IRVING, Texas (Oct. 26, 2021) – Ohio State University and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that they will jointly honor 2020 College Football Hall of Fame electee Keith Byars with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments. The Salute will take place this Saturday, Oct. 30, during the Buckeyes’ home football game against Penn State. Coverage of the game will start at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
“I am honored and blessed to join this club,” Byars tweeted after the announcement in March 2020.
The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program, which began with the inaugural College Football Hall of Fame Class in 1951, has become a hallowed tradition, and to this day the singular events remain the first of numerous activities in the Hall of Fame experience.
During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each electee returns to his respective school to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will stay on permanent display at the institution. The events take place on the field during a home game, and many Hall of Famers cite the experience as the ultimate capstone to their careers, providing them one more chance to take the field and be recognized in front of their home crowd.
The 2020 and 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Classes will be officially inducted during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas Dec. 7 at the ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas. (The 2020 event was canceled due to COVID-19.)
“Keith Byars was Ohio State’s go-to offensive weapon during his time in Columbus, and he has one of the greatest individual seasons in college football history in 1984,’” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are thrilled to honor him at the Horseshoe.”
A 1984 unanimous First Team All-American and the Heisman Trophy runner-up, Byars led the nation that season in rushing yards (1,764), all-purpose yards (2,441) and scoring (144). The 1984 Big Ten MVP claimed first team all-conference honors for the second consecutive year while guiding the Buckeyes to the Big Ten title and a trip to the Rose Bowl. Byars’ all-purpose yards from his prolific 1984 campaign remain a single-season school record and rank fourth all-time in the Big Ten.
His standout game in 1984 came in a comeback win over Illinois in which he rushed for 274 yards and five touchdowns, which is tied for an Ohio State single-game record. On his fourth touchdown of the game, Byars famously lost his left shoe at the Illini 40 but never broke stride. His 354 all-purpose yards against Purdue in 1984 also remain a single-game school record.
A 1985 team captain, Byars guided the Buckeyes to four top 15 finishes, including a No. 9 ranking in 1983. He led Ohio State to three wins in four bowl games, highlighted by a win over Pittsburgh in the 1984 Fiesta Bowl in which he returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and added another score rushing.
Despite missing most of his final season with an injury, Byars remains second in Ohio State history with 50 total touchdowns and ranks in the top 10 in career all-purpose yards (4,369) and career rushing yards (3,200). He surpassed 100 yards rushing in 17 games and twice led the Big Ten in rushing while playing for College Football Hall of Fame coach Earle Bruce and alongside Hall of Fame linebacker Chris Spielman. Byars was inducted into the Ohio State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000.
Selected 10th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1986 NFL Draft, Byars played 13 seasons with the Eagles (1986-92), Miami Dolphins (1993-96), New England Patriots (1996-97) and New York Jets (1998). He earned Pro Bowl honors in 1993 and helped the Patriots to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXI following the 1996 season.
Byars can currently be heard on ESPN 1410 WING-AM in Dayton, Ohio, hosting “The Keith Byars Show” on Mondays and calling high school football games on Fridays.
Byars becomes the 26th Buckeye player in the College Football Hall of Fame, joining Warren Amling (1944-46), Howard “Hopalong” Cassady (1952-55), Tom Cousineau (1975-78), Jim Daniell (1939-41), Bob Ferguson (1959-61), Wes Fesler (1928-30), Eddie George (1992-95), Randy Gradishar (1971-73), Archie Griffin (1972-75), Chic Harley (1916-17, 1919), John Hicks (1970, 1972-73), Les Horvath (1940-42, 1944), Jim Houston (1957-59), Vic Janowicz (1949-51), Gomer Jones (1933-35), Rex Kern (1968-70), Orlando Pace (1994-96), Jim Parker (1954-56), Chris Spielman (1984-87), Jim Stillwagon (1968-70), Gaylord Stinchcomb (1917, 1919-20), Jack Tatum (1968-70), Aurealius Thomas (1955-57), Bill Willis (1942-44) and Gust Zarnas (1935-37).
Seven former Ohio State coaches are also in the Hall: Earle Bruce (1979-87), John Cooper (1988–2000), Woody Hayes (1951-78), Howard Jones (1910), Francis Schmidt (1934-40), Jim Tressel (2001-10) and John Wilce (1913-28).
The 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class includes Lomas Brown (Florida), Keith Byars (Ohio State), Eric Crouch (Nebraska), Eric Dickerson (SMU), Glenn Dorsey (LSU), John “Jumbo” Elliott (Michigan), Jason Hanson (Washington State), E.J. Henderson (Maryland), E.J. Junior (Alabama), Steve McNair (Alcorn State), Cade McNown (UCLA), Leslie O’Neal (Oklahoma State), Anthony Poindexter (Virginia), David Pollack (Georgia), Bob Stein (Minnesota), Michael Westbrook (Colorado), Elmo Wright (Houston) and coaches Dick Sheridan (Furman, North Carolina State), and Andy Talley (St. Lawrence [NY], Villanova).
The 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class includes Harris Barton (North Carolina), David Fulcher (Arizona State), Dan Morgan (Miami [FL]), Carson Palmer (Southern California), Tony Romo (Eastern Illinois), Kenneth Sims (Texas), C.J. Spiller (Clemson), Darren Sproles (Kansas State), Aaron Taylor (Notre Dame), Andre Tippett (Iowa), Al Wilson (Tennessee) and coaches Rudy Hubbard (Florida A&M) and Bob Stoops (Oklahoma).
The accomplishments of both classes will be forever immortalized at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, and each inductee will receive a custom ring created by Jostens, the official and exclusive supplier of NFF rings.
Including the 2020 and 2021 Hall of Fame Classes, only 1,038 players and 223 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 5.47 million who have played or coached the game during the past 152 years. In other words, less than two one-hundredths of a percent (.02%) of the individuals who have played the game have earned this distinction.Currently Scheduled NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes,
Presented by Fidelity Investments
(Chronological Order)Date – Honoree (Hall of Fame Class) – School (Opponent)
- Oct. 30 – Keith Byars (2020) – Ohio State (vs. Penn State)
- Oct. 30 – E.J. Henderson (2020) – Maryland (vs. Indiana)
- Oct. 30 – Coach Dick Sheridan (2020) – NC State (vs. Louisville)
- Nov. 6 – David Fulcher (2021) – Arizona State (vs. Southern California)
- Nov. 13 – Steve McNair (2020) – Alcorn State (vs. Prairie View A&M)*
- Nov. 13 – Coach Andy Talley (2020) – Villanova (vs. Stony Brook)
- Nov. 13 – Andre Tippett (2021) – Iowa (vs. Minnesota)
- Nov. 20 – Dan Morgan (2021) – Miami [FL] (vs. Virginia Tech)
- Nov. 26 – Kenneth Sims (2021) – Texas (vs. Kansas State)
- Nov. 27 – Lomas Brown (2020) – Florida (vs. Florida State)
- Nov. 27 – Eric Dickerson (2020) – SMU (vs. Tulsa)
- Nov. 27 – Glenn Dorsey (2020) – LSU (vs. Texas A&M)
Fidelity Investments has served as the national presenting sponsor of the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes since 2010. The salutes are one component of a multi-year initiative between the two organizations to celebrate the scholar-athlete ideal and a joint commitment to higher education. Fidelity is also the presenting sponsor of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, and it helped launch the NFF Faculty Salutes in 2011, which recognize the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives around the country.
About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Future for Football, The William V. Campbell Trophy®, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Catapult, Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Goodyear, Jostens, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the New York Athletic Club and the Sports Business Journal. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NFFNetwork and learn more at footballfoundation.org.
COURTESY NFF AND OSU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS