Former U-M Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson says he helped bring the Jumpman brand to Michigan on Aug. 2, 2016. By Mark Snyder, DFP.
Charles Woodson, arguably the greatest football player in Michigan history, is about to be a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Woodson has been selected as a member of the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame class. The 1997 Heisman Trophy winner, now an ESPN NFL analyst, was told the news by the rest of his Sunday NFL Countdown colleagues on Sunday.
The rest of the 2018 class will be announced Monday morning.
Woodson will be Michigan’s 31st member of the College Football Hall of Fame, the third-most of any school. Desmond Howard (2010) was the last Michigan player to receive the honor. Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr (2011) was the last coach.
Still the only primarily defensive player to win a Heisman Trophy, Woodson was the star of Michigan’s 1997 national championship season, when he sparked the Wolverines at cornerback, receiver and punt returner on their way to a perfect 12-0 record.
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A two-time All-American and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Woodson finished his three-year college career with 18 interceptions and a then school-record 30 pass breakups. The Fremont, Ohio native had several highlight moments in 1997, including a 78-yard punt return for a score against Ohio State to help Michigan clinch a perfect regular season and Big Ten championship. He also picked off a pass in the end zone and made a 37-yard reception to set up a score.
In the Rose Bowl against Washington State, Woodson picked off another pass in the end zone and made a then Rose Bowl record four pass breakups to help the Wolverines to a 21-16 win over the Ryan Leaf-led Cougars.
The big moments were always Woodson’s specialty at Michigan.
As a freshman in 1995, Woodson picked off two passes in an upset win over No. 2 Ohio State. His one-handed sideline interception at Michigan State in 1997 is still a highlight-reel classic, and it was one of two picks he had in that game.
In a battle of unbeaten teams at Penn State in 1997, Woodson hauled in a 37-yard touchdown pass to spark a dominant 34-8 victory that pushed the Wolverines to No. 1 nationally and officially sent his Heisman campaign to the next level.
He capped it off against Ohio State in the regular-season finale, living up to his billing as a big-game player with his dazzling punt return that continues to serve as one of the most replayed moments in Michigan football history.
He beat out Peyton Manning, Leaf and Randy Moss to win Michigan’s third Heisman Trophy that year, joining Howard and Tom Harmon.
His storied career continued in the NFL, where Woodson became the only player in league history to record at least 50 interceptions and 20 sacks in an 18-year career that featured a Super Bowl victory, nine Pro Bowls, four All-Pro selections and an NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.
The 2018 College Football Hall of Fame class will be inducted on Dec. 4 in New York.
To be eligible for the College Football Hall of Fame, a player must have received first-team All-America honors from an NCAA-recognized body, be 10 years removed from his college career, have played within the past 50 years and be retired from football.
Woodson became eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2017, making him a first-ballot selection.
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