The finalist list has 20 players and five coaches/contributors selected from more than 125 nominees. Seven (six players, one coach/contributor) will be selected for the Hall's Class of 2014. They will be announced Oct. 23, and induction will be March 1, 2014, in Atlanta.
The Black College Football Hall of Fame was established to honor the greatest football players, coaches and contributors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Each inductee's college or university will receive a $5,000 grant to support continuing academic and athletic opportunities at their respective institutions.
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The 20 player finalists: RB Emerson Boozer, Maryland-Eastern Shore (1962-65); LB Robert Brazile, Jackson State (1971-75); OL Roger Brown, Maryland-Eastern Shore (1956-59); WR Harold Carmichael, Southern (1967-70); DE Richard Dent, Tennessee State (1979-82); DE L.C. Greenwood, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1965-68); WR Harold Jackson, Jackson State (1965-68); RB Leroy Kelly, Morgan State (1960-63); DT Ernie "Big Cat" Ladd, Grambling (1957-60); DL Jethro Pugh, Elizabeth City State (1961-64); DB Donnie Shell, South Carolina State (1970-73); WR John Stallworth, Alabama A&M (1970-73); DE Michael Strahan, Texas Southern (1989-92); QB Ken Riley, Florida A&M (1965-68); QB Willie "Satellite" Totten, Mississippi Valley State (1982-85); WR Otis Taylor, Prairie View (1961-64); QB/DB Emmitt Thomas, Bishop (Texas) (1962-65); DB Everson Walls, Grambling (1977-80); OL Doug Wilkerson, North Carolina Central (1966-69); and CB Aeneas William, Southern (1987-90).
The five coach/contributor finalists: Alcorn State coach Marino Casem (1963-92), Tennessee State defensive coordinator Joe Gilliam Sr. (1963-83), Central State (Ohio) and Florida A&M coach Billy Joe (Central State 1981-1993, FAMU 1994-2004), Grambling president Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones (1936-77) and Southern coach Arnett Mumford (1927-61).
Since the Hall's inception in 2010, 44 members -- including Grambling's Buck Buchanan, Mississippi Valley State's David "Deacon" Jones, Bethune-Cookman's Larry Little, Alcorn State's Steve McNair, Jackson State's Walter Payton, Mississippi Valley State's Jerry Rice and Grambling coach Eddie Robinson -- have been inducted and more than $172,000 in scholarships has been awarded to historically black colleges and universities.
The Hall was founded by former NFL quarterbacks James "Shack" Harris and Doug Williams, both of whom attended Grambling. Harris is a senior personnel executive for the Detroit Lions.