National Football Foundation Announces 2008 FBS Hall-of-Fame Class

May 1, 2008 by CFP Staff and National Football Foundation

From the national ballot of 75 candidates and a pool of hundreds of eligible nominees, Archie Manning, chairman of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, announced the 2008 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) Class, which includes the names of 13 First Team All-America players and two legendary coaches.

JIM DOMBROWSKI OT Virginia 1982-85
PAT FITZGERALD LB Northwestern 1994-96
WILBER MARSHALL LB Florida 1980-83
RUEBEN MAYES RB Washington State 1982-85
RANDALL McDANIEL OG Arizona State 1984-87
DON McPHERSON QB Syracuse 1984-87
JAY NOVACEK TE Wyoming 1982-84
DAVE PARKS SE Texas Tech 1961-63
RON SIMMONS NG Florida State 1977-80
THURMAN THOMAS RB Oklahoma State 1984-87


Arizona State
Ohio State
LOU HOLTZ William & Mary
N.C. State
Notre Dame
South Carolina

"I want to commend the NFF Honors Court and its Chairman Gene Corrigan for their hard work," said Manning. "The 2008 class represents six decades of football's finest athletes, and they are all exceptionally worthy of having their accomplishments preserved forever in the College Football Hall of Fame."

The 2008 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Class will be inducted at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December 9, 2008, at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. They will be officially enshrined at the Hall in South Bend, Ind., during ceremonies in the summer of 2009.



One Heisman Trophy winner (Cannon)
Three players who placed in the Top Three in Heisman Trophy voting (Cannon – 1st and 3rd, McPherson – 2nd, Aikman – 3rd)
Nine consensus First Team All-Americas (Aikman, Cannon, Fitzgerald, Marshall, Mayes, McDaniel, Novacek, Simmons, Thomas)
Three unanimous First Team All-Americas (Cannon, Dombrowski, McPherson)
Four multiple-year First Team All-America honorees (Cannon – 2, Fitzgerald – 2, Marshall – 2, Simmons – 2)
One Maxwell Award winners (McPherson)
One Walter Camp Player of the Year (Cannon)
One Sullivan Award winner (Tucker)
Two Davey O'Brien Award winners (Aikman, McPherson)
One Nagurski Award winner (Fitzgerald – Two-time recipient)
One Bednarik Award winner (Fitzgerald – Two-time recipient)
Two members of National Championship teams (Cannon, Tucker)
Five conference Players of the Year (Aikman, Cannon, Fitzgerald, Mayes, Thomas)
Eight multiple-year First Team All-Conference selections (Cannon – 3, Dombrowski – 2, Fitzgerald – 2, Marshall – 3, Mayes – 2, McDaniel – 2, Parks – 2, Thomas - 3)
Six first round NFL Draft picks (Aikman – 1st Overall, Cannon, Dombrowski, Marshall, McDaniel, Parks – 1st Overall)
Six Decades Represented: 1990s (1) – Fitzgerald; 1980s (8) – Aikman, Dombrowski, Marshall, Mayes, McDaniel, McPherson, Novacek, Thomas; 1970s (1) – Simmons; 1960s (1) – Parks; 1950s (1) – Cannon; 1940s (1) – Tucker


1 National Championship (Holtz)
12 Conference Championships (Cooper – 9, Holtz – 3)
36 Bowl Berths (Cooper – 14, Holtz – 22)
46 First Team All-Americas Coached (Cooper – 20, Holtz – 26)
10 NFF National Scholar-Athletes Coaches (Cooper – 7, Holtz – 3)


1. First and Foremost, a player must have received First Team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise their consensus All-America teams.

2. A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation's Honors Courts ten years after his final year of intercollegiate football played.

3. While each nominee's football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and his fellow man with love of his country. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether or not the candidate earned a college degree.

4. Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years*. For example, to be eligible for the 2008 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1958 or thereafter. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.

5. A coach becomes eligible three years after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage*.
* Players that do not comply with the 50-year rule and coaches that have not won 60% of their games may still be eligible for consideration by the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) and Divisional Honors Review Committees, which examine unique cases.


Did You Know?

  • Only 829 players and 178 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the more than 4.8 million who have played the game over the past 140 years.
  • Founded in 1947, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame inducted its first class of inductees in 1951. The first class included 32 players and 19 coaches, including Illinois' Red Grange, Notre Dame's Knute Rockne, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Carlisle's Jim Thorpe.
  • 275 schools are represented with at least one College Football Hall of Famer.
  • In South Bend, Ind., the current building was built in 1995 as a $17 million state-of-the-art interactive facility for fans of all ages. It attracts over 60,000 people each year to more than 200 events.
  • Induction for this class of Hall of Famers will take place December 9, 2008 in New York City.

University of California-Los Angeles
Quarterback, 1987-88

After transferring from the University of Oklahoma, Troy Aikman made an immediate and indelible impact on UCLA football in only two seasons with the Bruins.

A consensus First Team All-America pick in 1988, Aikman finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting and led UCLA to a No. 1 ranking during the season. The Davey O'Brien Award winner passed for 5,363 yards during his career and still holds school records for most completions in a single season (228) and completion percentage (64.8). He led the Bruins to victories in the 1987 Aloha Bowl and the 1989 Cotton Bowl and was named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year following his junior campaign.

A native of West Covina, Calif., Aikman was chosen as the first overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He went on to become one of the NFL's most prolific passers, winning three Super Bowls and garnering Pro Bowl laurels six times. Spending his entire career with the Cowboys, Aikman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

As the founder and president of the Troy Aikman Foundation, he is committed to helping disadvantaged children fulfill their physical, psychological, social and economical needs. He also serves as a pro football analyst on Fox and resides in Dallas, where he is a successful businessman.

Louisiana State University
Halfback, 1957-59

The only player in LSU's storied football history to have his number retired, Billy Cannon clinched the 1959 Heisman Trophy with a punt return against Ole Miss on Halloween night that has simply become known as "The Run".

The leader of the Tigers' 1958 National Championship team, Cannon rushed for 1,867 yards and 19 touchdowns and amassed 965 yards in punt/kick returns during his career. He received unanimous First Team All-America honors and placed third in Heisman voting in 1958 en route to earning consensus First Team All-America laurels and winning both the Heisman and the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award the following season.

Drafted in the first round of the 1960 AFL Draft, he played 11 professional seasons with the Houston Oilers, Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. He returned to school during each off-season to further his education, eventually receiving his D.D.S. from the Tennessee School of Dentistry in 1969 and a Master's in Oral Biology from Loyola (Ill.) in 1971.

A member of the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame, he is currently Head of Dentistry at Angola Federal Penitentiary and resides in Baton Rouge.

University of Virginia
Offensive Tackle, 1982-85

A consummate leader on and off the football field, Jim Dombrowski won numerous accolades as one of the finest student-athletes in the history of the University of Virginia.

The recipient of the NCAA Today's Top Six Award for his combined athletic ability, academic achievement, leadership characteristics and campus involvement, Dombrowski was a unanimous First Team All-America pick in 1984 and was a two-time First Team All-ACC selection. He also received the Jacobs Blocking Trophy in back-to-back years (1984-85) as the ACC's best offensive lineman. Equally impressive in the classroom, he earned First Team Academic All-Conference honors in 1985.

The New Orleans Saints chose Dombrowski sixth overall in the 1986 NFL Draft. He spent 11 seasons with the Saints and was named to the franchise's 30th and 35th Anniversary Teams. He also received his Master's of Education in 1991.

A former Toyota Leadership Award winner for his contributions to the Virginia football program, Dombroski's jersey has been retired by the university. He resides in Mandeville, La., and works as a certified financial planner.

Northwestern University
Linebacker, 1994-96

The only two-time winner of both the Chuck Bednarik and Bronco Nagurski Awards, Pat Fitzgerald was the heart of the Northwestern defense that led the Wildcats to their first Rose Bowl in 47 years.

A two-time consensus First Team All-America selection, he recorded 299 career tackles, including 20 for a loss, en route to being named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 1995 and '96. Fitzgerald's athletic prowess ignited an NU defense that led the nation in scoring in 1995, generating back-to-back Big Ten titles. The Orland Park, Ill., native was named both Chevrolet's and Sports Illustrated's Defensive Player of the Year in 1995.
Fitzgerald signed with the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent following his Northwestern career only to discover that coaching was his true passion. He served as an assistant at several universities before returning to his alma mater in 2001. Fitzgerald spent the next five years as an NU assistant coach before taking the head coaching reigns in 2006. He is the youngest head football coach among Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) schools.
A 2003 Northwestern Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, Fitzgerald is active in local charities and speaks to Chicago-area schools about drug prevention. He resides in Evanston, Ill.

University of Florida
Linebacker, 1980-83

A record-breaking tackler and a member of Florida's first senior class to play in four bowl games, Wilber Marshall punished opposing offenses during his prolific career.

Twice a consensus First Team All-America pick, Marshall broke the Gators' single-season records for sacks (11) and tackles for loss (16) as a sophomore. By career's end, he finished with a then school-record 23 sacks and remains UF's record holder in career tackles for loss (58). The Titusville, Fla., native was only the third player in school history to be named a three-time First Team All-SEC pick. The Gainesville Sun named him Defensive Player of the Century in 1999.

Selected in the first round of the 1984 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, Marshall played for five teams in 12 seasons on the professional level. He was named All-Pro three times and earned Super Bowl rings with Chicago and the Washington Redskins.

One of only five players in Florida's Ring of Honor, Marshall assists with National Kidney Foundation and Organ Donor Awareness. He lives in Sterling, Va.

Washington State University
Running Back, 1982-85

Washington State's Rueben Mayes rewrote every Cougar rushing record during his career, firmly establishing himself as one of the finest running backs in Pac-10 annals.

By career's end, the 1984 consensus First Team All-America set 15 school records, including single-season (1,632) and career rushing yards (3,519), rushing touchdowns (23), rushing average (5.53) and 100-yard games (13). Additionally, he established an NCAA Division I single-game record with a 357-yard rushing performance against Oregon in 1984. Twice named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, the North Battleford, Saskatchewan, native was the first Cougar in history to boast two 1,000-yard rushing seasons.