Paul Palmer, who broke virtually every Temple University rushing record during his four years with the Owls, has been voted into the College Football Hall of Fame, the Hall announced on Monday morning.
Although former Temple coaches Glenn "Pop" Warner, Ray Morrison and Wayne Hardin are in the Hall, Palmer is the first former Temple player to achieve the honor. This was his seventh year on the ballot.
"The honor of earning admittance to the College Football Hall of Fame is overwhelming, and I can't thank the committee enough for both my nomination and selection," Palmer said.
"I wouldn’t be able to accept this honor without the contributions of my teammates, coaches and the entire Temple community. With Temple football on the rise, I only hope my induction will crack the door for a number of other deserving Owls to gain entrance to the Hall of Fame down the road."
Palmer, a native of Potomac, Maryland, rushed for 4,895 yards and netted 6,613 all-purpose yards while at Temple. He had 21 100-yard rushing games and six 200-yard games. In 1986, he led the nation with 1,866 rushing yards and 1,976 yards from scrimmage and broke Marcus Allen's single-season all-purpose yardage record with 2,633.
He finished second to Vinny Testaverde in the 1986 Heisman Trophy balloting.
When he left, he ranked sixth in NCAA Division I history in rushing yards and fourth in all-purpose yards. He’s still in the top 30 all-time on both lists.
Palmer now serves as the color analyst on Temple's radio broadcasts.
"This is really a fitting culmination to an amazing football journey," said former Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, Palmer’s coach at Temple. "I’ve been around some great ones, but pound-for-pound there were none better than Paul Palmer.
“He had all the athleticism and talent in the world, but what truly separated him was his heart and toughness. You can look at his amazing stats and all those records, [but] they don’t show you just how fearless he was running up the middle at his size against some of the top defenses in the country. I can’t express how thrilled I am for Paul and how proud I have always been to say I was his coach."
After the NCAA ruled that Palmer had signed with an agent before his senior year had ended, Palmer was stripped of his stats from his final year at Temple, and Temple had its six wins in 1986 stripped from the record books as well.
Palmer was the 19th pick in the 1987 draft and spent three years in the NFL. He led the NFL with two kickoff return touchdowns as a rookie in 1987 and led the AFC with 24.3 yards per kick return. He rushed for 1,053 yards and four touchdowns in three years with the Chiefs and Cowboys and caught 74 passes for 731 yards and four more touchdowns.
He spent the summer of 1991 in Eagles training camp in West Chester.
Palmer and the rest of the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 will be formally inducted at the 61st annual NFF Awards Dinner on Dec. 4 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.