AMES, Iowa – Iowa State’s Troy Davis is one of the greatest running backs in college football history. His unprecedented exploits on the gridiron were cemented forever when it was announced today he is one of 16 players/coaches who will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2016.
“I am extremely honored and humbled to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame,” Davis said. “This was one of my goals when I first came to Iowa State. Twenty years later and I made it! This is a true blessing and I want to thank God and everybody in Ames, Iowa who kept pushing me. I didn’t win the Heisman, but I made the College Football Hall of Fame.”
Davis’ induction was announced by the National Football Foundation’s (NFF) College Football Hall of Fame. The award represents the highest level of achievement in college football for players and coaches. The annual awards dinner is slated for Dec. 6 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
“This a monumental honor for Troy, Iowa State football and for the tradition of this program,” Iowa State head football coach Matt Campbell said. “He defines what it means to play at this university. Troy has reached the pinnacle of college football and it says a lot about him. To rush for 2,000 yards in back-to-back seasons against the competition he was going against is ridiculous. It says the world about him and his Cyclone teammates and coaches who put him in a position to have great success.”
Davis’ accomplishments at Iowa State are well-documented. The hard-nosed, stocky running back shattered virtually every school rushing record in his three-year tenure with the Cyclones (1994-96), earning the distinction as ISU’s only two-time first-team consensus All-American and the school’s only player to be invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony twice. He finished second to Danny Weurffel (Florida) in the 1996 Heisman Trophy race.
The Miami, Florida, native is the only player in Division I (FBS) college football history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season twice, leading the nation in rushing in 1995 (2,010) and 1996 (2,185).
Much of Davis’ success belongs to former Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney. McCarney was hired as the Cyclone mentor prior to Davis’ sophomore campaign. It didn’t take McCarney very long to figure out he had a thoroughbred ready to bust out.
“Troy rushed for 2,000 yards in back-to-back seasons and still nobody else has done it,” McCarney said. “All these years have passed and nobody has done it two years in a row. That’s pretty amazing. I was a part of the Iowa State family for a number of years and I was so lucky to be able to witness Troy do what he did. This is the highest honor in all of college football and he was the main subject in one of the greatest chapters in the history of Iowa State football. As we worked to lay our foundation for future success, there was no chance we could have done it without Troy Davis. He brought respect and honor to our program. He is so special. I have been around a lot of great teams and I have still never seen another player like Troy Davis.”
In Davis’ historic 1996 season, he rushed for over 130 yards in all 11 games, including a school-record 378 yards vs. Missouri, the third-best rushing effort in NCAA history at the time. His 2,185 yards rushing as a junior is the third-best season total in NCAA history in an 11-game schedule (Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State, 2,628; Marcus Allen, USC, 2,342).
He still owns Iowa State career records in rushing (4,382), all-purpose yards (5,177), 100-yard games (21), 200-yard games (9) and rushing touchdowns (36).
Davis chose to forgo his senior season and was selected in the second round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He played three seasons with the Saints before switching to the Canadian Football League (CFL). He emerged as one of the top backs in the CFL, racking up five-straight 1,000-yard seasons in the pass-happy league.
Davis is the second Cyclone player inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, joining All-American guard Ed Bock (1936-38), who was enshrined in 1970. Former Cyclone coaches Pop Warner and Earle Bruce have also been inducted.
John Cooper, a three-year letterwinner for the Cyclones (1959-61), was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008 for his contributions as a head coach at Tulsa, Arizona State and Ohio State. Former Iowa State head coach Johnny Majors was enshrined as a player in 1987.
Davis was inducted into the Iowa State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.
Courtesy: Iowa State Athletics