The College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will have a pair of Duke connections among the 13 members.Former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning, who headlines the class and retired following an 18-year NFL career, was coached in college by current Duke head coach David Cutcliffe. Manning and brother Eli, who played for Cutcliffe at Ole Miss, have remained close to Cutcliffe and have been frequent visitors to Duke.When Manning was recovering from career-threatening neck surgery in 2011-2012, he conducted workouts at Duke, under Cutcliffe’s eye, to determine if he would be able to return to the NFL.The Hall of Fame class also includes former Duke coach Steve Spurrier. The “Ole Ball Coach” was inducted as a player in 1986, 20 years after his Heisman Trophy season at Florida. He now becomes the fourth person inducted as both a player and a coach, joining Bobby Dodd, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Bowden Wyatt. He’s the first to receive both honors in 20 years.Spurrier took over as head coach of Duke the year after his first Hall of Fame induction, after three years as a head coach in the USFL.In his three years at Duke, Spurrier won two ACC Coach of the Year Awards and the 1989 ACC championship, becoming the first Duke team since 1962 to do so.Spurrier left Duke and returned to his alma mater, where he coached the Gators to the 1996 national championship.Spurrier is the fourth Duke head coach to be enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame, joining Howard Jones (coached Duke in 1924, inducted in 1951), current football stadium namesake Wallace Wade (coached Duke from 1931-1941, inducted in 1955) and Rocky Mount’s Bill Murray (coached Duke from 1951-1965, inducted in 1974).In addition, former Duke player and head coach Mike McGee was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1990. McGee was an All-American guard for Duke in the late 1950s and returned to his alma mater to coach from 1971-1978.McGee is one of nine former Duke players enshrined. The others are Waynesville’s Fred Crawford (played tackle/end 1932-33, inducted in 1973), Al DeRogatis (All-American tackle in 1948, inducted in 1986), Asheville’s Dan Hill (All-American linebacker/center 1936-1939, inducted in 1962), Chapel Hill’s Clarkston Hines (played wide receiver for Spurrier from 1986-1989, inducted in 2010), Steve Lach (played halfback, 1939-1942, inducted in 1980), George McAfee (played halfback from 1937-1939, inducted in 1961), Ace Parker (All-American running back 1934-1936, inducted in 1955) and Eric Tipton (played running back and punter from 1936-1938, inducted in 1965).The class was announced prior to the national championship game and will be inducted at the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December 5, 2017, at the New York Hilton Midtown. They will also be honored at the 2018 Peach Bowl.Former Clemson and Arkansas coach Danny Ford was selected to the 2017 class. Marshall Faulk, Kirk Gibson and Brian Urlacher were among the other players selected.Notre Dame linebacker Bob Crable (1978-81), USC quarterback Matt Leinart (2003-05), Texas offensive tackle Bob McKay (1968-69), Texas A&M linebacker Dat Nguyen (1995-98), Georgia Southern running back Adrian Peterson (1998-2001), Boston College nose guard Mike Ruth (1982-85) and Mount Union coach Larry Kehres, who was 332-24-3 from 1986 to 2012, round out the rest of this year’s Hall of Fame class.
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