Armstrong Elected To College Football Hall Of Fame

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Over the course of his career, Otis Armstrong became the all-time leading rusher in Big Ten Conference history.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Over the course of his career, Otis Armstrong became the all-time leading rusher in Big Ten Conference history.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

May 15, 2012

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Former Purdue All-America halfback Otis Armstrong has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

The Football Bowl Subdivision Class of 2012 was announced today in New York City and includes 14 players and three coaches. The class was chosen from a national ballot of 76 All-America players and eight elite coaches selected from a pool of hundreds of eligible nominees.

Armstrong, who played for head coach Bob DeMoss from 1970 to 1972, is the 13th Boilermaker (nine players and four coaches) to be chosen for college football's ultimate shrine. Armstrong is the third Purdue player to be elected in the last seven years, following quarterback Mike Phipps in 2006 and quarterback Mark Herrmann in 2010.

"I am excited and thrilled," Armstrong said. "Maybe even a little bit relieved because I know that my name has been on the ballot for several years. I know a lot of guys - friends of mine - who have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and now I know that I will be one of them. I thank all the good people back in Indiana and the Midwest who have been voting for me and helping to make this happen. This is the greatest honor I have ever received.

"Ever since the letter arrived last week telling me that I had been selected, I have been thinking about my good friend and former roommate Darryl Stingley. I really miss him. He would be very happy for me right now."

Over the course of his career, Armstrong became the all-time leading rusher in Big Ten Conference history. His total of 3,315 yards in three years bettered the previous mark of 3,212 yards by Alan Ameche of Wisconsin - established in four years - and ranked sixth in NCAA history at the time.

DeMoss was thrilled upon hearing of Armstrong's election.

"That is wonderful," DeMoss said. "He is very deserving. He was a pleasure to coach and a joy to be around. He always had a grin on his face. In high school, he always ran outside, and I told him in college he couldn't outrun the defenders and had to run north and south. He said, `OK coach.' He had an outstanding career. I couldn't be happier for him."

Armstrong's senior season was spectacular. He earned consensus All-America and Big Ten Most Valuable Player honors after rushing for 1,361 yards on 243 carries (both school season records at the time that currently rank second) and amassing 1,868 all-purpose yards (then the second-most in school history and now third). He led the Big Ten in rushing and finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting. Armstrong also received the Swede Nelson Award for sportsmanship.

In his final collegiate game, against Indiana at Ross-Ade Stadium on Nov. 25, 1972, Armstrong set the Purdue record with 276 rushing yards on 32 carries, as the Boilermakers won 42-7. He also had 36 yards in kickoff returns to amass a school-record 312 all-purpose yards. Both yardage records still stand.

Otis Armstrong is the third Purdue player to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in the last seven years, following quarterback Mike Phipps in 2006 and quarterback Mark Herrmann in 2010.


Nearly 40 years after his collegiate career, Armstrong ranks as the Purdue all-time leader with 670 rushing attempts. He is second in 100-yard rushing games (13), third in rushing yards, fourth in all-purpose yards (4,601), 10th in rushing touchdowns (17) and tied for 11th in rushing average (4.95 yards per carry).

"This is great news," said Bart Burrell, president of the National Football Foundation's Joe Tiller Chapter of Northwest Indiana. "Our congratulations to Otis and to Purdue University. His selection for the Hall of Fame is greatly deserved, and we are all happy for him. I also appreciate our chapter members who voted for Otis this spring. This further proves that Joe Tiller's vision of creating this chapter would improve Purdue's chances of getting players into the Hall of Fame."

As of last July, just seven years since receiving its charter, the Joe Tiller Chapter of Northwest Indiana was the second-largest among 121 chapters nationwide.

Selected by the Denver Broncos in the first round (No. 9 overall) of the 1973 NFL Draft, Armstrong had an eight-year professional career with the Broncos. He led the NFL with 1,407 rushing yards in 1974 and played in Super Bowl XII. For his career, Armstrong amassed 4,453 rushing yards, 123 receptions for 1,302 receiving yards and 879 yards on kickoff returns. He scored 32 touchdowns (25 rushing and seven receiving). Armstrong was a two-time Pro Bowl selection (1974 and 1976).

Armstrong, a Chicago native who now makes his home in Centennial, Colo., was inducted into the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997. He also is a member of the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame and the Denver Broncos Hall of Fame. Armstrong is semi-retired after working for many years in sales and marketing for a distributorship in the Denver area. He is active in his church and frequently helps children stay out of trouble by teaching football skills.

The Class of 2012 will be inducted at the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 4 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. They inductees will be honored guests at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 2, 2013, and will be officially enshrined in the summer of 2013. Including the 2012 FBS class, only 914 players and 197 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 4.86 million who have played or coached the game over the past 143 years. In other words, only two one-hundredths of one percent (.0002) of the individuals who have played the game have been deemed worthy of this distinction.

Two other former Boilermakers, defensive tackle Dave Butz (1970-72) and wide receiver Larry Burton (1973-74), were on the ballot.

College Football Hall of Fame Class Of 2012
Charles Alexander, TB, LSU, 1975-78
Otis Armstrong, HB, Purdue, 1970-72
Steve Bartkowski, QB, California, 1972-74
Hal Bedsole, SE, Southern California, 1961-63
Dave Casper, TE, Notre Dame, 1971-73
Ty Detmer, QB, BYU, 1988-91
Tommie Kramer, QB, Rice, 1973-76
Art Monk, WR, Syracuse, 1976-79
Greg Myers, DB, Colorado State, 1992-95
Jonathan Ogden, OT, UCLA, 1992-95
Gabe Rivera, DT, Texas Tech, 1979-82
Mark Simoneau, LB, Kansas State, 1996-99
Scott Thomas, S, Air Force, 1982-85
John Wooten, OG, Colorado, 1956-58
Phillip Fulmer, Coach, Tennessee, 1992-2008
Jimmy Johnson, Coach, Oklahoma State, 1979-83; Miami (Fla.), 1984-88
R.C. Slocum, Coach, Texas A&M, 1989-2002

Purdue College Football Hall Of Famers

Name, PositionAt PurdueInducted
Elmer Oliphant, HB1911-131955
Alex Agase, OL19431963
Cecil Isbell, HB1935-371967
Bob Griese, QB1964-661984
Chalmers "Bump" Elliott, HB1943-441989
Leroy Keyes, HB1966-681990
Mike Phipps, QB1967-692006
Mark Herrmann, QB1977-802010
Otis Armstrong, HB1970-722012
CoachAt PurdueInducted
Andy Smith1913-151951
Jim Phelan1922-291973
Jack Mollenkopf1956-691988
Jim Young1977-811999

Armstrong's Purdue Rushing Statistics

SeasonAtt.YardsAvg.TDLong
19702131,0094.7277
19712149454.4681
19722431,3615.6971
Totals6703,3154.91781