07), Florida A&M (2008-12)
Winningest coach in Hampton history (74%), leading Pirates to four Black College National Championships…Led teams to 10 conference titles and 10 playoff appearances throughout career…Four-time MEAC Coach of the Year.