’09 College Grid HOF Class Announced

By Tony McClean
Updated: May 16, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — An HBCU standout from the 1950′s and a fan favorite from both the USFL and NFL make up the 2009 Divisional College Football Hall of Fame Class, which considers players and coaches from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA), Divisions II, III, and the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) for induction.

This year’s class will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame during the Enshrinement Festival, July 18-19, in South Bend, Indiana. The class includes:

ROGER BROWN University of Maryland-Eastern Shore Defensive Tackle, 1956-59

Smith is a member of the Missouri Southern Athletics Hall of Fame, the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and the Division II Football Hall of Fame. He resides in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.

A two-sport standout at Maryland-Eastern Shore (formerly Maryland State College), Roger Brown anchored the Hawks defensive line that held its opponents to 7.3 points per game over his four-year career.

Brown led the Hawks to the CIAA title in 1957 and was twice named an NAIA All-American in 1958 and 1959. A two-time Pittsburgh Courier Negro All-American selection, the Hawks posted a 24-5-1 record and outscored their opponents 693 to 213 during his career.

Drafted in the fourth round by the Detroit Lions in 1960, Brown was named the 1962 National Football League Pro Lineman of the Year and was selected to the Pro Bowl six times. Brown played six seasons with the Lions before being traded to the Los Angeles Rams in 1967 and becoming a member of the Ram’s “Fearsome Foursome”.

Brown currently resides in Portsmouth, Va. where he runs “Roger Brown’s Restaurant and Sports Bar”. He is a member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

FRED DEAN Louisiana Tech University Defensive Tackle, 1971-74

A four-time All-Southland Conference selection, Fred Dean led Louisiana Tech to the 1973 Division II National Championship and four consecutive Southland Conference titles.

Dean, who accumulated 392 tackles during his career, led the Bulldogs to a win in the 1972 Grantland Rice Bowl and was an All-American selection in 1974. A two-time Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year honoree, the Bulldogs posted a record of 44-4 during his career.

Drafted in the second round by the San Diego Chargers in the 1975 NFL Draft, Dean later joined the San Francisco 49ers early in the 1981 season. While with the 49ers, Dean won two Super Bowls and was named UPI NFC Player of the Year in 1981. During his career, he was named to four Pro Bowls (1980-82, 1984) and was a two-time All-Pro selection (1980- 81).

In 2008, Dean was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He currently serves as a pastor at New Hebron Baptist Church in Arcadia, La.

SAM MILLS, JR.* Montclair State University (N.J.) Linebacker, 1977-80

A two-time First Team All-American (1979-80), Mills finished his career at Montclair State with a school- record 501 tackles.

Mills, a three-time New Jersey Athletic Conference First Team All-Star, was named the New Jersey Collegiate Writers Defensive Player of the Year three straight seasons from 1978 to 1980. A four-year letterman, Mills finished his career with three school records including career tackles (501), tackles in a season (142) and tackles in a game (22). While at MSU, his teams posted a 30-9-1 record and captured two New Jersey Athletic Conference Championships.

After spending three years playing for the Philadelphia Stars in the USFL, Mills followed head coach Jim Mora to the New Orleans Saints and played an integral part in the vaunted “Dome Patrol” linebacking crew for nine seasons. Mills signed with the Carolina Panthers as a free agent in 1994. He led the franchise to an NFC Championship berth in only its second season and was named to the Pro Bowl five times.

Diagnosed with cancer in 2003, Mills founded the “Keep Pounding” Foundation at the Carolina Medical Center to advance cancer research in North Carolina. He passed away in 2005 at age 45, and is survived by his wife Melanie and their four children, who reside in Manalapan, N.J. A statue was built in his memory outside Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers.

*-Deceased

ROD SMITH Missouri Southern State University Wide Receiver, 1988, 1990-93

Picked up by the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 1994, Smith leads all undrafted free agents in NFL history in every major career-receiving category. During his career with the Broncos, Smith set franchise records for career receptions (849), receiving yards (11,389), touchdown receptions (68) and overall touchdowns (71). The Broncos won two Super Bowls during Smith’s tenure with the club and he retired prior to the 2008 season.

The only player in Missouri Southern State history to have his number retired, Rod Smith set six school records during his college career with the Lions.

A two-time All-MIAA selection, Smith set five conference records by the conclusion of his collegiate career including most receiving yards in a game (254), receiving touchdowns in a game (4), average yards per catch (24.0), career receiving yards (3,122) and career touchdowns (35). In 1993, Smith led the Lions to the MIAA Conference Championship en route to being named a Harlon Hill finalist and a First Team All-American. Smith graduated with three degrees and was named Missouri Southern’s Outstanding Graduate.