Being named an NFL Hall of Famer is one of the highest accolades a football player — at any level — can achieve. While the road to the NFL Hall of Fame is harder for players at smaller schools, that has not stopped eight former FCS football players from enshrinement.
Here is a look at every former FCS player that is in the NFL Hall of Fame.
FCS NFL Hall of Famers
Disclaimer: Only players who participated in seasons from 1978 and on were used since that is the first year of I-AA/FCS play. Regardless of a school’s current classification, if an institution, post-1978, was not classified as an I-AA/FCS program during any of the seasons that an NFL Hall of Famer played, said player is not featured on this list since he did not play I-AA/FCS football.
|Player||Position||NFL HOF Inducted Year||College||Collegiate Years Played|
|Jerry Rice||WR||2010||Mississippi Valley State||1981-84|
|Richard Dent||DE||2011||Tennessee State||1979-82|
|Michael Strahan||DE||2014||Texas Southern||1989-92|
|Charles Haley||DE/LB||2015||James Madison||1982-85|
|Kurt Warner||QB||2017||Northern Iowa||1989-93|
- The wide receiver position is loaded! Rice, Moss and Owens are arguably the top-three NFL wide receivers of all-time, however you want to order them. All three played college football at the FCS level.
- Three defensive ends also have made their way from the FCS to the NFL Hall of Fame. Dent, Strahan and Haley each terrorized opposing quarterbacks in college and as pros.
- Historically Black Colleges and Universities dominate the list of former FCS NFL Hall of Famers, taking up half the list; the first four inductees all attended HBCUs.
- Randy Moss is the lone NFL Hall of Famer to have won an FCS title; he won the 1996 title at Marshall as a redshirt freshman.
- Kurt Warner is the lone FCS quarterback in the NFL Hall of Fame. While he didn't start until his senior year at Northern Iowa, Warner was named the Gateway Conference's Offensive Player of the Year in his lone season.
Who could be next?
DE Jared Allen
Jared Allen finished as a finalist in 2022 in his second year of eligibility. The Idaho State product won the 2003 Buck Buchanan Award as the best defender in the FCS.
DE Robert Mathis
Robert Mathis finished as a semifinalist in 2022 in his first year of eligibility. Mathis attended Alabama A&M where he set FCS records with a spectacular 2002 season.
QB Steve McNair
Steve McNair was a nominee in 2022. McNair attended Alcorn State, finishing his college career atop numerous FCS passing record lists and taking home the 1994 Walter Payton Award.
S Rodney Harrison
Rodney Harrison was a nominee in 2022. Harrison attended Western Illinois, ending his career as the school’s career-leading tackler.