Inside The Bills

Former Bills named to College Football HOF

Posted by Dallas Miller on May 22, 2014 – 1:42 pm

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IRVING, Texas – The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame announced today the 2014 College Football Hall of Fame Class, which includes former Buffalo Bills LB Shane Conlan and CB Leonard Smith among 14 First Team All-America players and two legendary coaches. The inductees were selected from the national ballot of 75 All-America players and six elite coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and the 87 players and 26 coaches from the divisional ranks.

SHANE CONLAN
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The epitome of “Linebacker U,” Shane Conlan led Penn State to a perfect 12-0 national championship season in 1986. He becomes the 17th Nittany Lion to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.

A 1986 Consensus First-Team All-American and finalist for the Butkus Award, Conlan recorded eight tackles and two interceptions in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl over Miami (Fla.) to give Penn State the national title. He led the Lions to three bowl appearances, including back-to-back national titles games, and he earned Defensive MVP honors in both the 1986 Orange Bowl and the 1987 Fiesta Bowl. The co-captain and team MVP his senior season, Conlan was the leader of the 1986 defensive unit, which held every opponent to fewer than 19 points. Twice leading Penn State in tackles, he finished his career ranked second on the Lions’ career tackles list with 274, and his 183 solo tackles still rank third in school history. Leading Penn State to an impressive 31-10-1 record during his time in Happy Valley, Conlan was named the Exemplary Player of the Year in 1986 by Football Roundup Magazine, and he was selected to play in the 1987 Japan Bowl.

Selected eighth overall by the Buffalo Bills in the 1987 NFL Draft, Conlan played six seasons with the Bills and three for the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams before retiring after the 1995 season. The 1987 Rookie of the Year and three-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection played in three straight Super Bowls with the Bills, and he was named to their 50th Anniversary Team.

Coached by Hall of Famer Joe Paterno, Conlan was named to Penn State’s All-Time Team, and he is enshrined in the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and the Chautauqua County (N.Y.) Sports Hall of Fame. A community leader, he organizes the Shane Conlan Classic golf tournament, which raises money for the Heritage Valley Health System, the Shane Conlan Scholarship Fund at his old high school and various projects at Penn State. The Frewsburg, N.Y., native currently serves as the vice president of Corporate Partnerships for the Pittsburgh Power Arena Football League team.

LEONARD SMITH
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One of the greatest players in McNeese State history, Leonard Smith earned All-American honors during a standout career in Lake Charles, La. He becomes the first Cowboy to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.

A 1982 First-Team All-American, Smith twice earned both All-Louisiana and All-Southland Conference honors. The 1982 Southland Conference and Louisiana Defensive Player of the Year led the Cowboys to a 32-12-2 record and back-to-back conference titles and Independence Bowl berths in 1979 and 1980. McNeese State’s Most Valuable Player his senior year, Smith holds school records for blocked kicks in a season with six and in a career with 17.

Picked 17th overall by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft, Smith is the highest pick ever in Southland Conference and school history. He played nine seasons with the Cardinals and Buffalo Bills, and he helped lead the Bills to Super Bowls XXV and XXVI.

After retiring, the New Orleans native became a private businessman. A member of the McNeese State Hall of Fame, Smith was named to the Southland Conference All-Time 50th Anniversary Football Team in 2013.

2014 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS
PLAYERS
• 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)
COACHES
• 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)


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