Three ACC alums elected to College Football Hall of Fame
The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame announced Monday the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class, which includes three representatives from ACC schools – Clemson running back/kick returner CJ Spiller, Miami linebacker Dan Morgan and North Carolina offensive tackle Harris Barton.
“The ACC congratulates Clemson’s C.J. Spiller, Miami’s Dan Morgan and North Carolina’s Harris Barton as part of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame class of 2021,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “All three individuals enjoyed outstanding careers and we look forward to celebrating their successes throughout this year.”
The 11 First-Team All-America players and two standout coaches in the 2021 Class were selected from the national ballot of 78 players and seven coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and the 99 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks.
University of North Carolina
Offensive Tackle, 1983-86
An NFF National Scholar-Athlete in 1986, Barton matched his success in the classroom by becoming one of the most dominant offensive linemen in North Carolina history. The Atlanta native becomes the sixth Tar Heel to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A First-Team All-American in 1986, Barton was named the ACC’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman after helping the Tar Heels finish sixth in the nation and first in the conference with 436 yards of total offense per game. The 1986 First-Team All-ACC selection was also part of an offensive unit that finished 10th in the nation with 252.5 rushing yards per game. A four-year starter, Barton began his career at center before being switched to tackle as a sophomore to take better advantage of his skills. After leading UNC to berths in the 1983 Peach Bowl and the 1986 Aloha Bowl, he concluded his stellar collegiate career in the Japan Bowl all-star game.
In addition to being an NFF National Scholar-Athlete, Barton was an Academic All-ACC selection, and he received the 1987 Jim Tatum Award as the conference’s top football scholar-athlete. A member of the 2007 ACC Legends Class, he is one of 27 players to have his jersey honored at Kenan Stadium. During his freshman year, Barton played alongside College Football Hall of Famer William Fuller.
Selected in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, Barton spent his entire career with the franchise from 1987-98. A 1993 Pro Bowler, he led the team to victories in Super Bowls XXIII, XXIV and XXIX.
After both of his parents passed away from brain tumors, Barton founded Champion Charities in 2004 with fellow College Football Hall of Famer and former 49ers teammate Ronnie Lott. The non-profit has contributed significantly to treating and researching brain tumors while helping those afflicted with the disease. Barton is also a board member of the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund, a venture philanthropy that invests exclusively in social enterprises that employ and empower people overcoming barriers to work. He is the founder and managing director of H. Barton Asset Management, where he specializes in providing investment capital to up-and-coming VC-backed technology startups.
University of Miami
The first player in history to sweep the three major defensive awards in one season, Dan Morgan is Miami’s all-time leading tackler. Part of the Hurricanes’ reemergence in the late 90s, he becomes the eighth player in school history to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
A unanimous First-Team All-American in 2000, Morgan took home the Bednarik, Butkus and Nagurski Awards after leading the Hurricanes to the Big East title, an 11-1 record and a No. 2 final ranking. The 2000 Big East Defensive Player of the Year led Miami in tackles three times, and he holds the school record with 532 career tackles (also a Big East record). A four-time All-Big East selection, Morgan garnered first-team honors in 1997, 1999 and 2000 while claiming second-team laurels in 1998. The 2000 Football News National Defensive Player of the Year was a four-year starter and a three-time captain, becoming the first sophomore in school history to receive the honor.
The standout linebacker led Miami to three top 20 finishes and three consecutive postseason wins in the 1998 Micron PC Bowl, 2000 Gator Bowl and 2001 Sugar Bowl. Morgan’s 45 consecutive starts were a school record at the time, and he was the first player in Hurricane annals to post 100 or more tackles every season of his career. Despite making the switch to linebacker just days prior to the 1997 season opener, he became a Second-Team Freshman All-American and was a finalist for the Butkus and Nagurski Awards as a junior. The 2011 University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame inductee played alongside College Football Hall of Famer Ed Reed during his time in Coral Gables.
The 11th overall pick by the Carolina Panthers in the 2001 NFL Draft, Morgan played for the franchise from 2001-07. The All-Rookie Team and 2004 Pro Bowl selection led the Panthers to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVIII following the 2003 season.
While with the Panthers, Morgan volunteered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Coral Springs, Florida, native has contributed time during his post-NFL career working with FEAT (Families for Effective Autism Treatment) and Ben’s Fund, which raises money for families with autistic children. Morgan currently serves as the director of player personnel for the Buffalo Bills.
Running Back/Kick Returner, 2006-09
When he had the ball in his hands, C.J. Spiller was one of the most exciting all-purpose players to ever step foot on the college gridiron. The Lake Butler, Florida, native becomes the fourth Tiger player in the College Football Hall of Fame.
A unanimous First-Team All-America kick returner in 2009, Spiller finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting and was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award. He was named a Second-Team All-America running back by Walter Camp in 2009, making him the first player in the organization’s history to earn All-America honors at two positions in the same season. The 2009 ACC Player of the Year set a single-season conference and school record with 2,680 all-purpose yards while also becoming the first player in conference history to gain 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in the same season. A three-time All-ACC selection, Spiller garnered first team honors in 2008 and 2009 while receiving honorable-mention laurels in 2007. Despite losing the 2009 ACC Championship Game to Georgia Tech, he earned MVP honors in the game after setting an ACC title game record with 233 rushing yards.
The NCAA record holder with seven career kickoff returns for touchdowns, Spiller ranks third all-time in FBS history with 7,588 career all-purpose yards. He joined USC’s Reggie Bush as the only players in college football history with 3,000 rushing yards, 1,500 kickoff-return yards, 1,000 receiving yards and 500 punt-return yards in a career. Spiller set 31 Clemson records by career’s end, including career all-purpose yards (7,588), kickoff return yards (2,052) and kickoffs returned for a TD (seven). He led the Tigers to four bowl games, earning MVP honors at the 2007 Chick-fil-A and 2009 Music City bowls. Spiller twice led the ACC in all-purpose yards, and he helped Clemson finish in the top 25 in 2007 (No. 21) and 2009 (No. 24). A member of both the Clemson Athletics and State of South Carolina Athletic halls of fame, Spiller’s No. 28 jersey was retired by the Tigers.
The ninth overall pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 2010 NFL Draft, Spiller played for the Bills (2010-14), New Orleans Saints (2015), Seattle Seahawks (2016), New York Jets (2016) and Kansas City Chiefs (2017).
Off the field, Spiller was a First Team Academic All-ACC selection at Clemson. A regular visitor to hospitals and convalescent homes, he also hosts the annual C.J. Spiller Football & Life Skills Camp. In 2020, Spiller returned to Clemson to get his master’s in athletic leadership, and he joined his former coach Dabo Swinney’s football staff as an unpaid graduate intern. He is also a board member of IPTAY, the fundraising organization for Clemson Athletics.