The Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2013 included no former player from a historically black college or university (HBCU). However, listed below are ten former HBCU players considered pioneers in the National Football League.
(1) Paul “Tank” Younger (Grambling State) - The first HBCU player in the NFL (1949 – 1958) played fullback and linebacker (All Pro) for the 1951 NFL Champion Los Angeles Rams.
(2) Roosevelt Brown (Morgan State) - First HBCU player enshrined into the NFL Hall of Fame (1975). The eight time All Pro offensive tackle for the New York Giants (1953 – 1965) played on their 1956 NFL Championship team.
(3) Willie Galimore (Florida A & M) – Before Gale Sayers and Walter Payton, Galimore (1957 – 1963) was a star African American halfback for the Chicago Bears. The often injured Second Team All Pro (1958), killed in a 1964 automobile accident while returning to training camp, was a member of the Bears’ 1963 NFL Championship team.
(4) Johnny Sample (Maryland Eastern Shore) – An outspoken cornerback (1958 – 1968) who played on two Baltimore Colts NFL Champions (1958, 1959), the New York Jets Super Bowl III Champions, and had 41 career interceptions.
(5) Willie Davis (Grambling State) - Davis (1958 – 1969) was a five time All Pro defensive end who played on five Green Bay Packer NFL Championship teams (1961, 1962, 1965 -1967), their Super Bowl I and II Champions, and is a 1981 NFL Hall of Fame inductee.
(6) David “Deacon” Jones (South Carolina State, Mississippi Valley State) - The prototype defensive end (1961 – 1974) who consistently “sacked” quarterbacks before official statistics were kept was a five time All Pro and elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1980.
(7) Willie Brown (Grambling State) - NFL Hall of Famer (1984) was a five time All Pro cornerback with 54 career interceptions (1963 – 1978) who played on the Oakland Raiders’ Super Bowl XI Champions.
(8) Willie Lanier (Morgan State) - The NFL Hall of Fame (1986) middle linebacker (1967 – 1977), was a three time All Pro and played on the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl IV Champions.
(9) James Harris (Grambling State) - The first African-American quarterback (1969 – 1979) to lead an NFL team to the playoffs (Los Angeles Rams 1974, 1975).
(10) Doug Williams (Grambling State) - The first African –American quarterback (1978 – 1989) in a Super Bowl, threw four touchdown passes in Washington Redskins’ 42 – 10 victory (Super Bowl XXII); named game’s Most Valuable Player.