In 1960, Jerry Stovall took over for Billy Cannon as LSU’s starting left halfback.
Stovall followed Cannon again Saturday night — this time into the College Football Hall of Fame.
After being elected in May 2010 and inducted in December, Stovall officially joined the college game’s most prestigious fraternity at the annual Enshrinement Show in South Bend, Ind. He was joined by 15 other players and four coaches in the latest class.
Stovall got the nod two years after Cannon and becomes the 12th former LSU player or coach to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
Charles Davis, who co-hosted the Enshrinement Show along with Jon Gruden, asked Stovall during a question-and-answer segment about the challenge of stepping in at left halfback all those years ago.
“Billy was the best athlete, as far as football, in our history,” Stovall said. “He won the Heisman Trophy, had the famous run on Halloween night and won the national championship. Very special.”
Stovall nearly matched LSU’s only Heisman winner.
Establishing himself as one of college football’s great two-way threats, the West Monroe native amassed 1,081 yards rushing and 452 yards receiving from 1960-62 and added seven interceptions on defense.
That’s not all. He also punted 165 times for 6,577 yards (a 39.3-yard average) in his career and gained nearly 700 yards in the return game.
A two-time All-Southeastern Conference pick, Stovall led LSU to records of 10-1 as a junior and 9-1-1 as a senior. The Tigers won the Southeastern Conference championship and the Orange Bowl in the 1961 season and beat Texas in the Cotton Bowl the following year.
Stovall came close to becoming LSU’s second Heisman Trophy winner, but Oregon State quarterback Terry Baker trimmed him by 89 points in the 1962 voting.
The second pick of the 1963 NFL draft, Stovall played nine seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and was a two-time All-Pro. After his playing career, he returned to LSU as head coach from 1980-83.
Stovall told Gruden there’s nothing quite like the Tiger Stadium environment, and the fans make it so.
“Probably 60 percent never attended LSU and have no degree from there,” Stovall said. “They have adopted LSU. And let me tell you something. I’ve never had anybody tell me, ‘My wife and I adopted that child by accident.’ When they have a passion enough to adopt you and make you part of their life, they’re serious about it.”
Also enshrined Saturday night were: Desmond Howard (Michigan, WR, 1989-91); Dennis Byrd (North Carolina State, DT, 1965-67); Ronnie Caveness (Arkansas, LB 1962-64); Ray Childress (Texas A&M, DL 1981-84); Dexter Coakley (Appalachian State, LB, 1993-96); Randy Cross (UCLA, OG, 1973-75); Sam Cunningham (Southern California, RB, 1970-72); Michael Favor, North Dakota State, C, 1985-88); Charles Haley (James Madison, DE, 1982-85; Mark Herrmann (Purdue, QB, 1977-80); Clarkston Hines (Duke, WR, 1986-89); Desmond Howard (Michigan, WR, 1989-91); Mickey Kobrosky (Trinity College, Back, 1933-36); Chet Moeller (Navy, DB, 1973-75); Pat Tillman (Arizona St., LB, 1994-97); Alfred Williams (Colorado, LB, 1987-90). Coach Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin, 1990-2005); Coach Mike Kelly (Dayton, 1981-2007); Coach Bill Manlove, (Widener, 1969-91), Delaware Valley, 1992-95), La Salle, 1997-2001); Coach Gene Stallings (Texas A&M, 1965-71), Alabama, 1990-96).
Byrd, Tillman and Kobrosky were inducted posthumously.
Howard won the Heisman Trophy at Michigan in 1991.
“Time just flies, doesn’t it? Twenty years is unbelievable. That’s one of those things when somebody says it you kind of got to do the math in your head, like ‘Yeah I guess he’s right,” Howard told the Associated Press. “Wow.”
Haley emerged from little-known James Madison to become one of the NFL’s most ferocious pass rushers and played on five Super Bowl championship teams with Dallas and San Francisco.
“I never dreamed of going to college and when I got to college I never dreamed of going to the pros,” Haley said. “I was fortunate enough to have coaches to be visionaries and build a foundation and give me a skill set.”
Cunningham had the nickname “Bam” for his punishing running style. He had four touchdowns in a 1973 Rose Bowl win over Ohio State. In his first game in 1970 against Alabama, he scored two TDs and had 135 yards rushing against the then all-white Crimson Tide, leading a victory in a milestone performance.
“It has afforded a lot of black athletes the opportunity to play wherever they want to play,” Cunningham said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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