Stallworth's induction closes circle


It's fitting. It completes the circle, even though football is a game played with an oblong ball on a rectangular field.

Bill Nunn was inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame in 2010 as part of its Inaugural Class in large part because of the work he had done as a scout for the Pittsburgh Steelers. One of the genuine nuggets Nunn mined during the 1970s was a skinny wide receiver from Alabama A&M University by the name of John Stallworth.

The Black College Football Hall of Fame announced its seven newest members today, and notable among those to be inducted as part of the Class of 2014 is a formerly skinny wide receiver from Alabama A&M University by the name of John Stallworth.

Stallworth, Robert Brazile, Leroy Kelly, Michael Strahan, Willie Totten, Doug Wilkerson, and Marino Casem make up the Class of 2014, which will be honored at the Fifth Annual Enshrinement Ceremony on March 1, 2014 at the Loews Hotel in Atlanta. The ceremony is held annually in conjunction with Black College Football Weekend.

Stallworth, arguably the greatest fourth-round draft choice in NFL history, was a part of four Super Bowl championship teams with the Steelers, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2002. At Alabama A&M, he was a two-time All-SIAC selection (1972-73). Stallworth currently is a partner in the Pittsburgh Steelers ownership group.

Brazile, a linebacker, played at Jackson State from 1971-74 and was inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame in 1995. A No. 1 pick of the Houston Oilers in 1975, Brazile played for 12 seasons in the NFL during which he was voted All-Pro six times.

Kelly was a running back at Morgan State from 1960-63 before embarking on a 10-year career with the Cleveland Browns, for which he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994. Kelly's Morgan State team won the 1962 CIAA Championship with him leading the team in rushing, scoring, and punting.

Strahan was a defensive end at Texas Southern from 1989-92, where he was a two-time SWAC Defensive Player of the Year and the 1992 Black College Defensive Player of the Year. A No. 2 pick of the New York Giants, Strahan retired with 141.5 sacks and was a key member of the Giants' Super Bowl XLII championship team.

Totten played quarterback at Mississippi Valley State from 1982-85 where he crossed paths with a teammate named Jerry Rice. As a sophomore in 1982, Rice caught 66 passes for 1,133 yards and seven touchdowns in his first season playing with Totten, then a redshirt freshman. Totten, who set more than 50 Division I-AA records, once passed for 58 touchdowns in a season. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Wilkerson was a guard at North Carolina Central from 1966-69 before going on to a 15-year NFL career, 14 of which were with the San Diego Chargers. His No. 63 was retired by North Carolina Central, and Wilkerson once was timed in the 100-yard dash in 9.8 seconds.

Casem coached at Alabama State, Alcorn State, and Southern, but he won seven SWAC Championships during his 22 seasons at Alcorn State. Also while coaching there, Casem won four Black College National Championships (1968, 1969, 1974, and 1984). Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003, his all-time record as a coach is 159-93-8.

The Black College Football Hall of Fame was established to honor the greatest football players, coaches and contributors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Each  inductee's college or university will receive a $5,000 grant to support continuing academic and athletic opportunities at their respective institutions.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.