FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marques Fitch
Black College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012 Announced
Priority Payment Systems Third Annual Enshrinement Ceremony
to be Held February 18, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia
October 21, 2011 (Atlanta, GA) – Today the Black College Football Hall of Fame announced
the Class of 2012. The newest members were selected from a list of 35 finalists who had been
determined earlier by the Black College Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
The inductees will be honored February 18, 2012 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis during the
Priority Payment Systems Third Annual Enshrinement Ceremony.
Black College Football Hall of Fame - Class of 2012
The Black College Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee is comprised of journalists,
historians and former football executives from around the country. The committee includes
Ernie Accorsi, Charles Bailey, Gil Brandt, Charles Garcia, Donald Hunt, Mike Hurd, Ty
Miller, Roscoe Nance, Charlie Neal and Lloyd Vance.
The Black College Football Hall of Fame was established in October of 2009 to honor the
greatest football players and coaches from Historically Black Colleges and Universities
(HBCUs). Previous inductees include greats such as Lem Barney, Mel Blount, Buck
Buchanan, Willie Davis, “Bullet” Bob Hayes, Deacon Jones, Walter Payton, Eddie G.
Robinson, Jerry Rice, Art Shell, Doug Williams and Paul “Tank” Younger. This year, nine
players, one coach and one contributor will be inducted into the Black College Football Hall of
About the Player Inductees
Willie Brown, DB
Brown lettered all four years at split end and outside linebacker
during his time at Grambling. He was a member of Coach Eddie
Robinson’s first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC)
championship team in 1960. Although undrafted out of college, he
would retire the only NFL player to intercept at least one pass in
16 consecutive seasons. During his 12 years with the Oakland
Raiders, he played in three AFL and six AFC championship
games, as well as Super Bowls II and XI. He is still considered
among the premier cornerbacks of all time. Finishing his career
with 54 interceptions, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall
of Fame in 1984.
Harry Carson, LB
Carson played for Coach Willie Jeffries at South Carolina State
University from 1972–1975 and did not miss a single game in four
years. He became the first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
(MEAC) player to win consecutive Defensive Player of the Year
honors, and assisted SC State to consecutive conference
championships. In 1975, he set school records with 117 tackles and
17 sacks. With Carson as their captain, the Bulldogs defense
recorded six shutouts in 1975, and held their opponents to just 29
points, an NCAA record for a ten game season. Carson was drafted
in the fourth round of the 1976 NFL Draft by the Giants. He spent
all of his 13 seasons with them, leading the team in tackles for five
seasons, and was their captain for ten. Carson retired at the end of
the 1988 season, and was elected into the Pro Football Hall of
Fame in 2006.
Eldridge Dickey, QB
Dickey was a three time HBCU All-American at Tennessee State
University. He completed his collegiate career with 6,523 passing
yards and 67 touchdowns. Dickey was considered a gifted athlete
with his strongest positions being quarterback and punter. He was
also able to throw precision passes with both his left and right arm.
With Dickey under center, the 1966 TSU team earned their first
undefeated, untied season and their first National Black College
Football Championship. In 1968, Dickey was drafted in the first
round by the Oakland Raiders
James “Shack” Harris, QB
With Harris at Quarterback, Grambling won or shared all four
Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) titles. He was named
MVP of the 1967 Orange Blossom Classic. As a senior, Harris
passed for 1,972 yards and 21 touchdowns on only 225 attempts.
In three years as Grambling’s starting quarterback, he led the
Tigers to a 24-5-1 record. He went on to be drafted by the Buffalo
Bills, and became the first black player to start a season at
quarterback. In 1974, he led the Los Angeles Rams to an NFC
Western Division title and their first playoff victory since 1951.
Harris then became the first African-American quarterback to start
a conference championship game. Harris was named to the NFC
Pro Bowl team in 1974 and was awarded MVP of that game.
Claude Humphrey, DE
Humphrey was an All-American lineman at Tennessee State
University under Coach John Merritt. Humphrey helped lead the
Big Blue Tigers to a 35-3-1 record from 1965 to 1967. The 1967
team won the national championship for HBCU’s. Humphrey was
drafted out of Tennessee State in the first round of the 1968 NFL
Draft with the third overall choice by the Falcons. Humphrey was
named to the Pro Bowl six times over the span of his career. He
finished his career with 126½ career sacks with the Falcons and
Steve McNair, QB
McNair had many standout seasons with Alcorn State University.
In 1992, he threw for 3,541 yards and 29 touchdowns, and rushed
for 10 more scores. In 1993, the Braves upped their record to 8–3
while McNair threw for more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns.
He was also named First-Team All-SWAC for the third year in a
row. In his senior season, McNair gained nearly 6,000 yards
rushing and passing, along with 53 touchdowns. In the process, he
surpassed more than a dozen records and was named an All-
American. In addition, McNair won the Walter Payton Award as
the top I-AA player and finished third in the Heisman Trophy
voting. He set career records for the Football Championship Series
with 14,496 passing yards, as well as the division record for total
offensive yards with 16,283 career yards, a record that still stands.
He was drafted by the Houston Oilers with the third overall pick in
the 1995 NFL Draft and become a full time starter for ten years,
leading his Tennessee Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV.
Willie “Wonderful Willie” Richardson, WR
Richardson became one of the most honored players in the great
history of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).
Richardson was a four-time member of the Pittsburgh Courier
Black All-America team. In addition, he was a three-time All-
SWAC performer and a two-time NAIA All-America. In his final
two seasons, he led Jackson State to a SWAC title and a Black
College National Championship. Richardson caught 171 passes for
36 touchdowns and played safety on defense. In the pros,
Richardson was a seventh round selection by the Baltimore Colts.
With the Colts and Dolphins, Richardson played eight seasons,
catching 195 passes for 25 touchdowns.
Sample was standout at Maryland State College. In 1957, playing
offense and defense, he was selected to the Little All-American
Team by the Pittsburgh Courier and to the All-Central
Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Team. During his
college career, he led the Hawks to an overall record of 28 wins, 1
loss and 1 tie, while averaging 21.6 points per game. In addition,
they won two CIAA championships, in 1955 and 1957. He was the
first player from an HBCU to be selected to play in the nationally
recognized College All-Star Game. He is the only professional
football player to have won all three: an NFL, AFL and Super
Bowl Championship. Sample finished his 11 professional football
seasons with 41 interceptions, which he returned for 460 yards and
four touchdowns. He also recovered 13 fumbles, returning them
for 61 yards. On special teams, he returned 68 punts for 559 yards
and a touchdown, along with 60 kickoffs for 1,560 yards and a
touchdown. Sample led the NFL in punt return yards in 1961.
Rayfield “Big Cat” Wright, OL
Wright was known as a great athlete for his size. After being a
standout at Fort Valley State, Wright would be drafted by the
Dallas Cowboys in 1967 as a tight end. After three years of playing
tight end, Wright would play 166 games starting at right tackle and
play in six NFC Championship games and five Super Bowls,
winning two of them (Super Bowl VI and Super Bowl XII). He
anchored the line for an offense that finished in the top 10 in
scoring all 10 seasons in the 1970s, while helping pave the way for
the first five 1,000-yard rushers in Dallas Cowboys history. Wright
played at a time when the right tackle was the most important spot
on the offensive line, and was usually paired against the opponent's
best pass rusher. Wright broke the mold for men his size. He was
inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2006.
About the Coach
Cleve Abbott, Head Coach
Abbott was the eighth head football coach for the Tuskegee University
Golden Tigers located in Tuskegee, Alabama and he held that position for
32 seasons, from 1923 until 1954. His football coaching record at
Tuskegee, where he was also a Hall of Fame track coach, was 202 wins,
97 losses and 27 ties. This ranks him first at the school in total wins and
fifth in winning percentage (.661). The football stadium at Tuskegee bears
About the Contributor
Jackie Graves, NFL Scout
A former director of personnel and scout for the Philadelphia Eagles,
Graves made a huge impact on Black College Football. Graves was a
pioneer in bringing qualified players from the HBCU system to the
professional ranks. He was recently selected to the Ourlads’ Scout Hall of
The Black College Football Hall of Fame is sponsored by The Shack Harris & Doug Williams
Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization. For more information visit