Dozier, Collins, And Steve Wisniewski Among Players On College Football Hall Of Fame Ballot
The National Football Foundation announced its ballot for the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame class earlier Wednesday afternoon. Three Penn State football legends — Kerry Collins, D.J. Dozier, and Steve Wisniewski — were included among the 75 former FBS standouts named to the list, earning them the opportunity to potentially join the 22 former players and coaches from Penn State already recognized with this prestigious honor.
This is the third time Dozier and Wisniewski have seen their names on the ballot.
Running back D.J. Dozier, who played from 1983-86, is the oldest Nittany Lion on the ballot. He burst onto the national spotlight after rushing for 1,002 yards and seven touchdowns during his freshman season in ’83, setting a school freshman all-time rushing mark that would stand until Saquon Barkley eclipsed the record in 2015. While talented, Dozier’s freshman season would remain his best statistical season until his senior season in 1986 where he rushed for 811 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns while adding two scores as a pass-catcher. Dozier played for two of the most successful teams in the school’s illustrious history, finishing his career as a two-time National Champion after capturing the title in ’83 and ’86. He was named a First Team All-American in his final season.
Dozier would finish his senior season No. 8 in Heisman Trophy voting, and was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings No. 14 overall in the 1987 NFL Draft. Though his NFL career only lasted until 1991, his remarkable athleticism allowed him to join the likes of Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson as a two-sport professional athlete after signing with the New York Mets in 1990. Though he didn’t juggle both sports simultaneously, Dozier would earn his Major League call-up in 1992. He finished his career on the diamond with a .192 batting average.
Quarterback Kerry Collins is widely recognized as one of the best signal callers to ever suit up for the Nittany Lions. Collins, who finished his career with 5,304 yards, 39 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions. He broke numerous passing records during his time in Happy Valley, leaving with six major marks under his belt. Collins was a consensus First Team All-American in 1994, winning the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien awards before being drafted No. 5 overall by the then-expansion Carolina Panthers in the 1995 NFL Draft. He would play for six teams in total, and experienced success late in his career during an unanticipated return to prominence in 2008 with the Tennessee Titans. Though the Titans would fail to reach the Super Bowl, Collins steered the team to a 13-3 record in relief of Texas legend Vince Young while earning a his second career Pro Bowl Berth.
Wisniewski was a standout on Penn State’s offensive line in the late ’80s, serving as a key cog to the team’s National Championship run in 1986. He helped D.J. Dozier become an All-American before going on to play 13 seasons with the Raiders in the NFL.
The 2017 class will be announced on Jan. 6, 2017 before the College Football Playoff National Championship in Tampa, and will then be inducted into the Hall on Dec. 5, 2017.