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Multiple Penn State football legends land on the 2025 Hall of Fame Ballot

Multiple ex-Nittany Lion legends have appeared on the 2025 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot. Will Penn State football have additional lettermen earn this prestigious honor?



Penn State football, Ki-Jana Cater, DJ Dozier, Hall of Fame
Sep 1993; State College, PA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Ki-Jana Carter (32) in action against the Michigan Wolverines at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Photo By USA TODAY Sports

The Penn State football community received good news this week regarding some legends who represented the blue and white. Former Nittany Lion running backs DJ Dozier and Ki-Jana Carter were both announced as being on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame class of 2025. The duo is part of 77 players and nine coaches (FBS) to be listed on the ballot in 2025. 

What other Penn State football players and coaches would Dozier and Carter be joining?

If inducted, DJ Dozier and Ki-Jana Carter would be joining 24 other Penn State football players and coaches. The most recent Nittany Lions inducted into the hall were Paul Posluszny in 2024 and LaVar Arrington in 2022. 

Dozier and Carter each can be enshrined with one of their teammates in Atlanta. Dozier would be joining legendary linebacker Shane Conlan (2014), who had an interception in the 1986 national championship that set up the running back’s game-winning TD. Carter would be partnered with Kerry Collins (2018), quarterback for their undefeated 1994 team. 

The two would be joining four other Penn State running backs (and halfbacks): Pete Mauthe (1957), John Cappelletti (1993), Lydell Mitchell (2004), and Curt Warner (2009). 

Offensive linemen Steve Suhey (1985), Glenn Ressler (2001), and Keith Dorney (2005) all don the blue and white in the CFB Hall of Fame. Glenn Killinger (1971), Shorty Miller (1974), Richie Lucas (1986), and the aforementioned Collins are hall-of-fame QBs for the Nittany Lions. The only Lions tight end to make the hall is Ted Kwalick (1989). 

Mike Reid, (1987), Jack Ham (1990), and Dennis Onkotz (1995) join Conlan, Arrington, and Posluszny on the defensive side of the ball. The outdated position “end” sees two Nittany Lions: Dexter Very (1976) and Dave Robinson (1997). 

Finally, coaches Bob Higgins (1954), Hugo Bezdek (1954), Rip Engle (1973), and of course, Joe Paterno (2007) round out the Nittany Lions in the College Football Hall of Fame. 

The case for Dozier and Carter

DJ Dozier and Ki-Jana Carter both have serious cases to be made to CFB Hall of Fame voters. Now, they will wait to see if they earn a selection in 2025. 

Dozier boasts a Penn State football record that may never be broken: leading the team in rushing yards in four straight seasons (1983-1986). His 3,227 rushing yards are fifth in team history to go along with his 29 TDs. His career-best 12 TDs came at a pivotal time as Penn State was able to secure its second national title in 1986. The 1986 first-team All-American made a hall-of-fame-worthy play with his game-winning six-yard rushing TD to give the Nittany Lions the title. Dozier ultimately was a first-round pick in 1987 by the Vikings. 

Ki-Jana Carter has another infamous Penn State touchdown run: an 85-yard touchdown on the Nittany Lions’ first play in the 1995 Rose Bowl. In 1994, Ki-Jana Carter had one of the best Penn State RB seasons ever. He had 212 plays from scrimmage with 1662 yards and 23 TDs. Carter ran for a whopping 7.8 yards per carry that season and was a first-team All-American and runner-up for the 1994 Heisman Trophy. Carter became the first Nittany Lion to be taken first overall in the NFL Draft (1995). 

Both of these talented Penn State running backs deserve to make the CFB Hall of Fame. Dozier should be recognized as the leading rusher of a successful team four years in a row. His national championship-winning play should be worthy enough to be remembered in Atlanta. Carter’s insane yards per carry, touchdowns, and total yards in only two full seasons with playing time are noteworthy. Being runner-up in the Heisman Trophy should be good enough to tell your grandkids about. Additionally, being the first overall pick means that you were a Hall of Fame-type player.

Neither Dozier near Carter had the expected success in the NFL. This should not tarnish their college football legacy. While both deserve to get in my prediction is that Ki-Jana Carter makes it and that Dozier misses the cut. Carter’s numbers jump off the page and being the first overall pick is impactful. Either way, this is an interesting time to be a Penn State football fan. 

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