IRVING, Texas – One of the former Super Bowl champion Wildcats and a familiar voice on the ESPN broadcasts for the team is ready to add another career honor. Fort Valley State football alum Tyrone Poole has been nominated for the 2021 ballot of the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame Divisional Ranks players.
Poole is one of the 99 College Divisional ranks greats announced this week. He is joined by 33 divisional ranks coaches and 78 players and seven coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision to all be nominated.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as one of the greats to play college football. Over 5.4 million have played college football and only 1,027 are in the College Football Hall of Fame. For me to be one they are considering is a very great honor with me being from a small Division II, it proves it doesn’t matter where you go,” said Poole.
For the second time in the last three years, Poole has received a nomination for the award and the honor to be on the ballot for the 2021 NFF & College Football Hall of Fame.
“The talent you bring (to the field) makes it so it doesn’t matter where you go (to college), but people will see you and it will transfer (to the next level),” added Poole.
During his FVSU playing career from 1991-94, the LaGrange, Ga., native finished as one of the most decorated football players in Wildcats history. Poole earned All-America First Team in 1994 to go with being a two-time Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Defensive Player of the Year (1993-94) and All-SIAC First Team player. He led FVSU to two Conference crowns and posted 44 pass breakups and 17 interceptions, returning four for touchdowns, in his career.
While at The Valley, Poole was a dual sport student-athlete. Along with being a football All-American, he also earned track & field All-American status. Poole captured a second-place finish in the 200-meter dash at the NCAA Division II National Championships.
The former Wildcat went on to be picked 22nd overall in the first round of the 1995 National Football League (NFL) draft by the Carolina Panthers. Poole went on to play 13 seasons, including capturing Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots in both the 2003 and 2004 campaigns. He finished his career with 126 tackles, six sacks and 18 interceptions over 144 games played.
“What makes my story even more remarkable, I was the first ever defensive selection by the Carolina Panthers. They traded up 10 spots to draft me and said they wanted to build their defense around this defensive back from the tiny HBCU college at FVSU,” noted Poole. “I say it takes passion, preparation and partnership along with limiting your distractions to get to the next level. I was told I didn’t allow a catch against me my senior year and the FVSU staff pushed that fact and helped me in the partnership aspect, which aided in my draft spot too.”
The announcement of the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class Presented by ETT will be made in early 2021, with specific details to be announced in the future.
The 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class Presented by ETT will be officially inducted during the 64th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 7, 2021, at the New York Hilton Midtown. They will also be honored at their respective schools with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the 2021 season.