Former Temple RB, Heisman Trophy runner-up & current radio color analyst Paul Palmer has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. Palmer is the first Temple player elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. Temple did have coaches Glenn “Pop” Warner, Wayne Hardin & Ray Morrison in as coaches inducted.
“I had kind of stop thinking about the Hall of Fame,” the newly minted Hall of Famer said. “I told myself that it was not going to happen. I told myself it was going to be a cold day in hell and as it turns out, it is a cold day in Philadelphia. I will take that as well. Either way, I am really glad.”
Palmer was one of 10 players and three coaches to earn a spot in the hall of fame, located in Atlanta, GA. He first heard was going to be inducted from Assistant Athletic Director of Football Communications Rich Burg. It got to the point that Palmer may not ever go in and if he did, it would be posthumously.
“I felt if they looked at the numbers, they would speak for themselves but I realized that some of the people that did the voting did what I did: Looked at the list, see who you remembered and voted for them,” Palmer said. “As time passed, I started thinking I would not get in because people would not remember as well.”
In attendance at the press conference was Former Temple running backs coach Spencer Prescott. Prescott was recruiting Palmer while at East Carolina. When he accepted the position with Temple, he continued his recruitment of the then 160-pound Palmer to come to Philadelphia. Prescott thought Palmer had enough versatility and toughness to play running back, defensive back and even receiver.
“I liked him as soon as I saw him,” Prescott said. “I went in and told Bruce Arians about him. He asked if I would stand on a table for him and I said yes so he told me to offer him.”
Prescott was at Edberg-Olsen Hall in Philadelphia to see his pupil talk about getting into the Hall of Fame.
“It is kind of overwhelming because when he played, I thought he was the best player in the country,” Prescott said. “Bo Jackson did not have a 100-yard game against Alabama. We traveled down there, and Paul had 136 yards against them. It is a testimony to how we played on offense and even on defense.”
Palmer went on to amass 5,604 yards from scrimmage and 43 touchdowns in his four years at Temple. In 1986, he ran for 1,866 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Bruce Arians-led Owls and finished second behind Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde for the Heisman Trophy. In the 1987 NFL Draft, he was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs as their first-round pick.
“It is great,” said former Temple linebacker and current Arizona Cardinal Hasson Reddick. Reddick. “He has been there for me since high school and throughout my time at Temple. I have always heard stories about how great of a running back he was, especially while he was at Temple. To see him get into the Hall of Fame is an excellent thing.”
Palmer hopes his selection will open the door for other Temple players to follow him into the Hall of Fame. He did offer some advice for any players who are striving to be in a situation like his.
“If there is a school that likes you and you like them back, go,” he said. “Everyone wants to go on social media and announce that they have another offer. There are other kids that only have one choice. If you like them back and when you get there to take advantage of it and work hard. There is no way you that you cannot improve. You may not be an All-American or a Heisman runner-up or anything like that; you should get better in college. Just go there work hard, enjoy yourself, be humble and remember the people that helped you out and tell them you love them when you get the chance. You will be a better person for it.”
Palmer’s induction ceremony will take place in New York City Dec. 4.