Nebraska great Will Shields is among 16 players and coaches who are part of the 2011 College Football Hall of Fame class. This year's list of inductees was announced on Tuesday in New York City by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
Shields will become the 15th Nebraska player in the College Football Hall of Fame, along with six former Cornhusker coaches. He and the other members of the 2011 Hall of Fame class will officially be inducted in New York City on Dec. 6. Shields is the second Husker in the past three years named to the Hall, joining 2009 inductee Grant Wistrom.
"What an honor," Shields said Wednesday afternoon. "I'm very excited to be chosen to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. As Coach Osborne would say, it is one of those indelible ink moments, that once you are selected into the Hall of Fame, your name will be listed there forever, regardless of what else may happen from this moment on. I'm still pretty much in shock. There so many great players and coaches in the Hall and this literally leaves me speechless."
Shields is part of an outstanding tradition of offensive linemen at Nebraska. The Lawton, Okla., native captured the 1992 Outland Trophy after paving the way for a nation-leading Cornhusker rushing offense for the third time in his four seasons in the program.
Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne, Shields' college coach, said the choice was very well deserved. Osborne is one of six Nebraska coaches in the Hall, having been inducted in 1998, immediately following his retirement.
"Will Shields was a great player for us," Osborne said. "We had some outstanding offensive linemen come through our program and Will was certainly right up near the top of the group.
"He had excellent leadership ability, which he accomplished in a quiet way. He led by example and was a person of outstanding character. During his last two years at Nebraska he served as a mentor to a junior high school boy in the Lincoln Public Schools. This was typical of his willingness to serve other people. After becoming an outstanding player with the Kansas City Chiefs, Will continued to serve young people in the Kansas City area through various charitable organizations. His being named NFL Man of the Year symbolizes his philanthropic spirit. We are very proud of his accomplishments both on and off the field."
A consensus All-American and a Lombardi Award semifinalist as a senior, Shields is one of only six Husker linemen to earn all-conference honors for three straight seasons. As a senior, Shields received votes for Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year and earned All-America honors from Kodak, AP, UPI, Walter Camp and Football News.
During his junior campaign, he was a unanimous selection to the All-Big Eight team and a second-team All-American, helping the Huskers rank first in the conference in rushing offense and total offense.
Shields became the second offensive lineman to play as a true freshman in 1989, appearing in nine games. In his second year, Shields became the first sophomore lineman since College Football Hall of Famer Dave Rimington to earn first-team all-conference honors for NU, helping the Huskers lead the Big Eight in scoring, rushing and total offense. Shields' No. 75 Nebraska jersey was retired at the 1994 Spring Game, one of 17 Nebraska retired jerseys.
Following his collegiate career, Shields was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft. He spent 14 seasons as one of the most dominant offensive linemen in the NFL until retiring after the 2006 season. Shields earned a spot in 12 Pro Bowls and started more than 200 straight games in his brilliant professional career. Shields will become eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
Shields was also one of the most active volunteers and community leaders in the NFL. He is the co-founder of the Will to Succeed Foundation with his wife, Senia. The foundation was organized to guide, inspire and improve the lives of abused and neglected women and children. For his remarkable work with charitable and community organizations, Shields was named the NFL Man of the Year in 2003.
What Others Say About Will Shields' College Football Hall of Fame Selection:
Milt Tenopir, Offensive Line Coach at Nebraska, 1974-2002: " I can't think of a more deserving person to be entering into the College Football Hall of Fame. Will not only proved to be a great football player, but an even better human being. His college and professional careers were played at the highest level. We are very proud of Will."
John Parrella, Nebraska senior DT in 1992: "Not only was he a great football player, but Will is a great man. What he has done for families off the field is his legacy and testimony to who he is. I had the opportunity to play against him in college and in professional football and I don't know that I've seen too many guys play at his level. He is one of the all-time greats! He might be one of the best offensive linemen to play the game."
2011 College Football Hall of Fame Class
- CARLOS ALVAREZ - WR, Florida (1969-71)
- DOUG ENGLISH - DT, Texas (1972-74)
- BILL ENYART - FB, Oregon State (1966-68)
- EDDIE GEORGE - RB, Ohio State (1992-95)
- MARTY LYONS - DT, Alabama (1975-78)
- RUSSELL MARYLAND - DT, Miami, Fla. (1986-90)
- DEION SANDERS - DB, Florida State (1985-88)
- JAKE SCOTT - DB, Georgia (1967-68)
- WILL SHIELDS - OG, Nebraska (1989-92)
- SANDY STEPHENS* - QB, Minnesota (1959-61)
- DARRYL TALLEY - LB, West Virginia (1979-82)
- CLENDON THOMAS** - HB, Oklahoma (1955-57)
- ROB WALDROP - DL, Arizona (1990-93)
- GENE WASHINGTON - WR, Michigan State (1964-66)
* Deceased; ** Selection from FBS Veterans Committee
- LLOYD CARR - 122-40-0 (75.3%) - Michigan (1995-2007)
- FISHER DeBERRY - 169-109-1 (60.8%) - Air Force (1984-2006)