Atlanta to host Black College HOF honors


On Saturday and the day after the conclusion of Black History Month, the Black College Football Hall of Fame will honor its 2014 class at the Loews Hotel in Atlanta (7-9:30 p.m.).

The group includes recent NFL Hall of Famer Michael Strahan from the New York Giants and Texas Southern University along with fellow Hall of Famers John Stallworth (Alabama A&M) and Leroy Kelly (Morgan State), Robert Brazile (Jackson State), Willie Totten (Mississippi Valley State), Doug Wilkerson (North Carolina Central), and coach Marino Casem (Alcorn State).

Strahan joined fellow pass-rusher and former Atlanta Falcons star Claude Humphrey in this year's NFL Hall of Fame class. Strahan had 141.5 sacks in 216 career games while Humphrey had 122 sacks in 171 games.

Strahan, now better known as the co-host of the show "Live! with Kelly & Michael" did a question-and-answer session with the Atlanta Falcons staff in preparation for Saturday's event:

What does being named to the black college football hall of fame mean to you?

"It means everything to me because I know the history of black college football and all the great players from Walter Payton to Mel Blount to Jackie Slater and Jerry Rice. Just to be a part of that means the world to me and is a big honor."

Can you talk about what your career at Texas Southern University means to you and how it helped build your personality on and off the field?

"Texas Southern was perfect for me because it was the right size it and the right fit. It took me from being a boy to being a man in the sense that I had to get there and learn responsibility and I wasn't swallowed up by a program. I had coaches and teammates and people who really invested in me and I'm glad that I was able to not only exceed their expectations but also exceed mine."

How special is it to be named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Black College Football Hall of Fame in the same year?

"The Black College Football Hall of Fame was announced before the Pro Football Hall of Fame and I was as excited about that as I was about the Pro Football Hall of Fame. To be in the same year, what can I say? That's one heck of a year. Both of them are incredible honors for the hard work I put in through all of the years but it's also an incredible honor for all the teammates that I've played with and all the coaches. We all share this together."

What advice would you give collegiate players who are playing at HBCUS and have aspirations of playing in the NFL?

"Playing in the HBCU is, it's not about where you play it's about how you play. If you're talented and a great player they'll find you. I think a lot of guys think if I go to HBCU that means I'm going to be missed or they're not going to find me. They'll find you. There are scouts out there who are specifically looking for guys and you will be a guy if you play the game in the right way, handle your business off the field the right way and if you do the things you need to do in school. They'll find you if you have any desire to play on the next level. Remember, you're not a football player from HBCU you're just a football player. Doesn't matter where you come from and where you start… just how you finish. "

What NFL players inspired you to become the NFL player that you are today?

"When it comes to NFL players who've inspired me, I love Lawrence Taylor, and of course Bruce Smith and Reggie White, and Aeneas Williams was the guy who was starting out when I was playing, Eddie Robinson was a linebacker starting out when I playing at HBCU and those are guys that I always looked up to. I'm going into the pro football HOF with Aeneas which means the world to me and I had my pro guys I looked up to but mostly guys out of HBSCU and out of Texas Southern, Grambling, Alcorn State with Steve McNair and different guys who've exceled on every levels, those are guys I really looked up to."