Charles Woodson, who helped lead Michigan to a share of the 1997 national championship and the only primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy, will be a member of the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame class.
Woodson, an NFL analyst on ESPN, was surprised during the Sunday NFL Countdown show when he was handed a commemorative football provided by the National Football Foundation. He will be formally inducted Dec. 4.
“How awesome is this?” Woodson posted on Twitter with a photo of the football. “Nothing in life is guaranteed but with HARD WORK it’s certainly possible.”
Woodson becomes the 31st Michigan player to earn induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. The rest of the 2018 class will be revealed Monday.
He was a three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and voted by his teammates the 1997 team’s Most Valuable Player. Woodson was a two-time first-team All-American. In addition to winning the Heisman Trophy in 1997, he also won the Walter Camp Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Chuck Bednarik Award and Jim Thorpe Award.
Many believe his performance against Ohio State that year sealed the Heisman Trophy. He scored on a 78-yard punt return, intercepted a pass in the end zone and caught a 37-yard pass for Michigan’s only offensive touchdown. Michigan defeated Washington State in the Rose Bowl to finish 12-0. In that game, Woodson had an interception and tied a then-Rose Bowl record with four passes broken up.
“The thing that separated Woodson from anyone else, he made big plays in big games,” his teammate, running back Chris Howard, told The Detroit News for a story last fall on the 20th anniversary of the 1997 season. “They were momentum-changing plays. They were plays we needed a spark. There were plays, if he doesn’t make those plays, games are a lot closer. That, to me, separated Charles from everyone.”
Woodson was the fourth overall selection in the 1998 NFL Draft and he played professionally 18 years for the Oakland Raiders (1998-2005, 2013-15) and the Green Bay Packers (2006-12). He was a nine-time Pro Bowler who helped the Packers win Super Bowl XLV following the 2010 season. Woodson was the 1998 Defensive Rookie of the Year and 2009 Defensive Player of the Year.
He has given back to Michigan and established the Charles Woodson Foundation and donated millions of dollars to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital for pediatric research.