South Carolina wide receiver Sterling Sharpe has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, among a class of 14 players that also includes late Alabama linebacker Derrick Thomas, LaDainian Tomlinson and Tony Boselli.
Sharpe was a first-team All-American in 1987 after catching 62 passes for 915 yards and five touchdowns. His best collegiate season came in 1986, when he caught 74 passes for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns in the Gamecocks’ run-and-shoot offense.
“I owe a lot to Sterling Sharpe, but it’s not just the catches and touchdowns,” former Gamecock quarterback Todd Ellis said last year. “Sterling is one of those guys that raised the work ethic around South Carolina. He built himself into being a great wide receiver. He turned a lot of 5-yard outs into 70-yard gains, so that was good for me.”
A first-team All-America selection in 1987, Sharpe twice earned first-team all-conference honors while setting school records for single-season receptions (74), career receptions (169), single-season receiving yards (1,106) and career receiving yards (2,497).
“I enjoyed playing, and I played as best I could for as long as I could,” he said. “All the other stuff after that, you have to stay out of it.”
Sharpe is the second former South Carolina player in the hall of fame, joining George Rogers, who was inducted in 1997.
Sharpe caught at least one reception in a record 34 consecutive games, and he notched 10 games of 100-plus yards receiving. Sharpe holds the school record for the longest play of any kind, a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Duke in 1985. He led the team in receiving for three seasons, and he helped the Gamecocks to a berth in the 1987 Gator Bowl. A team captain his senior season, he received the Enright Award for leadership, and he played in the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl.
The seventh overall selection by the Green Bay Packers in the 1988 NFL Draft, Sharpe played seven seasons for the Packers. The five-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection led the league in receiving three times before his retirement.
A member of the South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame, the Glennville, Ga., native had his number retired by the university at the end of his collegiate career. A member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, Sharpe currently serves as a studio analyst for the NFL Network.
Thomas was one of the Hall of Fame's most obvious omissions and Alabama fans had been growing increasingly annoyed by the wait in recent years. He played for the Tide from 1985-88, and won the Butkus Award as the nation's best linebacker as a senior when he had 27 sacks. He finished his career with 52 sacks, a school record.
He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs and made nine Pro Bowls.
Thomas died in 2000 after an automobile accident left him paralyzed. He was 33. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
The 2014 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be inducted together at the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 9, 2014, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
2014 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS
... DRE BLY – DB, North Carolina (1996-98)
... TONY BOSELLI – OT, Southern California (1991-94)
... DAVE BUTZ – DT, Purdue (1970-72)
... SHANE CONLAN – LB, Penn State (1983-86)
... JOE HAMILTON – QB, Georgia Tech (1996-99)
... JOHN HUARD – LB, Maine (1964-66)
... DARRIN NELSON – HB, Stanford (1977-78, 1980-81)
... WILLIE ROAF – OL, Louisiana Tech (1990-92)
... JOHN SCIARRA – QB, UCLA (1972-75)
... STERLING SHARPE – WR, South Carolina (1983, 1985-87)
... LEONARD SMITH – CB, McNeese State (1979-82)
... DERRICK THOMAS (deceased) – LB, Alabama (1985-88)
... LaDAINIAN TOMLINSON – TB, Texas Christian (1997-00)
... WESLEY WALLS – TE, Mississippi (1985-88)
... MIKE BELLOTTI – 137-80-2 (63%); Chico State (Calif.) (1984-88) and Oregon (1995-08)
... JERRY MOORE – 242-135-2 (64.1%); North Texas (1979-80), Texas Tech (1981-85) and Appalachian State (1989-12)