National Football Foundation

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Matt Leinart Set for Sept. 16 NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, Presented by Fidelity Investments
USC and the National Football Foundation will jointly honor Leinart, a 2017 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, as the Trojans host Texas.
Published: 9/13/2017 2:40:00 PM

IRVING, Texas (Sept. 13, 2017) – The University of Southern California and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that they will jointly honor Matt Leinart with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments. The Salute will take place this Saturday, Sept. 16, during the Trojans’ game against Texas. Coverage of the game will start at 5:30 p.m. PT on FOX.

“I can't even describe how honored I am to be a part of the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame class,” Leinart said in an Instagram post in January. “First want to recognize the players and coaches who made it, wow some of the greatest football players to ever live. Just amazed! Thank you to USC, my home away from home for five years and to all the Trojans fans out there who have always supported me, you guys are the best!

“Thank you to all my COACHES who taught me so much not only about football but about life and becoming a man. Thank you to all my TEAMMATES, my brothers...Everything I achieved in college was solely because I had the greatest teammates in the world, love you guys. And most importantly thank you to my family who stuck by me through everything. I love you guys so much! FIGHT ON!”

The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program, which began with the inaugural class in 1951, has become a hallowed tradition, and to this day the singular events remain the first of numerous activities in each inductee’s Hall of Fame experience. During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each inductee returns to his alma mater to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will remain on permanent display at the institution. The events take place on the field during a home game, and many inductees cite the experience as the ultimate capstone to their careers, providing them one more chance to take the field and hear the crowd roar their name.

“Matt Leinart is one of the greatest quarterbacks in college football history,” said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. “Having won the Heisman Trophy and two national championships, he has more than earned his place in the College Football Hall of Fame. We are thrilled to honor him at the Coliseum.”

A two-time First Team All-American, Leinart earned consensus honors in 2004 when he claimed the Heisman Trophy, Walter Camp Award, Manning Award and AP Player of the Year honors. The two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year led the Trojans to consecutive AP national titles after wins in the 2004 Rose Bowl, where he earned MVP honors, and the 2005 Orange Bowl. In 2005, Leinart finished third for the Heisman and led USC to a national championship game appearance in the 2006 Rose Bowl.

Losing just two games in three years (37-2), he set Pac-10 records for career (99) and single-season (38) touchdowns, career completion percentage (64.8) and consecutive passes without an interception (212). A three-time All-Pac-10 selection, Leinart twice led the conference in passing efficiency while guiding the Trojans to three-straight Pac-10 titles. He is only the fourth player and second quarterback to twice win Pac-10 Player of the Year honors.

The two-time team captain boasts a school-record three 3,000-yard passing seasons and set 12 other USC records by career’s end. Currently ranked third in school history with 10,693 passing yards, Leinart’s 1.85 percent interception ratio was an NCAA-record, and his 94.9 winning percentage was a school record and second-best in NCAA history. The 2003 USC Team MVP finished sixth in that season’s Heisman Trophy balloting.

Leinart was selected 10th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2006 NFL Draft, playing for the Cardinals, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills during his career.

Leinart’s jersey was retired by the Trojans, and he was inducted into the USC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007. He maintains a strong interest in charitable endeavors, operating the Matt Leinart Foundation, which aims to create athletic opportunities for underprivileged youth. He currently serves as a college football analyst for FOX Sports, providing pregame, halftime and postgame coverage on FOX and FS1.

Leinart becomes the 31st Trojan player to be inducted, joining Marcus Allen (1978-81), Jon Arnett (1954-56), John Baker (1929-31), Hal Bedsole (1961-63), Ricky Bell (1973-76), Tony Boselli (1991-94), Tay Brown (1930-32), Brad Budde (1976-79), Paul Cleary (1946-47), Sam Cunningham (1970-72), Anthony Davis (1972-74), Morley Drury (1925-27), John Ferraro (1943-44, 1946-47), Mike Garrett (1963-65), Frank Gifford (1949-51), Mort Kaer (1924-26), Ronnie Lott (1977-80), Mike McKeever (1958-60), Erny Pinckert (1929-31), Marvin Powell (1974-76), Aaron Rosenberg (1931-33), O.J. Simpson (1967-68), Ernie Smith (1930-32), Harry Smith (1937-39), Lynn Swann (1971-73), Cotton Warburton (1932-34), Charles White (1976-79), Richard Wood (1972-74), Ron Yary (1965-67) and Charles Young (1970-72).

Three former USC coaches are also in the Hall: Howard Jones (1925-40), John McKay (1960-75) and John Robinson (1976-82, 1993-97).

Including the 2017 class, only 987 players and 214 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 5.26 million people who have played or coached the game over the past 148 years. In other words, only two one-hundredths of a percent (.02%) of those who have set foot on the gridiron have earned the distinction. Click here for a complete list of players and coaches in the Hall.

The 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted at the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown on Tuesday, Dec. 5. This year’s College Football Hall of Fame Class includes: Bob Crable (Notre Dame), Marshall Faulk (San Diego State), Kirk Gibson (Michigan State), Matt Leinart (Southern California), Peyton Manning (Tennessee), Bob McKay (Texas), Dat Nguyen (Texas A&M), Adrian Peterson (Georgia Southern), Mike Ruth (Boston College), Brian Urlacher (New Mexico) and coaches Danny Ford (Clemson, Arkansas), Larry Kehres (Mount Union [Ohio]) and Steve Spurrier (Duke, Florida, South Carolina). For more information on the Dinner, please contact Will Rudd at wrudd@footballfoundation.com or by calling 972.556.1000.

The inductees will also be honored at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Jan. 1, 2018, and they will take part in a series of events at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta where their accomplishments will be forever immortalized.

Remaining Scheduled 2017 NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes
Presented by Fidelity Investments
(Chronological Order)

DATE

INDUCTEE

SCHOOL
(YEARS PLAYED/COACHED)

OPPOSING TEAM

Sept. 16

Matt Leinart

Southern California (2003-05)

Texas

Sept. 16*

Coach Steve Spurrier

Florida (1990-2001)

Tennessee

Sept. 23

Kirk Gibson

Michigan State (1975-78)

Notre Dame

Sept. 30

Peyton Manning

Tennessee (1994-97)

Georgia

Oct. 7

Bob McKay

Texas (1968-69)

Kansas State

Oct. 14

Marshall Faulk

San Diego State (1991-93)

Boise State

Oct. 21

Coach Steve Spurrier

Duke (1987-89)

Pittsburgh

Oct. 27

Mike Ruth

Boston College (1982-85)

Florida State

Oct. 28

Coach Danny Ford

Clemson (1978-89)

Georgia Tech

Nov. 4

Dat Nguyen

Texas A&M (1995-98)

Auburn


*The On-Campus Salute for Steve Spurrier at Florida was originally scheduled for Sept. 9, but was postponed due to Hurricane Irma.

The 2017 season marks the eighth season that Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans to higher education employees, is serving as the national presenting sponsor of the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes. The salutes are one component of a multi-year initiative between the two organizations to celebrate the scholar-athlete ideal and a joint commitment to higher education. At the start of the 2014 season, Fidelity became the presenting sponsor of The William V. Campbell Trophy®, college football’s premier scholar-athlete award, which will be presented for the 28th time in 2017.

Other highlights of the sponsorship include Fidelity becoming the first presenting sponsor of the organization’s prestigious NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards and helping launch the NFF Faculty Salutes, which recognize the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives around the country.


About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity’s mission is to inspire better futures and deliver better outcomes for the customers and businesses we serve. With assets under administration of $6.3 trillion, including managed assets of $2.3 trillion as of July 31, 2017, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 26 million people invest their own life savings, 23,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing more than 12,500 financial advisory firms with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Privately held for 70 years, Fidelity employs more than 40,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit https://www.fidelity.com/about.

About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include FootballMatters.org, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy® presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.

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