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Hollow Claims To NFL Hall Of Fame For ACC Football

The ACC is claiming HOF players from expansion schools

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North Carolina State v Syracuse
The ACC is claiming HOF members from expansion schools which seems kind of...inauthentic.

When someone marries into your family, it’s tempting to bask in the reflected glory (if any) of their professional or personal stature. Even if you had nothing to do with achieving it.

That’s similar to the way the ACC regards the schools it absorbed in expansion. Whatever they and their players did prior to membership, is counted in lists of ACC achievements.

Consider the last page of the 2018 conference football media guide, which chronicles what are portrayed as former ACC players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Forty-one make the impressive list, which covers the entire page.

Except, when you boil off the fat and get down to players who participated in ACC competition, only 7 remain. That’s 7 of 41, just 17 percent.

Frankly there’s something odd about seeing the likes of Jim Brown (Syracuse), Fred Biletnikoff (FSU), Mike Ditka (Pitt), Tony Dorsett (Pitt), Al Davis (Syracuse) and Johnny Unitas (Louisville) counted in ACC ranks. Odd, and hollow.

Among the more interesting peculiarities is that Duke with Sonny Jurgensen has the same number of ACC-era enrollees as Clemson. George McAfee and Ace Parker played for the Blue Devils prior to the ACC’s founding, and therefore don’t count for the purposes of this chart.

Brian Dawkins is Clemson’s only representative, and he was inducted in 2018.

Wake’s sole inductee, Bill George, played before the advent of the ACC. Virginia likewise has one player from its ACC era – Henry Jordan – and one out – Bill Dudley.

Maryland has two members in the Hall from its ACC days, Stan Jones and Randy White, but the school itself is no longer in the conference. This is reflected in its general purge from league records, including lists of All-Americans.

Two of the eight ACC members that joined by the 1954 football season lack a player in the pro football Hall of Fame. (UVa was an independent in ’53, the inaugural season.) While the absence of a South Carolina entrant may be no shock, given its low football profile prior to fleeing the coop in 1971, there’s also no one from NC State, which is surprising.

Players from Current ACC Schools in Pro Hall
of Fame Who Actually Played in ACC
School Players Names
Clemson 1 Brian Dawkins
Duke 1 Sonny Jurgensen
Florida State 2 Derrick Brooks
Walter Jones
North Carolina 2 Chris Hanburger
Lawrence Taylor
Virginia 1 Henry Jordan
Wake Forest 0
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