EAST LANSING, Mich. – Three former Michigan State All-Americans – wide receiver Kirk Gibson, running back Clinton Jones and running back Lorenzo White – along with former Spartan head coach Darryl Rogers are featured on the National Football Foundation’s 2014 (Football Bowl Subdivision) ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.
The ballot, mailed this week to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers, contains the names of 75 players and six coaches. Those votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF’s Honors Court, chaired by former Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner and NCAA President Gene Corrigan, which deliberates and selects the class. The 17-member NFF Honors Court includes an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletics directors, conference commissioners, Hall of Famers and media members.
The 2014 FBS Hall of Fame Class will be announced in May and then inducted at the NFF College Football Hall of Fame’s 57th Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 9 at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City.
To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been named First-Team All-American by a major/national selector as recognized and utilized by the NCAA for its consensus All-America teams; played their last year of intercollegiate football at least 10 years prior; played within the last 50 years and cannot be currently playing professional football. Coaches must have coached a minimum of 10 years and 100 games as a head coach; won at least 60 percent of their games; and be retired from coaching for at least three years. If a coach is retired and over the age of 70, there is no waiting period. If he is over the age of 75, he is eligible as an active coach. In both cases, the candidate’s post-football record as a citizen may also be weighed.
Once nominated for consideration, all player candidates are submitted to one of eight District Screening Committees, depending on their school’s geographic location, which conducts a vote to determine who will appear on the ballot and represent their respective districts. Each year, approximately 15 candidates, who are not selected for the Hall of Fame, will be named automatic holdovers and will bypass the district screening process and automatically appear on the ballot the following year. Additionally, the Veterans Committee may make recommendations to NFF Honors Court for exceptions that allow for the induction of players who played more than 50 years ago.
Below are bio sketches for the three former Spartans players and one former coach listed on the 2014 FBS ballot:
Kirk Gibson (WR, 6-2, 210, Waterford, Mich.): Four-year letterman played for both Denny Stolz (1975) and Darryl Rogers (1976-78) . . . earned First-Team All-Big Ten and First-Team All-
America honors as a senior while helping lead the Spartans to a share of the 1978 Big Ten championship . . . set career highs in receptions (42), receiving yards (806) and touchdown receptions (7) in 1978 . . . led team in receptions for three-straight seasons (1976-78) . . . led the Big Ten in receptions in conference games in both 1976 (30 for 486 yards and 4 TDs) and 1978 (31 for 613 yards and 5 TDs) . . . closed out his career as MSU’s all-time leader in receptions (112), receiving yards (2,347) and TD receptions (24) . . . his career 21.0 yards per catch still rank first on MSU’s all-time list . . . had seven career 100-yard receiving games . . . batted .268 with 255 home runs, 870 RBI and 284 stolen bases during a distinguished 17-year playing career in Major League Baseball, with the Detroit Tigers (1979-87, 1993-95), Los Angeles Dodgers (1988-90), Kansas City Royals (1991) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1992) . . . played an integral role on two World Championship teams (Detroit, 1984; Los Angeles, 1988) . . . selected National League MVP in 1988 after batting .290 with 25 home runs and 76 RBI for the Dodgers.
Clinton Jones (RB, 6-0, 210, Cleveland, Ohio): A three-year letterman from 1964-66 for legendary head coach Duffy Daugherty . . . accounted for 2,549 career all-purpose yards and 23 touchdowns . . . led the team in rushing and all-purpose yards in his final two seasons while helping the Spartans to a combined record of 19-1-1, including back-to-back Big Ten and National Championships in 1965 and ’66 . . . earned first-team All-Big Ten and first-team All-America honors from the Football Writers Association after rushing for 787 yards and 10 TDs as a junior in 1965 . . . also named recipient of the Joe Fogg Memorial Trophy, presented by the Cleveland Touchdown Club to the nation’s most outstanding college player in 1965 . . . finished second on the team in receptions with 26 for 308 yards (11.8 avg.) and two scores . . . ranked 13th nationally in scoring with 74 total points (12 TDs and one two-point conversion) . . . recorded three 100-yard rushing games in 1965, including a season-best 132 yards on 16 carries in MSU’s 32-7 victory over Ohio State . . . three weeks later tied the then-Big Ten single-game record with four rushing TDs in a 35-0 win at Iowa . . . rushed 20 times for 117 yards, including a 3-yard TD run, in MSU’s 12-3 victory at Notre Dame in the regular-season finale . . . . picked up 113 yards on 20 attempts in a 14-12 loss to fifth-ranked UCLA in the 1966 Rose Bowl . . . again earned first-team All-Big Ten honors en route to being named a consensus first-team All-American as a senior co-captain in 1966 . . . led the Spartans in rushing for the second year in a row, gaining 784 yards and scoring six rushing TDs . . . led the Big Ten in rushing in league games, picking up 593 yards . . . posted two 100-yard games in 1966, including a 129-yard effort on 19 carries in MSU’s 28-10 win over N.C. State in the season opener . . . Jones ran 21 times for a then-Big Ten single-game record 268 yards and three TDs in MSU’s 56-7 victory over Iowa . . . scored on runs of 79, 70 and 2 yards against the Hawkeyes and was selected United Press International’s Midwest Back of the Week . . . closed out his career as MSU’s second all-time leading rusher with 1,921 yards, trailing only Lynn Chandnois (2,103 career rushing yards) . . . still ranks among the school’s all-time Top 20 in carries (16th with 396), rushing yards (16th) and rushing TDs (tied for 16th with 20) . . . had 33 career receptions for 408 yards (12.4 avg.) and three scores . . . selected No. 2 overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1967 National Football League Draft (behind teammate Charles “Bubba” Smith, who went No. 1 to the Baltimore Colts) . . . spent seven seasons in the NFL, including six years in Minnesota (1967-72) and one season in San Diego (1973) . . . his nine rushing TDs in 1970 ranked second in the league . . . accounted for 5,035 career all-purpose yards and 21 TDs as a pro, including 2,178 rushing yards and 20 scores.
Lorenzo White (RB, 5-11, 211, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): Four-year letterman for Coach George Perles (1984-87) . . . helped MSU to a combined record of 28-18-1 during his career, including three postseason bowl appearances . . . led the Spartans to the 1987 Big Ten Championship and a 20-17 victory over USC in the 1988 Rose Bowl . . . became first player in school history to lead the team in rushing for four-straight years . . . two-time First-Team All-American (1985 and 1987) . . . also finished fourth in Heisman Trophy balloting twice (1985 and 1987) . . . two-time First-Team All-Big Ten selection (1985 and 1987) . . . led NCAA FBS with 1,908 rushing yards in 1985 (regular-season games only) . . . produced some of the top single-season totals in NCAA FBS history in 1985 (No. 21 at 173.5 rushing yards per game; No. 24 with 1,908 rushing yards) . . . still holds NCAA FBS record for most rushes in two consecutive games (102 in 1985: 53 vs. Purdue and 49 vs. Minnesota) . . . rushed for a school- and then-Big Ten record 2,066 yards and 17 touchdowns as a sophomore in 1985, with 11 100-yard rushing games including four 200-yard games . . . ran for 1,572 yards and 16 TDs as a senior in 1987, including seven 100-yard games . . . set career highs with 56 carries for 292 yards as MSU clinched the 1987 Big Ten title with a 27-3 win over Indiana . . . still ranks as MSU’s all-time leader in rushing attempts (1,082), rushing yards (4,887), rushing TDs (43) and 100-yard rushing games (23) . . . his 4,887 career rushing yards still rank sixth in Big Ten history . . . selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (No. 22 overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft . . . 1992 Pro Bowl selection . . . had 1,062 career carries for 4,242 yards and 30 TDs in eight pro seasons (Houston Oilers, 1988-94; Cleveland Browns, 1995).
Darryl Rogers (Head Coach; Michigan State, 1976-79): Guided the Spartans to a 24-18-2 record (.568) in four years as head coach at Michigan State from 1976-79 and coached three first-team All-Americans (wide receiver Kirk Gibson, tight end Mark Brammer and punter Ray Stachowicz) . . . led the Spartans to the 1978 Big Ten championship, claiming the school’s fourth conference title . . . honored as the 1978 Big Ten Coach of the Year after the Spartans closed the championship season on a seven-game winning streak, which started with a 24-15 victory at Michigan, to finish the year 8-3 overall and 7-1 in the Big Ten . . . 1978 team featured one of the top offenses in school history, setting MSU single-season records for points scored (411) and scoring average (37.4 points per game) . . . spent 20 seasons as a college head coach (Cal State Hayward, 1965; Fresno State, 1966-72; San Jose State, 1973-75; Michigan State, 1976-79; Arizona State, 1980-84).
Michigan State has seven former players and four former coaches already enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. The most recent inductee is Percy Snow, who was one of 12 players and two coaches named to the 2013 Class. Snow, a two-time First-Team All-American and three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, led the Spartans in tackles for three consecutive seasons from 1987-89. In 1989, he became first player in college football history to win both the Butkus Award (top linebacker) and the Lombardi Award (top lineman) in the same season.