Former Penn State linebacker Shane Conlan, one of the stars of the Nittany Lions’ undefeated 1986 national championship team, was among 16 players and coaches selected Thursday for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.
The 17th Penn State player to enter the Hall of Fame, Conlan led his team in tackles during his senior season of 1986. He recorded eight tackles and two interceptions in the Lions’ 14-10 victory over Miami in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl game that determined the national champion.
“It was exhausting because we were on the field the whole game, it seemed like,” Conlan said during the news conference in Irving, Texas, where the new inductees were announced. “They were going up and down the field and we just wanted one more stop. We knew they had that high-powered offense. You should have seen the players on that team. But we caught them on a bad day.”
Conlan thanked his coach, Joe Paterno, and assistant coach Tom Bradley, who recruited him.
“I was from a very small school, yet I had no offers except for one – Penn State,” said Conlan, a native of Frewsburg, N.Y. “I’m talking no offers at any level – (Divisions) II or III. And Tom went to bat for me, got Coach to OK it and offered me the next week.”
Conlan went on to a nine-year NFL career with the Buffalo Bills and St. Louis Rams before retiring after the 1995 season. He appeared in three Super Bowls with the Bills.
Conlan will be part of a class of 16 inductees – 14 players and two coaches – on Dec. 9 at the National Football Foundation awards dinner in New York.
Other inductees included former UCLA quarterback John Sciarra, who spent six years with the Eagles and played for the team in Super Bowl XV, and former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, who hired Chip Kelly as an assistant coach and later was succeeded by Kelly.