Las Vegas – Make no mistake. Eric Dickerson is delighted to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame after all these years. He will take the stage and strengthen his identity in the field of sports.
“Am I happy to be here? Yes,” Dickerson said Tuesday. “Do I really care? No, honestly.”
The former SMU, who played for the Mustangs from 1979-82, was one of 27 players invited to Tuesday’s induction ceremony in Las Vegas. Dickerson was voted into the 2020 class, but the ceremony was canceled due to the pandemic.
Others involved included Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Eric Crouch, former Eastern Illinois quarterback and current CBS analyst Tony Romo, and longtime Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.
It has long been an honor for Dickerson. The Pro Football Hall of Famer ran for 4,450 yards and 47 touchdowns at SMU, going from a 5-6 team as a freshman to an 11-0-1 club that won the Cotton Bowl in his senior year.
But the school’s reputation was tarnished after the NCAA awarded “death sentences” for several violations in 1987, which lasted until 1986 before Dickerson moved to SMU. Part of that controversy was Dickerson being given a sports car around the same time. Committed to Texas A&M before eventually moving to SMU.
Dickerson has said that the car was a gift from his grandmother.
“We had nothing to do with that death sentence,” Dickerson told the AP, referring to himself and “Pony Express” teammate Craig James. “It’s the joke of the whole deal. People have a tendency to think I had something to do with it. We were a bunch of little kids.”
By the time the NCAA penalized SMU, Dickerson was already running a record-breaking run in the NFL. His 2,105 rushing yards in the 1984 season, his second with the Rams, still holds the league’s single-season record.
Dickerson was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999, ending his 12-year career with 13,259 yards, currently the ninth best in NFL history.
“It’s bitter,” he said. “I look at my university because they made us look like the black eye of the NCAA. And I just don’t like it. I’m honest about that.”
Dickerson is still proud to be an SMU alum and applauds him for helping him and his family get to Las Vegas for the opportunity for school, even though it’s almost 40 years since he played football in Dallas.
“I know why they stopped me because of the death penalty, but I’m proud of my school,” Dickerson said. “Leaving college, most of these kids have nothing. And if they don’t play football it’s an opportunity to help them out and get an education. I had no plans to play professional football. It just broke down.” .
“The truth is always going to come out. I am really happy to represent my university and I am proud of it. I am glad I went to SMU.
Full 2020 Category:
Florida’s Offensive Tackle Lomas Brown; Ohio State is trailing Keith Byers; Nebraska Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch; LSU Defensive Tackle Glen Dorsey; Michigan Offensive Tackle Jumbo Elliott; Washington State kicker Jason Hanson; Maryland linebacker EJ Henderson; Alabama defensive end EJ. junior; the late Alcorn State quarterback Steve McNair; UCLA quarterback Cade McNown; Oklahoma State Defensive Tackle Leslie O’Neill; Virginia defensive back Anthony Poindexter; Georgia defensive end and ESPN announcer David Pollack; Minnesota defensive end Bob Stein; Colorado receiver Michael Westbrook; Houston receiver Elmo Wright; Dick Sheridan, Furman and North Carolina State coach; and Villanova coach Andy Talley.
North Carolina Offensive Tackle Harris Barton; Arizona State defensive back David Fulcher; Miami linebacker Dan Morgan; USC quarterback and Heisman winner Carson Palmer; Texas Defensive Combat Kenneth Sims; Clemson leaving behind CJ Spiller; Kansas State overtaking Darren Sproles; Notre Dame Offensive Tackle Aaron Taylor; Iowa defensive end Andre Tippett; Tennessee linebacker Al Wilson; Florida A&M Coach Rudy Hubbard; and Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.