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UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - Penn State national award winner and first-team All-America quarterback Kerry Collins has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame as part of the 2018 class. Collins will be inducted to the Hall of Fame December 4, 2018 at the 61st National Football Foundation (NFF) Annual Awards Dinner in New York City.
Collins and the 13 inductees (10 players, 3 coaches) will also be recognized at their respective collegiate institutions with NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the fall. Their accomplishments will be forever immortalized at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
Collins is the 25th member (19 players, 6 coaches) of the Penn State football family to be elected to the College Hall of Fame. Linebacker Shane Conlan was the most recent player inductee in 2014, while former Nittany Lion player Bill Bowes was enshrined into the Hall of Fame as the University of New Hampshire head coach in 2016.
“I am extremely honored to be included in the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018,” Collins said. “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. My years at Penn State were special, and I am eternally grateful for the support and guidance I received there as a student-athlete. I would like to congratulate the other members of this year's class, and to also thank the National Football Foundation for the privilege of joining the long list of Nittany Lions previously inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.”
“We couldn’t be happier for Kerry on being elected into the College Football Hall of Fame,” said head coach James Franklin. “It is a well-deserved honor for a guy whose contributions to Penn State will never be forgotten, including the memorable undefeated season and Rose Bowl win in 1994. He furthered his Penn State legacy with an outstanding NFL career and a history of giving back. Kerry is a true Penn Stater in every sense of the word.”
"We are ecstatic that Kerry Collins and his outstanding career will be recognized with his induction in the College Football Hall of Fame," said Sandy Barbour, Penn State Director of Athletics. "Kerry was a great representative of the University. He was instrumental as we transitioned to the Big Ten Conference, directing one of the most prolific offenses in college football history during our undefeated Big Ten and Rose Bowl Championship season in 1994. Kerry has earned numerous professional accomplishments in football and has made many contributions to his community. We are thrilled with his well-deserved election to the Hall of Fame, earning the ultimate honor in college football."
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.
Instrumental in Penn State Becoming Big Ten’s First 12-0 Team in 1994
A native of West Lawn, Pennsylvania, Collins started every game in leading Penn State to the 1994 Big Ten Championship in its second year in the conference. 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 rankings 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 Nittany Lions led the nation in scoring (47.8 ppg) and total offense (520.2 ypg) and also led the Big Ten in rushing (250.9; 6th nationally) and passing offense (269.3 ypg; 12th nationally). The 1994 offense broke 14 school season records and seven Big Ten season marks for: points scored (526), touchdowns (71), points per game for all games (47.8 ppg), points per game for conference games (48.1 ppg), total offense (5,722 yards), total offense per game (520.2 ypg) and yards gained per play (7.64 ypp). All seven also were Penn State season records (bowl game statistics did not count in season stats). Penn State’s 48.1 ppg during its 8-0 conference slate in 1994 remains a Big Ten record.
“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 Nittany Lions’ offensive coordinator from 1984-2003 and a member of the coaching staff for 33 years. “A group that included (five) first-round draft picks, All-Americans and future NFL players looked to him for leadership, and did he ever deliver. In addition to his great physical talents, Kerry managed to keep a group of superstars selfless, humble and unified in their goal to go undefeated during our historic 1994 season. He was an inspiration to his teammates in the way he prepared and the way he practiced. He possessed great character, was a terrific competitor, really tough, really smart and carried an air of poise and confidence no matter what the situation.
Players like Kerry Collins don't come along very often,” Ganter added. “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.”
Recipient of Maxwell and Davey O’Brien Awards and Big Ten Silver Football
Recipient of the 1994 Chicago Tribune-Big Ten Silver Football (Big Ten MVP), Collins was 176-of-274 (66.7) for 2,679 yards, with 21 touchdown passes and seven interceptions during his senior season (regular season games). 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), yards per pass attempt (10.15 ypa), touchdown passes in consecutive games (all 11 regular season games), consecutive passes completed (14 at Minnesota en route to 19-of-23, 260 yds., 3 TD), 200-yard passing games (9 of 11) and total offense (2,660). He still holds the season records for completion percentage, yards per attempt and pass effieciency.
Also selected the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award recipient, Collins led the Big Ten in passing yardage, passing efficiency and total offense in 1994. His 172.86 pass efficiency rating was No. 4 all-time after the 1994 season and still ranks No. 3 in a season in Big Ten history.
In addition to winning the 1994 Maxwell and O’Brien Awards, Collins was fourth in Heisman Trophy voting (teammate Ki-Jana Carter was second). He also was the Chevrolet Offensive Player of the Year, the United Press International Back of the Year, a finalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year and was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Big Ten.
As a junior in 1993, Collins started the last nine games and led Penn State to wins in its last five contests (three over ranked teams) to finish 10-2 during its inaugural Big Ten season. The Nittany Lions defeated No. 8 Tennessee, 31-13, in the Citrus Bowl and earned the final No. 8 ranking by AP to set the table for a sensational 1994 for Collins and Penn State.
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. Collins had a career long completion of 82 yards to Freddie Scott in a 55-27 win over Rutgers during his senior season.
Succeeding at the Next Level
The expansion Carolina Panthers selected Collins with the No. 5 overall pick in the first round of 1995 NFL Draft to launch a prolific 17-year NFL career. Collins played with Carolina (1995-98), New Orleans Saints (1998), New York Giants (1999-2003), Oakland Raiders (2004-05), Tennessee Titans (2006-10) and the Indianapolis Colts (2011) before retiring. A two-time Pro Bowl selection, he led three different NFL teams to division championships and defeated 31-of-31 NFL teams at least once in his career.
A three-sport standout at Wilson-West Lawn High School, Collins has donated more than $2 million to a variety of charitable organizations since starting his professional career in 1995, including the NYU Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation, the K.C. For Kids Fund within the Kerry Collins Foundation, the Ladder5/Engine 24 Family Relief Fund and the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. He also endowed the Penn State quarterback position with a gift of $250,000.
About the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include Football Matters®, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy® presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.
Penn State season ticket renewals and Nittany Lion Club membership renewals also are underway for the 2018 Penn State Football season presented by PSECU. The ticket invoice and Nittany Lion Club renewal deadline is Feb. 1, 2018. For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing new 2018 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.PSUnrivaled.com, call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office weekdays from 10 a.m-6 p.m.
More than 2,300 new season tickets have already been sold for the 2018 campaign.