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Most of you may not know or give a crap who he is, but you'll at least get a kick out of the highlight reel. He had a couple Big 8 rings, two National Championship rings, and a Super Bowl ring. (Jimmy Johnson mentioned in the article is the JJ from Oklahoma State, then the University of Miami, and finally the Dallas Cowboys)

Little Joe makes College HOF

Little Joe Washington and his flashing silver shoes have finally landed in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Washington, the former Lincoln great who went on to become the all-time leading rusher at the University of Oklahoma, was one of 11 players and two coaches announced Tuesday in New York as members of the Class of 2005.

"It's a great honor and something I've long hoped would happen," said Washington, from his home in Baltimore. "I am kind of shocked. You always wonder if your credentials are good enough to be in there with a lot of those folks."

Two other running backs - Anthony Davis of the University of Southern California and Texas' Roosevelt Leaks - were voted in with Washington. Davis and Washington finished 2-3 in the 1974 Heisman Trophy voting behind Archie Griffin of Ohio State.

Others in the latest HOF class include Notre Dame QB John Huarte, Pittsburgh offensive lineman Mark May, Alabama linebacker Cornelius Bennett, Illinois wide receiver David Williams, Michigan defensive back Tom Curtis, Penn State offensive tackle Keith Dorney, Ohio State defensive end Jim Houston and Stanford defensive lineman Paul Wiggin.

Coaches selected were Auburn's Pat Dye and West Virginia's Don Nehlen.

The Class of 2005 will be inducted at the 48th annual National Football Foundation Awards Dinner Dec. 6 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, then will be officially enshrined in August of 2006 at the College Football Hall of Fame building in South Bend, Ind.

Washington's credentials for the honor, which is based strictly on achievements at the collegiate level, are imposing.

In averaging over six yards per carry while rolling up 3,995 career rushing yards - still the gold standard at Oklahoma - he was twice voted first team All-America, finished third in Heisman Trophy voting as a junior and was selected the 1974 College Football Player of the Year by the Pigskin Club of Washington D.C.

During his three and a half years as a starter, Washington was the offensive catalyst for Sooner teams that went 44-2 and won two national championships. He was a three time All Big Eight Conference selection and was the fourth player taken in the NFL draft after his senior season.

Oklahoma's Barry Switzer put Washington in an elite three-man group with Oklahoma State's Barry Sanders and Nebraska's Johnny Rodgers as the most dangerous backs he saw in 16-years as the Sooners' head coach.

"Those three guys put your heart in your throat," Switzer said. "In the open field, nobody was better than Joe. Every time he went back to field a punt at Owen Field, 74,000 fans would be on their feet. They knew it was showtime."

Jimmy Johnson, who coached at Oklahoma State, before going to the University of Miami and the Dallas Cowboys, called Washington the most exciting player he was ever around.

"Little Joe, as far as pure excitement, was the best," Johnson said. "He was the kind of player you went out of your way to watch whenever he was on TV because you knew he made exciting things happen."

Washington, before helping Oklahoma turn the Big Eight upside down, starred for his father at Lincoln High School. He started from his freshman season on, rushed for 3,995 yards and was selected to the Parade Schoolboy All America team.

His Lincoln career was so spectacular that a Dallas Morning News survey of 11 of the most knowledgeable observers of Texas High School football listed him as the state's fourth best running back of the past 50 years. The only players ahead of him were Tyler's Earl Campbell, San Antonio's Warren McVea and Waco High's Boody Johnson.

After leaving Oklahoma, he played in the NFL for 10 seasons. He had stellar years for both the Baltimore Colts and Washington Redskins, won a Super Bowl ring in Washington, was named the Redskins' MVP in 1981, was selected to the Pro Bowl after his 1979 season in Baltimore and was voted as having authored the top individual performance in the first 20 years of ABC's Monday Night Football.

In only his third game with the Colts in September of 1978, after being traded by San Diego, Washington caught a 23-yard touchdown pass, threw a 53-yard TD pass to Roger Carr, then, with 1:11 left in the game, returned a kickoff 90 yards for the winning points.

The College Football Hall of Fame follows Washington selection into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame.
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