LaVar Arrington being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame isn’t a surprise for Penn State fans.
The only surprising part is that his induction didn’t come sooner.
After a stellar career at North Hills High School, Arrington came to Penn State in the late 1990s, and in just three short years, became one of the best to wear the Blue & White.
Individually, Arrington accomplished just about all a college football linebacker can achieve. He was a two-time first-team All-American, a Butkus Award winner, Bednarik Award winner and Lambert Award winner.
— Football Foundation (@NFFNetwork) January 10, 2022
Perhaps what Penn State fans remember Arrington best for, however, is his athleticism. The “LaVar Leap” is one of the most famous plays in Penn State history, and there were other jaw-droppers as well.
Now, more than 22 years after playing his last college game, Arrington is getting a well-deserved enshrinement.
In a statement, Arrington thanked his family, his coach, Joe Paterno, former Penn State assistant Tom Bradley, and his teammates.
“If it wasn’t for some of the greatest players ever to play college football, I would not have been the player I was able to be,” Arrington said. “This is for our whole squad and whole defensive unit. I couldn’t have been what I was without Courtney Brown, Brandon Short, Mac Morrison, Imani Bell, David Fleischhauer, Brad Scioli, Derek Fox, David Macklin, Anthony King, Askari Adams and James Boyd. We were all just trying to be great and it just so happens I’m a representative of the greatness we were trying to achieve.”
He also sent a thank you to Nittany Nation.
“I certainly want to send a much-deserved thank you to Penn State for supporting me,” he said. “I also appreciate the support from all the fans. They have always been the greatest fans in the world. The love I feel even to this day is just unmatched.
Arrington ended his statement by thanking the National Football Foundation for letting him “enter into the golden gates of football, college football immortality.”
Coach James Franklin called Arrington “one of the all-time greats to ever put on a Penn State uniform.”
“This is a well-deserved honor for an individual who has contributed so much to Penn State as a player, teammate, leader and role model to our organization,” Franklin said. “I have really enjoyed getting to know LaVar since I arrived to Happy Valley and can see why he is one of the most cherished individuals in this community.”
Since his playing career ended, Arrington has continued to stay involved with Penn State and was the team’s honorary captain for its win over Michigan State in 2016 that clinched the Big Ten East.
Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour also congratulated Arrington.
“LaVar had a tremendous career at Penn State and is extremely deserving of this recognition,” Barbour said. “He was and continues to be a great representative of Penn State University and our football program.
“He is a true Penn Stater,” Franklin said, “and I would like to congratulate him on this tremendous achievement.”