EAST LANSING, Mich. – Former Michigan State two-time All-American Percy Snow is one of 12 players and two coaches named to the College Football Hall of Fame Tuesday, May 7. ESPN commentator Rece Davis announced the 2013 Class at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York City.
A four-year letterman and three-year starter for Coach George Perles from 1986-89, Snow helped Michigan State to a combined record of 29-16-2 during his career, including three postseason bowl appearances (1988 Rose Bowl, 1989 Gator Bowl and 1989 Aloha Bowl). A two-time first-team All-American and three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, he led the Spartans in tackles for three consecutive seasons from 1987-89.
"This is the highest individual honor, but it certainly isn't something I could have accomplished alone," Snow said. "This is the result of teamwork. My teammates and coaches all played a vital role. I'm both humble and grateful for this recognition, and I accept this honor on behalf of Michigan State University.
"There's no other place like Michigan State. When I talked to other guys I played with (in the pros), some of them didn't talk about their universities. In fact, some had never returned to campus after they left. But when I come here, every time I come back to the university, I see a glow. It lights up, it starts all over again for me."
"Percy Snow is certainly deserving of this honor," Perles said. "Offenses simply dreaded playing against him because he didn't just make the tackle; he damaged people. Percy was the hardest-hitting kid that played at Michigan State in many, many years. He was the nucleus of those great defensive units in the late 1980s."
The Canton, Ohio, native burst onto the scene as a sophomore, recording 127 tackles while helping MSU win the 1987 Big Ten Championship. He started all 12 games at middle linebacker and played more minutes (320:30) than any other defensive player. Snow anchored a Spartan defensive unit that led the Big Ten (conference games) in rushing defense (37.6 yards per game), total defense (184.5 ypg.) and scoring defense (7.6 points per game). He posted 13 tackles at Notre Dame, including two sacks (17 yards). Snow was selected 1988 Rose Bowl MVP after recording 17 tackles, including 15 solo stops, in MSU's 20-17 victory over No. 16 USC.
"After we won and came home, and we were greeted at the airport, with the fans and support, I think that right there was it for me," Snow said. "That was the benchmark acceptance. When we stepped off that plane and I was holding that Rose Bowl MVP trophy up in the air, that was the fondest moment for me."
As a junior in 1988, he produced a then-school record 164 tackles, as the Spartans once again led the Big Ten (conference games) in rushing defense (96.5 ypg.) and scoring defense (9.5 ppg.). Snow was named first-team All-American by The Sporting News. He registered 17 stops in the season opener against Rutgers and made 16 solo tackles at Michigan. Snow recorded a combined total of 37 tackles in back-to-back games against Ohio State (18) and at Purdue (season-high 19). He closed out the season with a 14-tackle performance against Georgia in the 1989 Gator Bowl.
As a 6-foot-3, 240-pound senior, Snow became first player in college football history to win both the Butkus Award (top linebacker) and the Lombardi Award (top lineman) in the same year (1989). The consensus first-team All-American also finished eighth in Heisman Trophy balloting as a senior. His career-best 172 tackles led the Big Ten in 1989. Snow reached double figures in tackles 11 times as a senior, including a career-high 23 stops against Illinois. Snow tallied a career-best seven tackles for loss (23 yards) and blocked three kicks in 1989. MSU paced the Big Ten in rushing defense for the third year in a row, allowing 86.0 yards per game in league play. The Spartans also led the conference (league games) in total defense (281.4 ypg.)
His 473 career tackles rank second on MSU's all-time list. His career totals include 17 tackles for loss (57 yards), four sacks (26 yards), six interceptions and 10 passes defended.
Snow was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round (No. 13 overall) of the 1990 National Football League Draft. He started 14 of 15 games for the Chiefs in 1990 and earned All-Rookie honors after being credited with 69 tackles, including two sacks (18 yards), an interception and 11 quarterback pressures. Snow spent five years in the NFL, including three seasons in Kansas City (1990-92) and two more in Chicago (1993-94).
In 1996, Snow was selected to MSU's Centennial Super Squad in a poll conducted by the Lansing State Journal. In 2010, he was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame.
Snow becomes the seventh former Michigan State player to be selected for the College Football Hall of Fame, joining halfback John Pingel (inducted in 1968), tackle Don Coleman (1975), linebacker George Webster (1987), defensive end Bubba Smith (1988), safety
Brad Van Pelt (2001) and wide receiver Gene Washington (2011). As MSU's latest inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, his name will be added to Spartan Stadium's "Ring of Fame" at the Nov. 2 game against Michigan (kickoff TBD).
Snow will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame at the NFF College Football Hall of Fame's 56th Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 10 at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City.
The 2013 Class also features former N.C. State tailback Ted Brown (1975-78), Arizona defensive end Tedy Bruschi (1992-95), Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne (1996-99), Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier (1992-95), Texas defensive back Jerry Gray (1981-84), Kentucky end Steve Meilinger (1951-53), Ohio State offensive tackle Orlando Pace (1994-96), Oklahoma linebacker Rod Shoate (1972-74), Miami-Fla. quarterback Vinny Testaverde (1982, 1984-86), Baylor quarterback Don Trull (1961-63) and Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel (1993-96) plus former head coaches Wayne Hardin (Navy, 1959-64; Temple, 1970-82) and Bill McCartney (Colorado, 1982-94).