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Florida State’s Derrick Brooks, North Carolina’s William Fuller Among 14 2016 Inductees
Greensboro, N.C. — A pair of former consensus All-Americans and two of the greatest defensive players in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference, linebacker Derrick Brooks of Florida State and defensive tackle William Fuller of North Carolina, have been tabbed for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame announced Friday.
"We are extremely proud that Derrick Brooks and William Fuller will join a long list of ACC players and coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “Derrick and William were two of the greatest defensive players – both in this league and nationally. They join an outstanding 2016 class, and we are pleased that they are being recognized by the National Football Foundation.”
Their induction will bring to 23 the total of former players and coaches from current ACC schools inducted into the College Hall of Fame over the last 12 years. In all, their addition to the College Hall of Fame brings the total to 131 former players and coaches who have been inducted into the Hall from the ACC’s current 14 schools.
The inductees were selected from the national ballot of 76 All-America players and five elite coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision, and the 92 players and 27 coaches from the divisional ranks.
“We are extremely proud to announce the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Mississippi. “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 announcement of the 2016 Class was made today at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn, the media hotel for the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship, which will be played on Monday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., between No. 1 Clemson (14-0) and No. 2 Alabama (13-1).
Brooks, a two time consensus All-American who is a native of Pensacola, Fla., is considered to be one of the greatest players in college and professional football history. The 1993 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, he was named to the NFL’s Pro Bowl an astounding 11 times and led FSU to a national championship in 1993 and Tampa Bay to the NFL title.
He earned consensus All-America honors in 1993 and 1994, leading the Seminoles to their first national championship as a junior in 1993. He earned first-team All-ACC honors three times (1992, 1993, 1994) and was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year as a junior.
A finalist for the Butkus, Lombardi and Football Writers Defensive Player of the Year Awards in both 1993 and 1994, he was as highly regarded off the field as well earning first-team Academic All-America honors in 1994, receiving the NCAA’s Postgraduate Scholarship and being named one of the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athletes.
The 28th player elected in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay, he played 14 NFL (1995-2008) seasons for the Bucs, earning selection to the Pro Bowl 11 times—including 10 straight seasons from 1997 through 2006. He was honored as an All-Pro nine times and was chosen as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press in 2002 and led the Buccaneers to their first Super Bowl victory in Super Bowl XXXVII.
Brooks becomes the eighth Florida State player or coach named to the College Football Hall of Fame
Fuller becomes the ninth player or coach from UNC, and second in the last three years, to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame at the induction ceremony in December. In 2014, UNC cornerback Dre’ Bly was inducted.
A dominating defensive lineman from 1980 to 1983, Fuller was a consensus All-America as a senior. He also earned first-team All-America honors as a junior and is one of only seven Tar Heel players to be named first-team All-America twice. He is one of only three defensive linemen ever to make the All-ACC team three times. He was a defensive lynchpin on UNC teams that posted a 37-11 four-year record.
Fuller, who utilized his tremendous quickness to slice through offensive lines, had 22 tackles for losses in both 1981 and 1983. He still holds the UNC career record for tackles for losses with 57 and ranks sixth with 20 sacks. He led the ACC in 1981 and 1983 in tackles for loss, and his TFL total is still the seventh-best career mark in league history.
Fuller joins Bly, Don McCauley, Charlie Justice and Art Weiner as the only players in the College Football Hall of Fame that played exclusively at UNC. Hunter Carpenter (1904) and Barney Poole (1943) played one season at UNC and are also in the Hall of Fame. UNC coaches Carl Snavely and Jim Tatum are also in the College Football Hall of Fame.
The 1994 ACC Player of the Year, Brooks guided Florida State to victories in four consecutive bowl games, including the 18-16 win over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl for the national title. The three-time First Team All-ACC selection led the Seminoles to three-straight ACC titles and a 42-7 record, and the team never finished with a final ranking lower than fourth during his career. A team captain his senior season, Brooks was a finalist for the Butkus, Rotary Lombardi and FWAA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1993 and 1994 while playing for College Football Hall of Fame coach Bobby Bowden. The standout four-year letterman finished his career with 274 tackles, 8.5 sacks and five interceptions, and he was named MVP of the Senior Bowl. Brooks was just as stellar off the field as a 1994 NFF National Scholar-Athlete and two-time Academic All-American. A teammate of Hall of Fame quarterback Charlie Ward, he was also a three-time Academic All-ACC honoree and a recipient of an NCAA postgraduate scholarship. Brooks’ No. 10 jersey is retired at Florida State, and he is a member of both the Seminoles’ and CoSIDA Academic All-America halls of fame.
Drafted in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brooks spent his entire 14-year career with the franchise. The 11-time Pro Bowl selection never missed a game during his pro career and led the Bucs to a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. A 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, he had his number retired by Tampa Bay and is a member of the team’s ring of honor.
Brooks continued to impress during and after his pro career, earning his master’s degree in business communications in 1999. His numerous community initiatives have included establishing Brooks Bunch, founding Derrick Brooks Charities, and establishing Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High, a nonprofit public charter school. He was named the 2000 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year and the 2014 Boys and Girls Club Community Champion. Appointed by the Governor of Florida to serve as chairman of the Governor’s Council on Physical Education, Brooks also served on the FSU Board of Trustees from 2003-11. He currently serves as co-owner and president of the Tampa Bay Storm in the Arena Football League and as an appeals officer for the NFL and NFLPA.
A consensus First Team All-American in 1983, Fuller owns the school record with 57 career tackles for loss and set a then school-record for single-season tackles for loss with 22 in both 1981 and 1983. The two-time Outland Trophy finalist led the Tar Heels to three consecutive bowl berths, including wins in the 1981 Gator Bowl and 1982 Sun Bowl. Fuller was the only unanimous choice on the 1983 All-ACC team, and he is one of just three defensive linemen ever to make All-ACC for three straight years. A team captain as a senior, he finished his career with 225 tackles and 20 sacks, and he earned invitations to both the Hula Bowl and the Japan Bowl. Fuller was one of just two defensive linemen named to the ACC Silver Anniversary Team, and his No. 95 has been retired by UNC.
Fuller was selected in the first round of the NFL Supplemental Draft, but he chose to start his pro career with the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars of the USFL. He led the Stars to consecutive league championships before moving to the NFL, where he played 13 seasons with the Houston Oilers, Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers. A member of the All-Time USFL Team, Fuller was a four-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl selection
A noted philanthropist, Fuller hosts the William Fuller Golf Tournament to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, which has raised nearly $5 million for the organization. He is also involved in the United Way, Special Olympics, Ronald McDonald House, Philadelphia Services for the Blind and the Boys’ Club of America. Fuller endowed a football scholarship at UNC, and he has served on numerous boards, including Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International and the Educational Foundation at UNC. He currently serves as manager at Fuller Consulting Group, LLC, in Virginia.