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UT great Young leads College Football HOF class

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UT great Young leads College Football HOF class
11:26 AM ET

  • Jake TrotterESPN Staff Writer

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    • Covers the Big 12
    • Joined ESPN.com in 2011
    • Graduate of Washington & Lee University

Thirteen years after delivering one of the greatest individual game performances in college football history, Vince Young is now a Hall of Famer.

The former Texas star quarterback headlines a star-studded 2019 College Football Hall of Fame class that also features former Notre Dame returner and receiver Raghib “Rocket” Ismail and former Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Willis, who both will participate in the coin toss in Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship between Alabama and Clemson (8 ET, ESPN).

Other members of the class, which was announced Monday morning, include: Florida State defensive back Terrell Buckley (1989-91), Oklahoma defensive back Rickey Dixon (1984-87), John Carroll linebacker London Fletcher (1995-97), Texas A&M defensive lineman Jacob Green (1977-79), NC State wide receiver Torry Holt (1995-98), Arkansas running back Darren McFadden (2005-07), Arizona State quarterback Jake Plummer (1993-96), USC defensive back Troy Polamalu (1999-2002), Wisconsin offensive lineman Joe Thomas (2003-06) and Michigan State running back Lorenzo White (1984-87).

Coaches Dennis Erickson (Idaho, Wyoming, Washington State, Miami, Oregon State, Arizona State) and Joe Taylor (Howard, Virginia Union, Hampton, Florida A&M) were also named to the class.

All honorees will be inducted into the Hall on Dec. 10 in New York.

“We are extremely proud to announce the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” National Football Foundation chairman Archie Manning, also a College Football Hall of Fame inductee from Ole Miss, said in a statement. “Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments. The class will be part of a momentous year as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of college football this season.”

Young’s 2005 Rose Bowl was certainly a momentous game in college football history. Squaring off against defending national champion USC, he completed 30 of 40 passes for 267 yards and rushed for another 200 yards.

The play that defined the game — and Young — was the final one of his college career. On fourth down with 19 seconds remaining, Young escaped the pocket and dashed 8 yards into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown, lifting the Longhorns to their first national title in 35 years.

Young said in a statement that he was “truly blessed and grateful” to receive the honor.

“When I think about it, the honor is meaningful in so many ways and this award is full of reminders,” Young said. “It’s a reminder that I came from a broken home and an under-resourced community where the odds are against us all. It’s a reminder that I was given the chance to play for The University of Texas through the support of my family, hard work and dedication. It’s a reminder of the work my teammates and I put in, especially when no one was watching. It’s a reminder of all the adversity we have gone through and overcome. And last, but not least, it’s a reminder of all the awards, challenges and championships my brothers and mentors have won together.

“None of us have accomplished anything alone, and I’m thankful for everyone in my life. This honor means the world to me and my family, and as I think about it, two powerful words say it all: life changing.”

Two other players from the 2019 class, Ismail and Dixon, were key parts of national championship teams as well, while Erickson and Taylor coached a combined six national championship teams.

Including Young, 10 of the 13 players in the class became first-round NFL draft picks, while seven won national awards.

Ismail becomes the 47th Notre Dame player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame, the most from any program. Fletcher, meanwhile, gives John Carroll its first inductee.

The College Football Hall of Fame will also induct the Goodyear Blimp as an honorary member this year. It will be the first non-player or non-coach to enter the Hall.

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