October 26, 2016 (Atlanta, GA) – The Black College Football Hall of Fame (BCFHOF) announced its Class of 2017 today. Six inductees were selected from a list of 25 Finalists who had been determined earlier by the BCFHOF Selection Committee.
The Class of 2017 includes Parnell “Paydirt” Dickinson (Mississippi Valley State), Harold “Sunny” Jackson (Jackson State), Gary “Big Hands” Johnson (Grambling State), Robert Porcher (South Carolina State, Tennessee State), Isiah “Butch” Robertson (Southern) as player inductees and Coach Billy Joe (Cheyney, Central State, Florida A&M, Miles College).
“This class is another representation of the immense football talent that has played at historically black colleges and universities,” said BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2012 Inductee James “Shack” Harris. “All five players were college All-Americans, and three were first round NFL draft picks.”
Votes were tallied from the 12-member Selection Committee, comprised of prominent journalists, commentators and historians, as well as former NFL General Managers and executives, and from previous BCFHOF inductees to determine the Inductees.
The Class of 2017 will be honored at the Eighth Annual Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Presented by the Atlanta Falcons on February 25, 2017. The Induction Ceremony takes place at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Inductees will also be recognized at the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta on December 17th. For more information please visit www.BlackCollegeFootballHOF.org.
PARNELL “PAYDIRT” DICKINSON (Player)
Quarterback … Mississippi Valley State University (1972-1975) … Led the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in total offense three seasons … NAIA All-Star Team (1972) … Two-time Black College All-American … SWAC Hall of Fame (Inaugural Class) … Selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 7th round (1976 NFL Draft) … Buccaneers (1976-1977) … New England Patriots (1978) … Born March 14, 1953 in Brighton, Alabama.
HAROLD “SUNNY” JACKSON (Player)
Wide Receiver … Jackson State University (1964-1967) … Two-time First Team All-SWAC … Led the SWAC in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns two different seasons … Selected by the Los Angeles Rams in 12th round of the 1968 NFL Draft … Spent 16 seasons in the NFL with five different teams (Rams, Eagles, Patriots, Vikings, Seahawks) … Five-time Pro Bowl Selection … First Team All-Pro (1973) … Twice led NFL in receiving yards … Retired with 10,372 receiving yards, second most in NFL history at the time … Born January 6, 1946 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
GARY “BIG HANDS” JOHNSON (Player)
Defensive Lineman … Grambling State University (1971-1974) … Selected by the San Diego Chargers with the eighth overall pick in the 1975 NFL Draft … Chargers (1975-1983) … San Francisco 49ers (1984-1985) … 11 seasons … NFL All-Rookie Team (1975) … Four Pro Bowl selections … Two-time All-Pro (1980, 1981) … Super Bowl Champion (1984) … San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame … College Football Hall of Fame … Born August 31, 1952 in Shreveport, Louisiana … Died August 4, 2010.
ROBERT PORCHER (Player)
Defensive Lineman … Tennessee State University (1988-1989) and South Carolina State University (1990-1991) … Selected by the Detroit Lions in 1st round, 26th overall pick (1992 NFL Draft) … Lions (1992-2004) … 13 seasons … Three-time Pro Bowl selection … Three-time First Team All-Pro (1997, 1999, 2001) … Detroit Lions all-time leader in sacks (95.5) … Detroit Lions Annual Man of the Year Award is named in honor of Porcher … Born July 30, 1960 in Wando, South Carolina.
ISIAH “BUTCH” ROBERTSON (Player)
Linebacker … Southern University (1967-1970) … As a senior, was selected All-American by The Sporting News, Associated Press and TIME Magazine … Selected by the Los Angeles Rams in 1st round, 10th overall pick (1971 NFL Draft) … Rams (1971-1978) … Buffalo Bills (1979-1982) … 12 seasons … NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (1971) … Six Pro Bowl selections … Four-time All-Pro (1973-1976) … Was one of the NFL's fastest linebackers, running a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash … Born August 17, 1949 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
BILLY JOE (Coach)
Cheyney University (1972-1978), Central State University (1981-1993), Florida A&M University (1994-2004) and Miles College (2007-2010) … Won five consecutive Black college football national championships (1986-1990) … Won two NAIA National Football Championships (1990, 1992) … Finished coaching career with 243 wins, second only to Eddie Robinson among coaches at black colleges … College Football Hall of Fame inductee (2007) … As a player, was 1963 AFL Rookie of the Year with the Denver Broncos … Born October 14, 1940 in Aynor, South Carolina.