Lorenzo White, one of the greatest players in the history of Michigan State, is headed to the College Football Hall of Fame.
The former Spartan running back was named to the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame class Monday morning. White released the following statement via a Michigan State press releases:
“I was very, very happy when I received the news. A lot of people expected it, but then you just never know. When I found out, I was like ‘oh my God, it happened,’ so it was very exciting.”
“I didn’t get a chance to win my ultimate goal of the Heisman Trophy, but this honor is what it’s all about. I’ve always been a team player. I couldn’t have done this without everyone that blocked for me and everybody that played defense so we could get the ball, and I say that on defense because they were just as excited to get the ball for me so I could have a chance to accomplish these records.”
“I can’t just thank one person. That team part is really important to me. You have the offensive line, the tight ends, the quarterbacks, the receivers, they all had a hand in throwing a block somewhere. But I definitely have to thank Coach (George) Perles because of the way he handled me and getting it all kicked off and started.”
This was the ninth time that Lorenzo White was nominated for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. For those who follow the Spartans and are familiar with White’s career, the recognition feels overdue.
Michigan State Career
White played at Michigan State from 1984-87 and forever cemented his name in the team’s record books. In 46 games for the Spartans, White rushed for 4,887 yards (4.5 per carry), 43 touchdowns, and lead the team in rushing for four consecutive seasons. He also added 37 receptions and 265 receiving yards.
To this day, White is the most accomplished running back in Michigan State history ranking first in rushing yards, rushing attempts (1,082), rushing touchdowns, and 100-yard games (23).
As a sophomore in 1985, White carried the ball 419 times for 2,066 yards averaging 172.2 yards per game – all of which still stand as single-season program records.
In both 1985 and 1987, White was named a first-team All-American, finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting, and won the UPI’s Big Ten Player of the Year award.
As a senior in 1987, White helped lead the Spartans to their first Rose Bowl since 1965. In the game, he ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the USC Trojans.
White becomes the 10th former Michigan State player to be selected for the College Football Hall of Fame, joining halfback John Pingel (1968), tackle Don Coleman (1975), linebacker George Webster (1987), defensive end Bubba Smith (1988), safety Brad Van Pelt (2001), wide receiver Gene Washington (2011), linebacker Percy Snow (2013), running back Clinton Jones (2015), and wide receiver Kirk Gibson (2017).
Former MSU head coaches Clarence “Biggie” Munn (1959), Charles Bachman (1978), Duffy Daugherty (1984), and Frank “Muddy” Waters (2000) are also members of the College Football Hall of Fame.
As the latest Spartan to join the College Football Hall of Fame, White’s name will be added to Spartan Stadium’s “Ring of Fame” this upcoming season.
Following a stellar career at Michigan State, Lorenzo White was drafted by the Houston Oilers with the No. 22 overall pick in the 1988 NFL draft. Over his eight-year NFL career, White ran for 4,242 yards and 30 touchdowns. White’s best pro season was in 1992 when he ran for 1,226 yards and seven touchdowns on his way to the Pro Bowl. White played his first seven seasons for the Oilers and his last with the Cleveland Browns.
2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class
Joining White in the College Football Hall of Fame as part of the 2019 class will be:
- Terrell Buckley (Florida State, 1989-91)
- Rickey Dixon (Oklahoma, 1984-87)
- London Fletcher (John Carroll, 1995-97)
- Jacob Green (Texas A&M, 1977-79)
- Torry Holt (North Carolina State, 1995-98)
- Raghib “Rocket” Ismail (Notre Dame, 1988-90)
- Darren McFadden (Arkansas, 2005-07)
- Jake Plummer (Arizona State, 1993-96)
- Joe Thomas (Wisconsin, 2003-06)
- Patrick Willis (Mississippi, 2003-06)
- Vince Young (Texas, 2003-05)
Dennis Erickson (Miami) and Joe Taylor will also be enshrined as coaches.
The ceremony takes place Dec. 10 in New York City during the National Football Foundation awards dinner.