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Kerry Collins elected to College Football Hall of Fame

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Quarterback Kerry Collins. - AP

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Quarterback Kerry Collins was announced as part of the 2018 class of College Football Hall of Fame honorees Monday morning, making him the 25th former Nittany Lion to join the elite group.

Collins, who was on the ballot for the third time, is the first Penn State player to be named to the Hall of Fame since Shane Conlan was elected in 2014. Collins helped lead Penn State to a 40-9 record from 1991-94 and claimed the Maxwell Award in 1994 as the Lions went 12-0.

"I am extremely honored to be included in the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018,” Collins said in a statement. “I was surrounded by great players and coaches during my time at Penn State, and was fortunate to have been part of an unbelievably talented undefeated 1994 Big Ten Championship team. My years at Penn State were special, and I am eternally grateful for the support and guidance I received there as a student-athlete. I would like to congratulate the other members of this year's class, and to also thank the National Football Foundation for the privilege of joining the long list of Nittany Lions previously inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame."

Collins, the fifth overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers, is Penn State's last quarterback selected in the first round. The West Lawn native also is the first member of the 1994 Penn State team to join the College Football Hall of Fame ranks. Running back Ki-Jana Carter finished second in the 1994 Heisman Trophy race, while Collins finished fourth.

“We couldn’t be happier for Kerry on being elected into the College Football Hall of Fame,” James Franklin said in a statement. “It is a well-deserved honor for a guy whose contributions to Penn State will never be forgotten, including the memorable undefeated season and Rose Bowl win in 1994. He furthered his Penn State legacy with an outstanding NFL career and a history of giving back. Kerry is a true Penn Stater in every sense of the word.”

Former Nittany Lions guard Steve Wisniewski, a three-year starter, two-time All-America honoree and a member of the Lions' 1986 National Championship team, didn't make the list of finalists.

Members of the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame class will be inducted Dec. 4 in New York City at the National Football Foundation Awards dinner. Collins also will be honored campus in the Fall.

Other former players joining Collins the 2018 class include:

Trevor Cobb - RB, Rice (1989-92)
Dave Dickenson - QB, Montana (1992-95)
Dana Howard - LB, Illinois (1991-94)
Calvin Johnson - WR, Georgia Tech (2004-06)
Paul Palmer - RB, Temple (1983-86)
Ed Reed - DB, Miami (1998-2001)
Matt Stinchcomb - OT, Georgia (1995-98)
Aaron Taylor- C/OG, Nebraska (1994-97)
Charles Woodson - DB, Michigan (1995-97)

Coaches who will be inducted along with the 2018 class include:

Frank Beamer - 280-144-4; Murray State (1981-86), Virginia Tech (1987-2015)
Mack Brown - 244-122-1; Appalachian State (1983), Tulane (1985-87), North Carolina (1988-97), Texas (1998-2013)
Mel Tjeerdsma - 242-82-4; Austin College [Texas] (1984-93), Northwest Missouri State (1994-2010)

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