2014 Hall of Famers trace roots to small schools, Florida State


On Saturday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame opens its doors to seven new members who forever left their mark on the NFL. Before they were stars in the league, however, all seven inductees made a name for themselves as All-Americans at the collegiate level.

College Football 24/7 opened up the history books to take a look back at the diverse careers of the seven members of the Class of 2014. From Florida State to Texas Southern, here's some background on this year's recipients of the famous gold jacket.

Derrick Brooks, Florida State

Drafted: 1st round, 28th overall, 1995 NFL Draft

Brooks was an all-world recruit from the Pensacola area who originally played safety for the Seminoles when he first arrived on campus as a freshman. He was moved to linebacker his second season and saw his career take off in Tallahassee, earning First Team All-ACC honors three times and twice being named a consensus First Team All-American. His play at the position helped Florida State capture the school's first football national championship in 1993 under Bobby Bowden, and he's been a frequent visitor at Seminoles games since he retired from the Buccaneers.

Ray Guy, Southern Mississippi

Drafted: 1st round, 23rd overall, 1973 NFL Draft

Guy has been a part of college football long after he left Hattiesburg thanks to his involvement with the Ray Guy Award that is presented annually to the best collegiate punter. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004 and is the first-ever Golden Eagle player to be enshrined in Canton. Like his later days in Oakland, Guy was a standout for Southern Miss and averaged 44.7 yards per punt (an NCAA record for 200-249 attempts). While his leg is his greatest claim to fame, he was also a standout defensive back in college and holds the school record for most interceptions in a season with eight.

Claude Humphrey, Tennessee State

Drafted: 1st round, third overall, 1968 NFL Draft

The fearsome defensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons actually got his start on the other side of the ball at Tennessee State as an offensive tackle. A Volunteer State native, he grew up in Memphis and then blossomed into a three-time All-American defensive end in Nashville. Humphrey won the national championship for historically black colleges in 1967 with the Tigers and racked up 39 sacks during his time at Tennessee State, good enough for second on the school's career sack list behind fellow Hall of Famer Richard Dent.

Walter Jones, Florida State

Drafted: 1st round, sixth overall, 1997 NFL Draft

Although he played just a season for the Seminoles, he'll likely go down as the most talented offensive lineman to ever don the garnet and gold. After spending time at a community college and redshirting a year, Jones began the 1996 season as the team's left tackle and turned in a dominating performance on the outside while earning second-team All-American honors. Including Brooks, Jones is the fourth Florida State player to be enshrined in Canton and by far the biggest, given his massive size used to hold down the left side.

Andre Reed, Kutztown

Drafted: 4th round, 86th overall, 1985 NFL Draft

Unless you grew up in Pennsylvania or are a die-hard Bills fan, chances are you don't know Reed started for tiny Kutztown back in the early 80's. The Division II program moved the high school quarterback to wide receiver and all Reed did then was turn into one of the best small-school pass catchers of all time. He played for the Golden Bears from 1981-84 while setting numerous school records and later returned to Kutztown to get his degree in 2005.

Michael Strahan, Texas Southern

Drafted: 2nd round, 40th overall, 1993 NFL Draft

The Houston native didn't go too far away from home for college, attending nearby Texas Southern and blossoming into the talented pass rusher that would help bring a Super Bowl title to the New York Giants. His senior year he was named an All-American, and it's not hard to see why after he recorded 19 sacks and 32 tackles for loss. His uncle also played at the school and made it to the NFL. Strahan is a proud alum who is even bringing the school's band to Canton with him this weekend.

Aeneas Williams, Southern

Drafted: 3rd round, 59th overall, 1991 NFL Draft

Williams followed his brother Achilles to Southern but didn't wind up even playing football until he was a junior, preferring instead to focus on academics. That didn't seem to matter in the long run, as he walked onto the team and turned into an All-American for the Jaguars. Williams picked off an incredible 17 passes during his two years with the program and led Division I-AA in 1990 with 11 interceptions. From the stands to the football field to the Hall of Fame, Williams might have the most incredible journey of the six being enshrined this year.

*Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter **@BryanDFischer.*

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