The Green Bay Packers are one of the most historic and respected franchises in the history of sports. During their long history, they have had over two dozen of their players enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
What often gets overlooked are the players that get inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. I suppose it is easy to forget about, seeing as there are over 100 football programs in the country and the Hall of Fame classes can be quite large. Additionally, players that were not successful in the NFL may have had incredibly successful college careers.
Former Green Bay Packers Julius Peppers and Graham Harrell Are Nominated for the College Football Hall of Fame
Of the four former Packers that are up for induction to the College Football Hall of Fame, Julius Peppers and Graham Harrell are, perhaps, the most recognizable among fans. Peppers, of course, had a Pro Football Hall of Fame career in the NFL and ranks fifth all-time in sacks.
Peppers played both football and basketball at North Carolina, showcasing just how great of an athlete he was. The Football Foundation wrote the following about his inclusion:
“Julius Peppers, North Carolina-Defensive End-2001 unanimous First Team All-American and winner of the 2001 Bednarik and Lombardi awards…2001 Chevrolet Defensive Player of the Year who finished 10th in Heisman Trophy voting…Two-time First Team All-ACC selection, leading the conference in TFL (24) and sacks (15) in 2000.”
Graham Harrell, on the other hand, did not have a great professional career, though he had a standout career in college. Harrell did not get drafted out of college, but was signed by the Packers in 2010. He backed up Aaron Rodgers, appearing in just six games (all in 2012) and attempted just four passes (completing two of them). He is now the offensive coordinator for the Purdue Boilermakers.
The Football Foundation’s blurb on Harrell said:
“Graham Harrell, Texas Tech-Quarterback-2008 First Team All-American and AT&T All-America Player of the Year who finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting…2008 NFF National Scholar-Athlete holds seven NCAA records, including career 400-yard games (20)…Three-time All-Big 12 performer ranks second in league history with 15,793 career passing yards.”
While he did not have a long professional career, there is no doubt that Harrell was one of the best quarterbacks in the country when he played in college. His inclusion as a finalist is definitely warranted.
Former Green Bay Packers Ki-Jana Carter and Tim Couch Are Also Finalists
Ki-Jana Cater is one of the biggest busts in the history of the NFL Draft. He was drafted number one over in the 1995 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals after a stellar college career at Penn State. However, in seven NFL seasons and 59 career games, he rushed for just 1,144 yards as a pro.
The Packers gave Carter a shot in 2002, but he failed to make the final roster out of training camp.
Of his inclusion as a finalist for the College Football Hall of Fame, the Football Foundation wrote:
“Ki-Jana Carter, Penn State-RunningBack-1994 unanimous First Team All-American and Heisman Trophy runner-up…Earned MVP honors at the 1995 Rose Bowl, helping the Lions finish 12-0 with a No. 2 national ranking…Two-time All-Big Ten selection led the league in rushing (1,539) and scoring (138 points) during prolific 1994 season.”
Speaking of number one overall picks that did not pan out in the NFL, the final former Packers player to be nominated for the College Football Hall of Fame is Tim Couch, who was taken first overall by the Cleveland Browns in 1999.
Couch’s career was hampered by injuries, and he failed to make the Packers’ final roster after the signed him in 2004. Of his college success, the Football Foundation wrote:
“Tim Couch, Kentucky-Quarterback-1998 consensus First Team All-American who finished fourth in Heisman voting in 1998 and ninth in 1997…1998 SEC Player of the Year who led Cats to first win over Alabama in 75 years…Set seven NCAA, 14 SEC and 26 school records.”
Voting for induction will take place on June 30.