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Walter Payton will go down in history as one of the greatest running backs of all time. It's almost hard to believe, but Payton did not play on the biggest of stages in college.
Payton attended Jackson State, an “historically black university” and member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The Tigers, an FCS program, compete against other HBCU football programs both within and outside of the SWAC.
Payton's greatness, however, transcended his program's divisional limitations. Competing in the 1975 Senior Bowl, Payton proved he could not only compete with, but run past the best competition of his generation.
The Chicago Bears selected him fourth overall in the 1975 draft. In 13 season with Chicago, Payton earned nine Pro Bowl selections, the 1977 NFL MVP award, 1978 Pro Bowl MVP honors and helped the Bears to a victory in Super Bowl XX.
Payton, who died in 1999, was named to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1993 and was a member of the Senior Bowl's first-ever Hall of Fame class of 1988. Both the FCS and the NFL have awards named after him.