Fourteen HBCU players head NFL Hall of Fame nominee list

By Off the BASN Sports Wire
Updated: October 23, 2004

Richard Dent

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The National Football League has announced a list of 89 former greats nominated for possible enshrinement in the Hall of Fame next summer, a list which includes 14 former greats from HBCUs.

Florida A&M, Grambling and Tennessee State each had three former players named on Thursday. South Carolina State had two, while Jackson State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff had one apiece.

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The former Rattler trio includes: Henry “Killer” Lawrence, All-Pro offensive tackle, Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders (1974-86); Nathaniel “Nate” Newton, All-Pro guard, Dallas (1986-98) and Carolina (1999) and Kenneth “Ken” Riley, a stellar defensive for Cincinnati (1969-83), who finished with 65 career interceptions.

Tennessee State’s group included: Claude Humphrey (Atlanta, 1968-74, 1976-78; Philadelphia, 1979-81), Richard Dent (Chicago, 1983-93, 1995; San Francisco, 1994; Indianapolis, 1996; Philadelphia, 1997) and Ed “Too Tall” Jones (Dallas, 1974-1978, 1980-1989)

Grambling’s trio featured CB Everson Walls (Dallas, 1981-1989; New York Giants, 1990-1992; Cleveland, 1992-1993), QB Doug Williams (Tampa, 1978-1982; Washington, 1986-89) and CB Albert Lewis (Kansas City, 1983-1993; Los/Angeles/Oakland, 1994-1998) South Carolina State’s duo included: LB Harry Carson (New York Giants, 1976-1988) and DB Donnie Shell (Pittsburgh, 1974-87).

The remaining trio of Hall of Fame prospects with HBCU roots were Southern University TE Harold Carmichael (Philadelphia, 1971-83), Arkansas-Pine Bluff DT L.C. Greenwood (Pittsburgh, 1969-81) and Jackson State OT Leon Gray (New England, 1973-78; Houston Oilers, 1979-81; New Orleans, 1982-83)

Among the 14 HBCU graduates nominated for possible Hall of Fame induction are two Super Bowl MVPs; Tennessee State’s Richard Dent (Chicago) and Grambling’s Doug Williams (Washington).

From the initial group of 89, 25 persons will be selected as semifinalists in late November.

That group of 25 modern-era players will be reduced by mail ballot to 13 prior to the Super Bowl, and will then be added to the two Senior Committee nominees to form a 15-person ballot.

The final selection of the 2005 NFL Hall of Fame Class will be made on Saturday, February 5, 2005 in Jacksonville, Fla., at meeting of the Hall of Fame Committee the day before the Super Bowl.

The 2005 Class will be announced at a press conference immediately following the voting, with anywhere from three to six players traditionally selected on an annual basis.