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Michigan State’s Lorenzo White headed to College Football Hall of Fame

One of the greatest players in Michigan State history is headed to the hall of fame.

Former Spartan running back Lorenzo White was announced Monday morning as a member of the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame class.

“I was very, very happy when I received the news,” White said, according to a Michigan State press release. “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.”

White, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., played at Michigan State from 1984-87 and smashed program rushing records. He still ranks first in career rushing yards (4,887), attempts (1,082), touchdowns (43) and rushing yards per game (111.1).

White led Michigan State in rushing all four years he played. As a sophomore in 1985, he had 419 carries for 2,066 yards while 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 and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. He helped lead the Spartans to a Big Ten title in 1987 and a Rose Bowl win against USC.

“I didn’t get a chance to win my ultimate goal of the Heisman Trophy, but this honor is what it’s all about,” White said. “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.”

White was selected No. 22 overall in the first round of the 1988 NFL draft by the Houston Oilers. He played eight years in the league – the first seven with Houston and last with the Cleveland Browns – and had 4,242 rushing yards with 30 touchdowns. He was inducted into the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.

The induction of White will give Michigan State 10 players in the College Football Hall of Fame and he is the second named in the last three years as former wide receiver Kirk Gibson was in the 2017 class. The others are halfback John Pingel (who was inducted in 1968), tackle Don Coleman (1975), linebacker George Webster (1987), defensive end Bubba Smith (1988), safety Brad Van Pelt (2001), receiver Gene Washington (2011), linebacker Percy Snow (2013) and running back Clinton Jones (2015). Former Michigan State coaches Clarence “Biggie” Munn (1959), Charlie Bachman (1978) and Duffy Daugherty (1984) are also in the College Football Hall of Fame.

White was one of 13 players and two coaches named to the College Football Hall of Fame 2019 class on Monday. The other players are Terrell Buckley (Florida State), Rickey Dixon (Oklahoma), London Fletcher (John Carroll), Jacob Green (Texas A&M), Torry Holt (NC State), Raghib Ismail (Notre Dame), Darren McFadden (Arkansas), Jake Plummer (Arizona State), Troy Polamalu (USC), Joe Thomas (Wisconsin), Patrick Willis (Mississippi) and Vince Young (Texas). Dennis Erickson and Joe Taylor were the two coaches named to the class.

The members of the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame class will be formally inducted during the National Football Foundation awards dinner on Dec. 10 in New York.

White was one of four Spartans on this year’s ballot for the hall of fame, joining former players Flozell Adams, Tony Mandarich and former coach Darryl Rogers.

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