Former McNeese State DB Selected for College Football Hall of Fame

first_imgCoaches to be inducted are Mike Bellotti of Chico State and Oregon, and Jerry Moore of North Texas, Texas Tech and Appalachian State. Their accomplishments will be forever immortalized in the new $66.5 million College Football Hall of Fame, currently under construction in Atlanta and scheduled to open in August of 2014. He remains the school and conference record holder with 17 career blocked kicks (punts, field goals, PATs) and led the NCAA in that category in both the 1980 and 1981 seasons.  His four blocked field goals in 1981 and 10 career blocked field goals as well as 17 combined career blocked kicks, continues to hold the top spot in the NCAA record book.  Other players that will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014 include Dre Bly, defensive back from North Carolina; Tony Boselli, offensive tackle from USC; Dave Butz, defensive tackle from Purdue; Shane Conlan, linebacker from Penn State; Joe Hamilton, quarterback from Georgia Tech; John Huard, linebacker from Maine; Darrin Nelson, halfback from Stanford; Willie Road, offensive lineman from Louisiana Tech; John Sciarra, quarterback from UCLA; Sterling Sharpe, wide receiver from South Carolina; Derrick Thomas (deceased), linebacker from Alabama; and Wesley Walls, tight end from Mississippi. Smith joins Fred Dean of Louisiana Tech (1971-74) as the only two players from the Southland Conference to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Dean was a member of the 2012 class. “We are extremely proud to announce the 2014 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Ole Miss. “Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments at the new Hall of Fame in Atlanta as an inspiration to future generations.” In 1988, Smith signed on with the Buffalo Bills where he helped lead the team to four straight AFC East Division titles (1988, 89, 90, 91), two AFC championships (1990, 1991), and played in two Super Bowls (XXV and XXVI). He helped lead the Cowboys to the 1980 Southland Conference championship and played in the Independence Bowl, a 16-14 loss to Southern Mississippi.  He was a freshman on the 1979 undefeated team that won the league title, but did not letter.  He was named the Cowboys’ MVP in 1982 and was inducted into the McNeese Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. Smith was drafted in the first round as the 17th pick in the 1983 NFL Draft by the then-St. Louis Cardinals and would earn All-Pro recognition in 1986.  His draft selection continues to rank as the highest pick in Southland Conference history and only matched by John Stephens of Northwestern State in the 1988 draft.center_img The 2014 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be inducted together at the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 9, 2014, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The inductees will also be honored at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 1, 2015, and they will be recognized at their respective collegiate institutions with on-campus salutes during the fall. Smith, a 1982 Associated Press All-American, was a nine-year NFL veteran, a career that included an All-Pro selection in 1986. He is the highest NFL Draft selection in school and conference history (17th overall pick, 1st round in 1983). “Combining the inductees into one class allows us to create a unified platform for honoring the game’s greatest legends,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “The change completes the process that we began in 1996, creating a cohesive process for what it means to be a Hall of Famer. We are grateful for the guidance, knowledge and vision of honors court chairmen Gene Corrigan (FBS) and Jack Lengyel (divisional) for making the change possible and the essential role that they play each in selecting the inductees.” For the first time in the history of the organization, the NFF has combined the inductees from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Division II, Division III and the NAIA into one class. In 1996, the NFF started formally inducting players from the divisional ranks. College Football Hall of Fame coach Eddie Robinson called the change one of the best things to ever happen in college football at the time, and the change has proven to be extremely successful during the past 18 years with the 144 divisional inductees.  IRVING, Texas – Leonard Smith, a two-time first team All-Southland Conference defensive back and member of the conference’s all-time football team, has selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame with the class of 2014, the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Thursday. Smith joins 13 other First Team All-America players and two legendary coaches.  The inductees were selected from the national ballot of 75 All-America players and six elite coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and the 87 players and 26 coaches from the divisional ranks, including the Football Championship Subdivision. A native of Baton Rouge and product of Lee High School, Smith played for the Cowboys from 1980-82 and earned first team all-conference honors in 1981 and 1982.  In 1982, he was named the Southland and Louisiana Defensive Player of the Year as well as picking up first team Associated Press All-America honors.last_img

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