Nehlen and Donnie Young
As we told you last week, the college blogs of SB Nation are banding together to create our own College Football Hall of Fame to hopefully correct some injustices perpetrated by the "real" Hall of Fame due to some asinine requirements for admittance to their hall. The initial class will be 20 players and coaches (1st ten decided by committee and 2nd ten by fan vote). Here are our nominees:
Coach Don Nehlen
Don Nehlen took over a struggling WVU program in 1980 and raised it to from regional doormat to national prominence over his 20 year career at WVU. Another "real" Hall of Famer, Nehlen led WVU to 2 undefeated seasons in 1988 and 1993. If not for an injury to QB Major Harris, many believe he would have accomplished that elusive National Championship. His career record was 202-128-8, leading the Mountaineers to victory in 4 bowl games. Nehlen is also responsible for the commissioning of the most recognizable symbol in WV, the "Flying WV" that adorns the football helmets, most WVU sports uniforms and countless buildings around the state. Nehlen laid the groundwork for success enjoyed by Rich Rodriguez, Bill Stewart and now Dana Holgorsen building an actual program where there was only a team before.
QB Major Harris
First of all, Major is in the "real Hall of Fame" so induction here seems a no brainer. Simply put, he was completely ahead of his time. An anachronism at the time, he was Michael Vick before Michael Vick. He was the glue that made the 1988 undefeated team the force that it was. Many a fan believes if he didn't get injured in the first few plays of the 1989 Fiesta Bowl, WVU wouldn't be stuck with the distinction of the winningest FBS program without a National Championship. Blessed with a cannon arm and an escapability that would embarrass virtually all defenders who tried to bring him down (his run against Penn State is legen...wait for it...dary), Harris was a fifth place finisher in 1988 and third place in 1989 for the Heisman.
Career totals (3 years) 34 GP, 2161 RYards (75 yards for a long), 18 RTDs, 324 of 586 passing attempts, 5173 yards passing (with a long of 70 yds), 41 TDS
Continue on for the rest of our five nominees...
RB Steve Slaton (as voted on by our readers)
Steve Slaton’s greatness was overlooked by many early in his career. Major colleges passed on offering him a scholarship out of high school. Even WVU’s coach at the time, Rich Fraudriguez, had him at fourth string until his talents on the field were just too much to ignore. Those who doubted him served as motivation and helped him become the most electrifying rusher in WVU history.
In his sophomore season, while averaging 7 yards per rush, Slaton broke WVU’s single season rushing record by amassing 1,744 yards. His 17 rushing touchdowns in 2007 and 2005 are tied with Avon Cobourne for the third best total in school history. The performance that most defines Slaton’s career is WVU’s comeback win against Louisville in 2005 where he broke a Big East and WVU record with 6 total touchdowns. As part of WVU’s dynamic duo, Steve Slaton helped position WVU as a prominent national player in college football and are thus partially responsible for WVU’s current position in the Big 12.
Slaton's final numbers are (in three years): 3923 RYards (3rd all time in school history), 5.9 Avg yds/attempt, 50 Rushing TDS, 805 receiving yards and an additional 5 receiving TDS
- by 5th Year Senior
LB Darryl Talley
Another "real" Hall of Famer, Darryl Talley was the proverbial man amongst boys in his time at WVU. 6'4" and 210 lbs isn't huge by today's standard for an outside linebacker. But from 1979-1982 it was certainly big enough. However, the ground Talley covered and his wingspan made him seem ominous and everywhere at once.
Talley was rare in that he was a four year starter for the Mountaineers in an era that few saw the field all four years. He left WVU as the record holder in unassisted tackles with 282, total tackles 484, and single-game tackles with 15 against Boston College. He also recorded 28 tackles for a loss and 19 sacks as a Mountaineer. He was a consensus All-American his senior year and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. Talley was at his best in the biggest games. He almost single-handedly willed the Mountaineers to victory against #2 Pitt in 1982 with a performance that included a punt block returned for a touchdown. The only touchdown the Mountaineers would record on the day. The Mountaineers came up three points short that day. But only after holding Dan Marino and the Panther offense scoreless for three quarters.
-by John Radcliff
Mid-Major WR - Randy Moss (Marshall)
As much as it pains this WVU fan to nominate a Marshall player, Randy Moss's abilities are simply too great to ignore. After transferring from both Notre Dame and Florida State due to disciplinary issues, Moss terrorized the competition throughout his two years in Huntington. As a Freshman in 1996, he led the Thundering Herd to an undefeated season and the I-AA national championship, catching 78 passes for 1,709 yards and 28 touchdowns (which tied Jerry Rice's I-AA record) and averaging 34.0 yards per kickoff return. In 1997, Marshall's first in I-A, he led the Herd to the MAC title to the tune of 96 receptions for 1,820 yards and 26 touchdowns (at the time a I-A record), was voted an All-American and Biletnikoff Award winner, and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Oh, and in addition to Moss having a hall-of-fame professional career with the Vikings, Raiders, Patriots and 49ers, former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz famously called him the best high school football player he'd ever seen.
- by Country Roads
Given the 1962-2007 time frame limitation, did we miss anyone?