The leader of Penn State’s greatest offense has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
Kerry Collins, a Lebanon native who finished his high school career at Wilson, is part of the hall of fame class of 2018 announced Monday by the National Football Foundation.
“I am extremely honored to be included in the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018,” Collins said. “I was surrounded by great players and coaches during my time at Penn State, and was fortunate to have been part of an unbelievably talented undefeated 1994 Big Ten Championship team.
“My years at Penn State were special, and I am eternally grateful for the support and guidance I received there as a student-athlete.’’
Collins will be inducted to the Hall of Fame December 4, 2018 at the NFF’s annual awards dinner in New York City.
Collins played at Penn State from 1991-94, during which the Nittany Lions went 40-9 and won the Fiesta, Citrus and Rose Bowls.
But he truly emerged, as the offense around him did, in a ‘94 season in which Penn State went undefeated, won the Big Ten title and routed Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
That offense, which included five eventual first-round NFL draft picks, led the nation in scoring (47.8 ppg) and total offense (520.2 ypg), and broke 14 school and Big Ten records. Its’ 48.1 points per game in Big Ten games remains a record.
Collins was named first-team all-America, won the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien Awards and the Big Ten Silver Football in ‘94. He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. A teammate, running back Ki-Jana Carter, finished second.
During his career, Collins broke Penn State season records for completions (176), passing yardage (2,679), completion percentage (66.7, 176-of-264), pass efficiency (172.86), yards per pass attempt (10.15 ypa), touchdown passes in consecutive games (all 11 regular season games), consecutive passes completed, and total offense (2,660). He still holds the season records for completion percentage, yards per attempt and pass efficiency.
“On what was arguably one of the most dynamic offenses ever assembled, Kerry Collins was the driving force that made it go,” Fran Ganter, the Nittany Lions’ offensive coordinator from 1984-2003, said Monday.
“He was an inspiration to his teammates in the way he prepared and the way he practiced. He possessed great character, was a terrific competitor, really tough, really smart and carried an air of poise and confidence no matter what the situation.
“A group that included first-round draft picks, All-Americans and future NFL players looked to him for leadership, and did he ever deliver.’’
Collins was selected by the then-expansion Carolina Panthers in the first round of the 1995 NFL draft. He played 17 pro seasons and led the New York Giants to the Super Bowl in 2000. He is the 25th Penn Stater - 19 players and six coaches - to make the college hall of fame. The last was Shane Conlan in 2014.