Former Owl Trevor Cobb to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame

By Chuck Pool

Rice running back Trevor Cobb redefined that position for the Owls during a career that saw him demolish the school record book on his way to winning the Doak Walker Award in 1991. Now Cobb is one of 10 college football standouts and three coaches comprising the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame Class announced Jan. 8 by the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Football Hall of Fame.

The hall’s newest members were revealed on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” in Atlanta, the site of the College Football Playoff National Championship.

“It’s great,” Cobb said. “It’s surreal. I want to thank Rice University, my teammates, the fans, my family and friends (and) the city of Houston. Also, (I want to thank) all the sportswriters for electing me into the College Football Hall of Fame. I’m just lost for words, really. It’s a proud moment for the university and for my family.

“It means a great deal. Hopefully it leaves a legacy of inspiration. It goes to show that if you work hard, you can achieve anything,” he said. “I’m just so happy that this honor was bestowed upon me. It really hasn’t sunk in yet. I guess that’s going to take awhile.”

The inductees were selected from a national ballot of 75 All-America players and six elite coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 98 players and 31 coaches from divisional ranks. Cobb is the seventh former Rice player in the hall, joining Weldon Humble (inducted in 1961), James “Froggy” Williams (1965), Bill Wallace (1978), Dicky Maegle (1979), Buddy Dial (1993) and Tommy Kramer (2012). Former coaches Jess Neely (1971) and John Heisman (1954) are also members of the hall of fame.

Trevor Cobb

A consensus First Team All-American in 1991, Cobb became the first Owl to win one of college football’s major individual awards when he received the Doak Walker Award, which honors the top running back in college football. A finalist for the award again as a senior, he went on to be named the 1992 Southwest Conference (SWC) Offensive Player of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year (across all sports) after leading Rice to its first winning season in 30 years. A three-time all-conference selection, he completed his career ranked second on the SWC career rushing list with 4,948 yards, which ranked eighth on the NCAA career list at the time and now ranks 24th in NCAA history.

Cobb became the first Owl and fourth SWC player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons, and he holds the top three season totals in school history, capped by his 1,692 yards in 1991. Cobb’s other conference career records include all-purpose yards (6,512), rushing attempts (1,091) and 200-yard games in a season (six). He also set 17 school records, including season and career marks for rushing attempts (306/1,091), career rushing touchdowns (38) and career 100-yard games (24). The recipient of the 1992 SWC American Spirit Award for achievement on and off the field, Cobb held Rice’s season and career scoring marks until 2008.

After his collegiate career, Cobb played in the 1993 Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game and had a stint in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chicago Bears. The Houston native also played for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe in 1996.

As the director of his nonprofit, Trevor Cobb’s Helping Hands in Houston, he participates in numerous civic events and mentors young athletes to be well-rounded and educated while promoting young people’s understanding and attitudes toward those with special needs. A member of the State of Texas Sports and the Southwest Conference halls of fame, Cobb was selected as a 2017 “Honor Jersey” at Rice, where a member of the current team wore No. 45 in his honor during the season. He returned to college and received his bachelor’s degree in 2001.

Joining Cobb as members of this year’s class are former players Kerry Collins (Penn State), Dave Dickenson (University of Montana), Dana Howard (University of Illinois), Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech), Paul Palmer (Temple University), Ed Reed (University of Miami), Matt Stinchcomb (University of Georgia), Aaron Taylor (University of Nebraska) and Charles Woodson (University of Michigan). Coaches being inducted are Mack Brown (Appalachian State, Tulane, North Carolina and University of Texas), Frank Beamer (Murray State and Virginia Tech) and Mel Tjeerdsma (Austin College and Northwest Missouri State).

Formal induction for the class will be held during the 61st annual NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 4 in New York City.


About Special to Rice News

The Rice News is produced weekly by the Office of Public Affairs at Rice University.