Shane Conlan, twice an All-American at outside linebacker and one of the heroes of Penn State's 1986 national championship squad, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday afternoon. He was on hand for the announcement by the National Football Foundation today in Dallas, Texas.
Conlan earned All-American honors during both the 1985 and 1986 seasons, a two-year stretch where Penn State didn't lose a regular season game and compiled an overall record of 23-1. He recorded 91 tackles and four sacks during the 1985 season, a year that would end with a loss to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl which would cost the Lions the national championship. However, he would return as a captain for his senior campaign in 1986 to garner 79 tackles (63 solo) and five sacks, good enough to become a finalist for the Butkus Award.
His crowning achievement would come in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl as he commanded the stout Penn State defense to a thorough dismantling of Vinny Testaverde and the explosive Miami Hurricanes offense. The team picked off Testaverde five times, two which found their way into Conlan's arms, the last which he would return to set up the winning D.J. Dozier touchdown run to cap off a 14-10 victory. His eight tackle, two interception effort was enough to earn him Most Valuable Defensive Player honors for the national-title winning Nittany Lions.
Conlan would return to his home of western New York by way of the 1987 NFL Draft when the Buffalo Bills selected him with the eighth overall pick. He won NFL Rookie of the Year honors and was part of the early 90s Bills dynasty before moving to St. Louis in 1993 to finish his career with the Rams.
He now joins seventeen other players and five former Penn State coaches in the Hall of Fame. Two other former players, Dozier and Steve Wisniewski, were on this year's ballot, but were not selected for induction.
From the entire Penn State family, congratulations, Shane!