NCF Nation: Otis Armstrong
Armstrong succeeded another Boilers' ball-carrying standout, Leroy Keyes, and starred for Purdue from 1970-72. Unlike Keyes, Armstrong played on mostly weak teams under Bob DeMoss, which made his accomplishments fly under the national radar. But Armstrong got his due Tuesday as the Big Ten's only member of the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame class.
A Chicago native, Armstrong arrived at Purdue in 1969 and, like all freshmen, sat out the season. He announced himself the following fall with 1,009 rush yards on 213 carries, becoming just the second Purdue back (Keyes being the other) to eclipse 1,000 yards on the ground. After a solid junior campaign, Armstrong sizzled as a senior, racking up 1,361 rush yards and nine touchdowns en route to earning consensus All-America honors. He finished his career with a flourish, piling up 276 yards against archrival Indiana, a single-game team record that stands to this day.
Armstrong still holds Purdue's record for career rushing attempts (671), and his career rush yards mark (3,315) is third behind two players (Mike Alstott and Kory Sheets) who played four seasons. He twice recorded five 100-yard rush games in a season (1970, 1970) and trails only Alstott for most career 100-yard rush performances at Purdue (13 in 31 career games).
Armstrong also stood out as a kick returner, averaging 30.1 yards per runback with two touchdowns in 1972. He added five receiving touchdowns on 36 career receptions.
Although Purdue went just 13-17 during Armstrong's career, his accomplishments didn't go unnoticed and he was selected No. 9 overall by Denver in the 1973 NFL draft. Armstrong played eight seasons with the Broncos, earning two Pro Bowl selections and rushing for 4,453 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Let's take a look at the group:
- Trev Alberts, LB, Nebraska, 1990-93*
- Erick Anderson, LB, Michigan, 1988-91
- Otis Armstrong, RB, Purdue, 1970-72
- Larry Burton, SE, Purdue, 1973-74
- Dave Butz, DT, Purdue, 1970-72
- Marv Cook, TE, Iowa, 1985-88
- Eric Crouch, QB, Nebraska, 1998-2001*
- D.J. Dozier, RB, Penn State, 1983-86*
- Jumbo Elliott, OT, Michigan, 1984-87
- Dave Foley, OT, Ohio State, 1966-68
- Tommie Frazier, QB, Nebraska, 1992-95*
- Kirk Gibson, WR, Michigan State, 1975-78
- Tim Krumrie, DL, Wisconsin, 1979-83
- Robert Lytle, RB, Michigan, 1974-76
- Tom Nowatzke, FB, Indiana, 1961-64
- Jim Otis, FB, Ohio State, 1967-69
- Orlando Pace, OT, Ohio State, 1994-96
- Percy Snow, LB, Michigan State, 1986-89
- Lorenzo White, RB, Michigan State, 1984-87
- Steve Wisniewski, G, Penn State, 1985-88*
- Darryl Rogers, coach, Michigan State, 1976-79 (also coached at Cal-State Hayward, Fresno State, San Jose State and Arizona State)
*-played for team not in Big Ten
The 2012 Hall of Fame class will be announced May 15 and inducted Dec. 4.
To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been named a First Team All-America by a major/national selector as recognized and utilized by the NCAA for their consensus All-America teams; played their last year of intercollegiate football at least ten years prior; played within the last 50 years and cannot be currently playing professional football. Coaches must have coached a minimum of 10 years and 100 games as a head coach; won at least 60 percent of their games; and be retired from coaching for at least three years. If a coach is retired and over the age of 70, there is no waiting period. If he is over the age of 75, he is eligible as an active coach. In both cases, the candidate's post-football record as a citizen may also be weighed.
It's a strong group from the Big Ten, and you can definitely expect to see some names announced May 15. It's interesting to see several clusters of nominees from certain eras, like the three Purdue players from the early 1970s, the two Penn State players from the mid 1980s, the two Ohio State players from the late 1960s and the two Michigan State players from the mid to late 1980s.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
The National Football Foundation announced its 2009 ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame Tuesday, and the list includes 16 players from the Big Ten and two coaches who spent time in the league.
Former Michigan wide receiver Desmond Howard, the 1991 Heisman Trophy winner, leads the Big Ten contingent on the ballot, which includes 76 players and six coaches.
Ohio State, Michigan and Purdue each have three players on the list, while both Penn State and Michigan State have two players. Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana each have one candidate.
Here's the list of Big Ten players eligible for induction, along with some information on each candidate provided by the NFF:
Otis Armstrong, Purdue, running back (1970-72) -- Named consensus All-America in 1972 after accumulating 3,315 career rushing yards, a school and Big Ten record. Named Big Ten MVP in 1972.
Dave Butz, Purdue, defensive tackle (1970-72) -- Consensus first team All-America. Finalist for the Lombardi Award in 1972 and named first team All-Conference. Named Defensive MVP of the Senior Bowl.
D.J. Dozier, Penn State, running back (1983-86) -- Named 1986 consensus first team All-America and led Penn State to perfect 12-0 season and national championship (1986). Finished eighth in 1986 Heisman voting. First Penn State running back to lead the team in rushing for four consecutive seasons.
Dave Foley, Ohio State, offensive tackle (1966-68) -- Named consensus first team All-America in 1968. Led Buckeyes to the 1968 national championship and an undefeated season. National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete in 1968.
Kirk Gibson, Michigan State, wide receiver (1975-78) -- Named first team All-America, led Big Ten in receiving in league play and helped the Spartans to a Big Ten co-championship and a No. 12 national ranking in 1978. Played Major League Baseball for 17 seasons and won National League MVP honors in 1988.
Curtis Greer, Michigan, defensive tackle (1976-79) -- First team All-America selection. Set school record for tackles for loss in a season (23) and career (48). Two-time first team All-Big Ten selection (1978-79). Led Wolverines to three conference championships and four bowls.
Mark Herrman, Purdue, quarterback (1977-80) -- Named unanimous first team All-America, Big Ten MVP and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1980. A first team All-Conference selection, he broke NCAA career records for passing yards (9,188) and completions (707).
Desmond Howard, Michigan, wide receiver (1989-91) -- Consensus first team All-America and Heisman Trophy winner in 1991. Led Wolverines to three Big Ten titles and two Rose Bowls. Led the nation in scoring (11.5 points per game) and kickoff returns (27.5 avg.) in 1991.
Tim Krumrie, Wisconsin, defensive line (1979-83) -- Named a consensus first team All-America in 1981. Led Badgers to 1981 Garden State Bowl and earned Defensive MVP honors in 1982 Independence Bowl. Three-time first team All-Conference selection, recording 444 career tackles.
Robert Lytle, Michigan, running back (1974-76) -- Named consensus first team All-America in 1976. Finished third in the 1976 Heisman Trophy voting. Named Big Ten MVP in 1976 and led Michigan to two conference championships.
Tom Nowatzke, Indiana, fullback (1961-64) -- Named first team All-America in 1964. A two-time All-Conference selection (1963-64), he led the Big Ten in rushing in 1963. Played in the East/West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl and Coaches All-American Game.
Jim Otis, Ohio State, fullback (1967-69) -- Named consensus first team All-America in 1969. Member of the 1968 national championship team. Named First Team All-Big Ten in 1969 and led the Buckeyes to two conference titles. Led the team in rushing three times.
Percy Snow, Michigan State, linebacker (1986-89) -- Unanimous First Team All-America in 1989 and Butkus Award winner. Led MSU to 1987 Big Ten title and Rose Bowl win. Ranks second all-time in career tackles (473).
Chris Spielman, Ohio State, linebacker (1984-87) -- Two-time first team All-America selection (1986-87) -- unanimous in 1987, consensus in 1986. The recipient of the 1987 Lombardi Award, he is a three-time first team all-conference selection and a member of two Big Ten title teams.
Larry Station, Iowa, linebacker (1982-85) -- Two-time first team All-America selection (1984-85) -- unanimous in 1985, consensus in 1984. A three-time first team all-conference selection, he was named team captain and MVP in 1985. Iowa's all-time leader in tackles with 492.
Curt Warner, Penn State, running back (1979-82) -- Named first team All-America in 1981 and led Penn State to 1982 national championship. Most outstanding offensive player in 1980 and 1982 Fiesta Bowls. Finished career with 11 season, 10 career, 14 bowl and 42 school records.
Howard and Dave Foley are on the ballot for the first time.
Two coaches with Big Ten ties also are on the ballot. Darryl Rogers coached Michigan State from 1976-79, going 24-18. William "Lone Star" Dietz coached Purdue in 1921, going 1-6.
The 2009 class will be announced on April 30 and inducted at the National Football Foundation's annual awards dinner on Dec. 8 in New York.