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November 28, 2021

3 PSU players on 2017 CFB HOF Ballot

GoPSUSports.com/University Park, PA –

A trio of standouts who were instrumental in helping Penn State post undefeated and championship seasons are among the candidates under consideration for the National Football Foundation’s College Hall of Fame.

First-team All-Americans Kerry Collins, D.J. Dozier and Steve Wisniewski¬†have been selected for the national ballot for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017. They have an opportunity to join 18 former Nittany Lion players and five Penn State coaches who have been inducted into the Hall.

Linebacker Shane Conlan was inducted into the Hall in 2014 and running back Curt Warner was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2010. Late head coach Joe Paterno¬†was inducted in 2007. They are Penn State’s most recent Hall of Fame inductees. Former Nittany Lion Bill Bowes will be enshrined on Dec. 6, 2016 as a coach for his career at New Hampshire.

The 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be announced on January 6, 2017 in Tample, Florida in conjunction with the College Football Playoff. Irving, Texas. The class will be inducted at the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 5, 2017 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The inductees will be permanently enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

Collins helped Penn State earn a 40-9 record from 1991-94 and was instrumental in the Nittany Lions earning a 22-2 overall mark (14-2 conference) during their first two years in the Big Ten Conference. The recipient of the 1994 Maxwell Award as the National Player of the Year, he helped Penn State win three New Year’s Day bowl games: the 1992 Fiesta, 1994 Citrus and 1995 Rose Bowls.

Collins started every game in leading Penn State to the 1994 Big Ten Championship in its second year in the conference. The Nittany Lions defeated Oregon, 38-20, in the 1995 Rose Bowl to become the first Big Ten team to earn a 12-0 record, earning the No. 2 final ranking by AP, UPI and USA Today/CNN. Penn State was ranked No. 1 by the New York Times and in the Sagarin computer rankings at the end of the 1994 season.

A tailback, Dozier matriculated to Happy Valley from Virginia Beach, Virginia and earned first-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation in 1986. Dozier is the only Nittany Lion to lead the team in rushing four consecutive seasons, doing so from 1983-86. He ranks fifth on the school career rushing yardage list with 3,227 yards, scoring 25 touchdowns and averaging 5.2 yards per attempt. Dozier gained 1,002 yards as a freshman and tallied 811 yards and scored 10 touchdowns as a senior and one of the instrumental players on the Nittany Lions’ 12-0 squad.

Dozier will forever have a place in Penn State Football lore for scoring the game-winning touchdown on a 6-yard fourth quarter run to lift the Nittany Lions past Miami, 14-10, in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl. A standout at Kempsville High School, he earned Most Valuable Offensive Player of the Game honors by rushing for 99 yards and making two catches for 21 yards in the thriller over the Hurricanes.

Dozier was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft and played four seasons with the Vikings and the 1991 campaign with the Detroit Lions. A four-year letterwinner at Penn State, he also played baseball in the New York Mets’ farm system.

Wisniewski was a three-year starter at guard for the Nittany Lions who would go on to become an All-Pro lineman in the NFL. He was one of two sophomores to start on the 1986 National Championship team and he opened holes for two first-team All-America running backs, Blair Thomas (1987) and Dozier (1986). One of just four Penn State offensive linemen to earn a pair of first-team All-America honors, he was recognized in 1988 by the American Football Coaches (AFCA) and repeated All-America accolades from Sporting News. A 1988 team captain, Wisniewski is one of just two offensive linemen to earn Penn State’s team MVP honor since its creation in 1978.

From Westfield High School in Houston, Wisniewski was the first pick in the second round of the 1989 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, who immediately traded his rights to the Los Angeles Raiders. Wisniewski was a mainstay for the Raiders from 1989-2001, starting the final 175 games of his career. He was selected to the Pro Bowl eight times, with six first team All-Pro selections. He was elected a Raiders team captain seven times, was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1990’s and to Oakland’s 50-Year All-Raider Team. Wisniewski missed only two of a possible 208 career games.

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