— By Bill Cornwell
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall University’s Athletic Department hopes one of its all-time greatest football players soon receives a new honor.
Marshall has nominated two-year All-American wide receiver Randy Moss for a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia.
Marshall Director of Athletics Christian Spears recently submitted the Moss nomination to the National Football Foundation. The 2023 Hall of Fame ballot should be released in June.
Spears says the nomination is long past due.
“Randy Moss has already done so much to put Marshall University in the national landscape in college football, and this nomination is one way that we can hopefully give back to him,” Spears said. “We are disappointed in ourselves that this nomination was not submitted sooner, but as the Director of Athletics at Marshall University, it is my absolute privilege to formally submit the request for the induction of Randy Moss into the College Football Hall of Fame.”
Moss, a Rand native who played at DuPont High School and entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018, played at Marshall in the 1996 and 1997 seasons. Marshall was 15-0 in 1996 and won the NCAA I-AA championship. In 1997, Marshall moved to FBS competition, winning the Mid-American Conference East Division and, eventually, the league championship.
Moss’ two year statistics while wearing the Green and White were impressive.
Moss caught 174 passes for 3,529 yards and 54 touchdowns while setting several records at the national, conference and school level 1996 and 1997.
Moss’ 26 touchdown receptions in 1997 set an FBS record and he caught a touchdown pass in all 13 games that season while amassing 96 receptions for 1,820 yards. Those numbers earned him the 1997 Fred Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation’s top wide receiver. He was a finalist for the 1997 Heisman Trophy.
Marshall was 28-3 in Moss’ Marshall career.
Moss also lettered in track and field at Marshall.
NFL veteran Chad Pennington was Moss’ quarterback at Marshall and he says that the intangibles made Moss special.
“Randy was the ultimate competitor,” Pennington said. “Beyond his athletic ability, his competitive nature and desire to win were unique and special. From the biggest stage in football to a simple game of pickup basketball, Randy was always driven to win and succeed.”
Marshall University President Brad Smith is supportive of the MU Athletic Department’s efforts to get Moss in the College Football Hall of Fame.
“As a proud West Virginian, I am cognizant of the accomplishments of fellow West Virginians on the national and worldwide scale,” Smith said. “Perhaps there has been no more impactful West Virginia-born football player in history than Randy Moss, who turned Marshall into a national name.”
Spears believes that Hall of Fame voters will have no problem casting a ballot for Moss.
“This is without a doubt the quintessential ‘no-brainer’ of all-time,” Spears said. “As a college football student-athlete, the Randy Moss record of accomplishments while at Marshall are quite frankly unparalleled and his induction will inspire others and remind people of the truly special career this remarkable individual had while he participated here for the Thundering Herd.”