Record crowd of nearly 2,000 people saw the historic induction of both the 2020 and 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Classes.


LAS VEGAS (Dec. 7, 2021) – The ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas played host to an all-star cast of history’s greatest football legends and the sport’s most promising student-athletes during tonight’s 63rd National Football Foundation (NFF) Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas.


With a record crowd of nearly 2,000 people in attendance and countless more watching on ESPN3, the event will be remembered as the biggest in NFF history with the unprecedented induction of two College Football Hall of Fame Classes. Unable to take place in 2020 because of the pandemic, tonight’s triumphant return of the NFF Annual Awards Dinner featured the star-studded 2020 and 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Classes, who took center stage as they received college football’s ultimate honor.

The NFF also honored 13 of the game’s current-leading student-athletes, who collected $241,000 in postgraduate scholarships as members of the 2021 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments.


The festivities began with Iowa State tight end Charlie Kolar being declared the recipient of the 32nd William V. Campbell Trophy® as the top football scholar-athlete in the nation and receiving a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship. The evening culminated with the College Football Hall of Fame inductions and a rousing speech from 2021 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Coach Bob Stoops, who responded on behalf of both classes.


The 63rd edition marked the first time the NFF Annual Awards Dinner was held outside of New York City. Standout ESPN broadcaster Rece Davis, the host of the Emmy Award-winning “College GameDay Built by The Home Depot,” entertained the crowd as the emcee for the annual celebration, which lived up to its historic role of bringing the college football community together at the end of the regular season to pay tribute to the game and its greatest legends. This year’s dinner was especially momentous as it was the first large gathering of the leaders of college football in nearly two years.

The 2020 and 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Classes were introduced by NFF Board Member Archie Griffin, a Hall of Fame running back from Ohio State, while NFF Chairman and Hall of Fame inductee Archie Manning (Mississippi) conducted the Official Hall of Fame Ring Ceremony.


The 2020 Class included Lomas Brown (Florida), Keith Byars (Ohio State), Eric Crouch (Nebraska), Eric Dickerson (Southern Methodist), Glenn Dorsey (LSU), John Elliott (Michigan), Jason Hanson (Washington State), E.J. Henderson (Maryland), E.J. Junior (Alabama), the late Steve McNair (Alcorn State – represented by his widow, Mechelle), Cade McNown (UCLA), Leslie O’Neal (Oklahoma State), Anthony Poindexter (Virginia), David Pollack (Georgia), Bob Stein (Minnesota), Michael Westbrook (Colorado), Elmo Wright (Houston) and coaches Dick Sheridan (Furman, North Carolina State) and Andy Talley (St. Lawrence [NY], Villanova).


The 2021 Class included Harris Barton (North Carolina), David Fulcher (Arizona State), Dan Morgan (Miami [FL]), Carson Palmer (Southern California), Tony Romo (Eastern Illinois), Kenneth Sims (Texas), C.J. Spiller (Clemson), Darren Sproles (Kansas State), Aaron Taylor (Notre Dame), Andre Tippett (Iowa), Al Wilson (Tennessee) and coaches Rudy Hubbard (Florida A&M) and Bob Stoops (Oklahoma).

The 28 players and four coaches bring the total number of players in the College Football Hall of Fame to 1,038 and the number of coaches to 223. Coach Stoops, Oklahoma’s winningest head coach who posted an impressive 79.8 winning percentage and led the Sooners to the 2000 national championship, responded on behalf of both College Football Hall of Fame Classes.


“Our journey here was not completed alone,” said Coach Stoops in thanking those that helped the inductees to the Hall of Fame. “No one gets to this day us without an extensive support system over the years from our families, our former teammates and coaches, our assistant coaches, our support staffs, all of these remarkable people have played different roles in our success. Some are in the spotlight with us, and some behind the scenes.”


Coach Stoops continued discussing the importance of the game of football:


“Football teaches young people so many vital lessons,” said Stoops. “Think about what’s required to play football: endurance, perseverance, mental and physical strength, struggle and sacrifice, sweat and tears, will and discipline. But the game also gives back for a lifetime, providing satisfaction and joy in the success and respecting humility in defeat. It allows us to experience the importance of teamwork.


“It helps us develop lifelong relationships with people from different backgrounds. It breeds self-awareness, confidence, self-esteem and maybe most importantly, it teaches us toughness…Football is hard. But so is life. Nothing you value in life is worth more than something you’ve worked and struggled for.”



The 2020 and 2021 Hall of Fame Classes combined included 28 First Team All-Americans, four coaches, three NFF National Scholar-Athletes, 10 unanimous First Team All-Americans, 14 consensus First Team All-Americans, 10 winners of college football major awards, three coaches with national championships, two coaches with the most wins in school history and one coach with the highest winning percentage in school history.


The 2021 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments joined the Hall of Famers on stage. Comprised of 13 of the most talented and brightest football players in the nation, each member of the class received an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and was a finalist for The William V. Campbell Trophy®.


NFF Vice Chairman Jack Ford led the presentation of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards and had the honor of presenting the 32nd Campbell Trophy® to Iowa State tight end Charlie Kolar. As the recipient of the trophy, Kolar’s postgraduate scholarship increases to a total of $25,000.



“This is an incredible honor,” Kolar said. “The finalists this year had amazing resumes, and to be recognized along with the other winners of this prestigious award, I am so grateful. When you come to college on an athletic scholarship you have the responsibility to learn, and I don’t think you should waste that opportunity. My parents played a huge role in instilling these values in me and it was great to have them both here with me tonight.”


The first two-time First Team Academic All-American in Iowa State history, Kolar graduated summa cum laude in December 2020 with a 3.99 GPA in mechanical engineering while ranking in the highest two percent of engineering students at the university. He is currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in finance. The 2020 Big 12 Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award recipient is a four-time First Team Academic All-Big 12 selection and three-time First Team Academic All-District honoree.


For the second straight season, Kolar has been named a finalist for the Mackey Award, which is awarded to the nation’s top tight end. The only unanimous First Team All-Big 12 selection in 2021, he is one of only 12 players in history to receive First Team All-Big 12 honors three times (2019, 2020, 2021). This season, Kolar is second at Iowa State and ranks fifth in the Big 12 with 723 receiving yards while being tied for the team lead and being tied for fifth in the conference with five receiving touchdowns. The Cyclones will conclude their season against Clemson in the 2021 Cheez-It Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 29, at 5:45 p.m. ET at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. ESPN will broadcast the game.


A two-time All-American, Kolar earned Second Team honors in 2020 and Third Team accolades in 2019. Just the seventh Cyclone to reach 2,000 career receiving yards, Kolar owns virtually all school career records for tight ends, compiling the most receptions (164), receiving yards (2,148) and touchdowns (22). Among all receivers at Iowa State, his career receptions rank fourth, his receiving yards are fifth and his touchdowns rank third.


A member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Kolar has volunteered at Mary Greeley Hospital and read to children at a local elementary school.


The other members of the 2021 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments included Troy Andersen (Montana State), Thomas Booker (Stanford), Mike Caliendo (Western Michigan), Sean Clifford (Penn State), Cameron Dukes (Lindsey Wilson [KY]), Patrick Fields (Oklahoma), Matt Henningsen (Wisconsin), Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan), Joshua King (U.S. Merchant Marine [NY]), Henry Litwin (Slippery Rock [PA]), Sean Mahone (West Virginia) and Grant Morgan (Arkansas).


Steve Hill, the CEO/President of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the event’s presenting sponsor, provided the official welcome while the Invocation was done by Remnant Ministries Senior Pastor and 2016 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Randall Cunningham (UNLV). America’s beloved tenor and Annual Awards Dinner staple, Daniel Rodriguez, returned to sing the “National Anthem” and “God Bless America” while veteran sportscaster and journalist Bonnie Bernstein served as the public address announcer.


The NFF also recognized the 2021 MEAC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year during the NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas. Norfolk State quarterback Juwan Carter and South Carolina State defensive back Decobie Durant, the MEAC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively, were announced this morning at the NFF Annual Awards press conference by MEAC Commissioner and NFF Board Member Dennis Thomas.


The five 2021 NFF Chapter Leadership Award recipients, one from each region of the country, were also recognized during the Dinner for their leadership at the local level: Gerald Brence (NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter), Bob Eberly (Wistert/Toledo [OH] Chapter), Tim Feshler (Doc Boisoneau/Northern Connecticut Chapter), Mike Gatley (South Jersey Chapter) and Eric Jacobsen (Utah Chapter).


Earlier today, University of Arkansas Senior Associate Athletics Director Kevin Trainor moderated the NFF Annual Awards press conference. Streamed on ESPN3, the press conference featured insights from the 2020 and 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Classes and the announcement of the 2021 MEAC Players of the Year.


Rafanelli Events, led by President Deborah Farley, served as the event planner for the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas. The videos featured in the program were produced by Dallas-based LDWW.


Sponsors for the day’s events included Catapult, Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Goodyear, Jostens, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Las Vegas Raiders and Allegiant Stadium, New York Athletic Club, Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation, Spielman Koenigsberg & Parker LLP and Sports Business Journal.


“Tonight’s return of the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in Las Vegas was spectacular,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “Many people came together to support this year’s event, and I especially want to thank the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and CEO/President Steve Hill for serving as the event’s presenting sponsor. Football transforms lives, opens doors and instills the characteristics in our young people that make our country great. When you listen to the accomplishments of the night’s honorees, you know that the Future For Football remains bright.”




About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame

Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Future For Football, The William V. Campbell Trophy®, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Catapult, Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Goodyear, Jostens, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the New York Athletic Club and the Sports Business Journal. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NFFNetwork and learn more at