NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — The latest class of College Football Hall of Famers is loaded on the defensive line, led by former Jets and Alabama star Marty Lyons.
“As soon as you get off the phone, you sit there and everything starts to sink in,” the “New York Sack Exchange” legend said Tuesday. “You just get overwhelmed with emotion.”
Lyons grew up in Florida and settled in the New York area after a long NFL career with the Jets.
He played in Tuscaloosa from 1975-78 and got choked up talking about his old college coach, Bear Bryant, his Alabama teammates and the Crimson Tide fans, many of whom are still dealing with the aftermath of deadly tornados that swept through the state last month.
“Right now they’re going through a difficult time in their life with the devastating tornado,” he said. “But come Dec. 6 I’m going to put them all on my back and we’re going to get inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.”
Fellow defensive tackles Russell Maryland of Miami, Doug English of Texas and Rob Waldrop of Arizona were among the 14 players chosen for induction.
Also headed for the Hall are Deion Sanders, who turned cornerback into a glamour position at Florida State from 1985-88, and former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, who won 75 percent of his games and the 1997 national championship in 13 seasons leading the Wolverines.
The rest of the players in the class revealed Tuesday were: Florida receiver Carlos Alvarez, Oregon State fullback Bill Enyart, Georgia defensive back Jake Scott, Nebraska guard Will Shields, Minnesota quarterback Sandy Stephens, West Virginia linebacker Darryl Talley, Oklahoma halfback Clendon Thomas and Michigan State receiver Gene Washington.
Fisher DeBerry, who led Air Force to a winning record in 17 of his 23 seasons as Falcons coach, will also be inducted in December.
The Hall of Fame selection of 1995 Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George from Ohio State was announced Monday.
Lyons, Maryland and Carr took part in a news conference Tuesday at the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square.
“As my mother would say, and she said it a lot of times to me, ‘Son, you’ve led a charmed life,'” Maryland said.
Maryland was born in Chicago and was lightly recruited out of high school there, but went on to star on some of Miami’s greatest teams. He helped the Hurricanes win two national titles from 1986-90 before becoming the first overall pick in the 1991 draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
“Twenty-five years ago, not even knowing I was going to play college football at a high level, and here 25 years later after having played 10 years in the NFL … but some of my best times, where I was formed, were at the University of Miami,” he said.
English helped Texas to a pair of Southwest Conference championships, playing for the Longhorns from 1972-74.
Waldrop was the nose guard for Arizona’s famed “Desert Swarm” defense. In his senior season of 1993, he won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top lineman.
The new inductees were chosen by the National Football Foundation’s honors court from a list of 79 finalists.
To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been a first-team All-American, played at least 10 years ago and cannot be currently playing pro football.
Coaches must have at least a .600 winning percentage to be eligible.
Where does Marty Lyons rank on the list of Jets defensive greats? Sound off in the comments below…
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)