San Diego Chargers

NFL "Big Cats" From Grambling State University (Part Four)

METAIRIE, LA - JANUARY 13:  Defensive Tackle Sedrick Ellis #98 of the New Orleans Saints poses for a photo at the New Orleans Saints training facility in Metairie, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Honor Warren Wells TheTorchSenior Writer IIMay 10, 2009

Grambling State University's Ernie "Big Cat" Ladd may have gotten his nickname for more than one reason. 

The mascot for Grambling is a tiger, a strong, fast predator (big cat) who can consume one deer per day.  The NFL has benefited from 107 men who attended Grambling. 

Four of those men are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Grambling coaches trained Ernie "Big Cat" Ladd, one of the largest, fastest big guys in NFL history.  Those strong, fast, and quick qualities distinguished Ladd and many of the 106 other players.

A breakdown of the 107 NFL players by year (decade) is given:

1    1940+

1    1950+

33   1960+

31   1970+

19   1980+

15   1990+

7     2000+

Of the 107 NFL players, 24 of them had only one season.

The four Hall of Famers are: 

Brown, Willie (1963 - 1978) HOF

Buchanan, Buck (1963 - 1975) HOF

Davis, Willie (1958 - 1969) HOF

Joiner, Charlie (1969 - 1986) HOF.

The complete list is provided:

Alexander, GleThnn (1970 - 1970) 
Anderson, Anthony (1987 - 1987) 
Anderson, Scotty (2001 - 2003) 
Anderson, Stevie (1994 - 1996) 
Arvie, Herman (1993 - 1996) 
Atkins, Bob (1968 - 1976) 
Ayers, Marvin (1987 - 1987) 
Barber, Bob (1976 - 1979) 
Boyette, Garland (1962 - 1972) 
Bratton, Jason (1996 - 1996) 
Brown, Fakhir (1999 - 2008) 
Brown, Willie (1963 - 1978) HOF
Bryant, Bill (1976 - 1978) 
Buchanan, Buck (1963 - 1975) HOF
Caleb, Jamie (1960 - 1965) 
Ceaser, Curtis (1995 - 1995) 
Clark, Al (1971 - 1976) 
Cornish, Frank (1966 - 1972) 
Crawford, Hilton (1969 - 1969) 
Davis, Henry (1968 - 1973) 
Davis, Norm (1967 - 1970) 
Davis, Willie (1958 - 1969) HOF
Dean, Walter (1991 - 1991) 
Dennis, Al (1973 - 1977) 
Dotson, Al (1965 - 1970) 
Dyer, Henry (1966 - 1970) 
Fields, Greg (1979 - 1980) 
Freelon, Solomon (1972 - 1974) 
Garrett, J.D. (1964 - 1967) 
Glover, Andrew (1991 - 2000) 
Greene, Tracy (1994 - 1995) 
Griffin, Jim (1966 - 1968) 
Griffin, Leonard (1986 - 1993) 
Harris, James (1969 - 1981) 
Harris, Michael (1989 - 1989) 
Harris, Rich (1971 - 1977) 
Hatcher, Jason (2006 - 2008) 
Holden, Sam (1971 - 1971) 
Howell, Delles (1970 - 1975) 
Howell, Lane (1963 - 1969) 
Howell, Mike (1965 - 1972) 
Hunter, James (1976 - 1982) 
Hymes, Randy (2002 - 2005) 
Johnson, Charles (1979 - 1981) 
Johnson, Essex (1968 - 1976) 
Johnson, Gary (1975 - 1985) 
Johnson, Trumaine (1985 - 1988) 
Joiner, Charlie (1969 - 1986) HOF
Jones, Fred (1990 - 1993) 
Jones, Henry (1969 - 1969) 
Jones, Willie (2001 - 2002) 
Ladd, Ernie (1961 - 1968) 
Lewis, Albert (1983 - 1998) 
Lewis, Frank (1971 - 1983) 
Maxey, Curtis (1988 - 1989) 
Mcneil, Clifton (1964 - 1973) 
Mendenhall, John (1972 - 1980) 
Milburn, Darryl (1991 - 1991) 
Mullen, Roderick (1995 - 1999) 
Ned, Derrick (1993 - 1995) 
Newsome, Billy (1970 - 1977) 
Nicholas, Calvin (1988 - 1988) 
Parker, Kerry (1984 - 1987) 
Pearson, Kalvin (2002 - 2008) 
Pennywell, Carlos (1978 - 1981) 
Pennywell, Robert (1977 - 1980) 
Peoples, Woody (1968 - 1980) 
Pettway, Kenneth (2006 - 2008) 
Powell, Preston (1961 - 1961) 
Prather, Guy (1981 - 1985) 
Radford, Bruce (1979 - 1981) 
Reed, Jake (1991 - 2002) 
Reese, Albert (1997 - 1997) 
Richardson, Al (1960 - 1960) 
Roberson, Vern (1977 - 1978) 
Robinson, Jerry (1962 - 1965) 
Robinson, Virgil (1971 - 1972) 
Samson, Michael (1996 - 1996) 
Scales, Dwight (1976 - 1984) 
Scott, Ed (1987 - 1987) 
Scott, Patrick (1987 - 1988) 
Sellers, Goldie (1966 - 1969) 
Simmons, Leon (1963 - 1963) 
Singleton, Nate (1993 - 1997) 
Singleton, Ron (1976 - 1980) 
Smith, Charlie (1974 - 1981) 
Smith, Mike (1980 - 1980) 
Smith, Robert (1985 - 1985) 
Smith, Sean (1987 - 1989) 
St. clair, Mike (1976 - 1982) 
Taylor, Rosey (1961 - 1972) 
Taylor, Sammie (1965 - 1965) 
Thompson, Bennie (1989 - 1999) 
Walls, Everson (1981 - 1993) 
Watson, Ed (1969 - 1969) 
Wells, Arthur (1987 - 1987) 
White, Sammy (1976 - 1985) 
Williams, Doug (1978 - 1989) 
Williams, Joe (1987 - 1987) 
Williams, Roger (1971 - 1972) 
Williams, Walter (2004 - 2005) 
Williams, Willie (1965 - 1973) 
Wilson, Nemiah (1965 - 1975) 
Woods, Robert (1978 - 1979) 
Young, Willie (1966 - 1975) 
Younger, Tank (1949 - 1958) 
Zeno, Coleman (1971 - 1971) 

It seems Grambling State University had players present in professional football much earlier than Texas Southern University, Prairie View University and Jackson State University.  One player was in pro football in the 1940 era, and another in 1950.

During 1960 through 1979, there was a total of 64 NFL players from Grambling. 

The peak years were from 1960 to 1969 when 33 players were in the NFL.  A steady decline was evident from 1970 to present. 

One B/R writer attributes the decline to integration. Talented football players now have ample opportunities to get scholarships and support to attend majority universities. 

This issue will be researched once all the data is in from all of the HBCUs in the United States. 

Of the four HBCUs in this study (series), it is discovered that Grambling State University dominates in the number of Hall of Famers and in the total number of players from Grambling who became NFL stars.

The Louisiana school is, indeed, the tiger or "big cat."

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