SBNation Hall of Fame: Jeff Hartings

The fine folks at SBN are putting together a revamped College Football Hall of Fame. Our buds at H&R summed up the process:

They are asking for up to five nominees from 10 categories. Some of these will be easier than others, but here are the categories:

QB, RB, WR, TE, OL, DL, LB, DB, ST, Coach.

Eligibility is simple: For players or inactive coaches, the nominee should have been out of college for four full years. So the first class would cover 1962 to players and coaches who finished their career by 2007 (bowls of January 2008). The other option for active coaches OR coaches who haven't been inactive for four years is that they were at their current position for at least five seasons. (Position, NOT school.). Basically, we can nominate five players here and submit them.

Let's kick off our Penn State ballot with one of the very few two-time All-America selections: Offensive lineman Jeff Hartings.

With #19 Penn State leading #13 Michigan 20 - 17 late in the game, and facing a 4th and goal from the Michigan 3-yard line, Joe Paterno called a fake field goal that featured his best player, OG #50 Jeff Hartings.

At the snap, Hartings pulled from his guard position on the field goal, and locked on to a Michigan defender off tackle at about the 2-yard line. He drove the defender three yards deep into the end zone, clearing the way for placeholder #21 Joe Nastasi to waltz in for the game clinching touchdown.

It was late November and State College had weathered a blizzard the Friday before the game. With the stadium packed in snow, snow balls from the student section flew with fury, giving Penn State the original white-out. But only for a brief moment. Joe Paterno sprinted towards the student section, yelling and pointing wildly. Not one person heard a word he spoke, but the snowballs stopped.

Jeff Hartings was a two-time All-America offensive guard for the Nittany Lions from 1992 - 1995. He was part of the 1994 Penn State offense which averaged over 40 points per game, and finished with a perfect 12 - 0 record. He was mobile and agile; he was equally adept at run blocking and pass protection; and he was very, very physical. It's rumored that Jeff Hartings was deaf, as he always played not just 'through-the-whistle', but through the last, faintest echo of the official's whistle.

Hartings was drafted in the 1st round, #23 overall in the 1996 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. He finished his 11-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, earning All-Pro honors twice and winning Super Bowl XL.


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