It has been six years since Pat Tillman died while serving his country, but the sports accolades haven’t stopped.
The former All-American linebacker for Arizona State, killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in April of 2004, was selected just months ago to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2010 class.
Today, it was announced that he will be given a related honor when the Sun Devils host Stanford in a Nov. 13 football game. ASU and the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame will jointly honor Tillman with an NFF On-Campus Salute.
Throughout the football season, each inductee returns to his school for the special on-field event, where a commemorative plague is presented to the university for permanent display. The ceremony is the first of numerous highlights in the ‘Hall of Fame experience’ for each inductee.
In Tillman’s case, a family member is expected to be on hand to represent the first ASU player to be named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Following his death, the award was renamed to the Pat Tillman Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year.
Tillman played at ASU from 1994-97 and then was selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the 226th pick in the 1998 draft. He spent three years with the NFL team before deciding to enlist in the U.S. Army, where he joined the elite Army Rangers unit. After his death, he was posthumously honored with a Purple Heart and a Silver Star.
His uniform number, 42, was retired by ASU, just the fifth player’s number to be retired in the school’s history.
Tillman joins only five other ASU players previously inducted into the Hall of Fame: Danny White (1998), Michael Hayn (2001), John Jefferson (2002), Ron Pritchard (2003), and Randall McDaniel (2008).
For the 2010 class, Tillman was selected from among 77 All-America players from over the past 50 years.
Several Hall of Fame coaches have also passed through the ASU tunnel over the years, including Dan Devine (inducted 1985), Frank Kush (1995), and John Cooper (2008).
The NFF & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that was founded in 1947 with the idea of using the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship, and athletic achievement in young people. It has 12,000 members spread over 121 chapters throughout the country.
It is involved with numerous activities, including the MacArthur Bowl and the Campbell Trophy. But it’s most recognized contribution on an ongoing basis might be its service to the game by releasing the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings throughout each college football season.