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Former PSU LB LaVar Arrington inducted into College Football Hall of Fame

National Football Foundation/Josh Hawkins

Before Micah Parsons and Abdul Carter repped the No. 11 at Penn State, it was known for one person and one person alone: LaVar Arrington.

Arrington donned the blue and white from 1997 to 1999, and his career now will live on in immortality with his induction into the National College Football Hall of Fame.

“I want to give a sincere thank you to my family because, without them, I would have come up short,” Arrington said in a statement. “My parents, brother and sister, instilled in me a mindset that was built so deep and so strong.

“Next, I want to thank coach Paterno, my coaches and my teammates. They all played a big part in my development. I love coach (Tom) Bradley, a super, awesome confidant and guidance for me.”

The epitome of ‘Linebacker U’ leaped his way into enshrinement with a career that ended with him being a two-time first-team All-American, earning unanimous honors in 1999, winning the Butkus and Bednarik awards in ’99 and becoming the first sophomore in history to win Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 1998.

“He is truly one of the all-time greats to ever put on a Penn State uniform,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “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.”

As a Nittany Lion, Arrington was known for his bone-chilling hits and incredible athleticism. Those intangibles helped make him the No. 2 overall draft pick by the Washington Redskins in 2000, behind only teammate Courtney Brown, who went to the Browns with the first overall pick.

Arrington etched his legendary status with this 1998 play against Illinois:

 

“I did it a few times during high school and youth, so I was well-versed in doing it,” Arrington joked during a media session Tuesday. “I figured I’d give it a try in college.”

And we can’t forget this blocked field goal against Purdue and Drew Brees.

He’s been no stranger to the program in recent years, showing his support for Franklin and the athletic department as it pursued upgrades to Penn State’s football facilities. Arrington was also an honorary captain before the team’s 2016 game against Michigan State that ended with it clinching the Big Ten East.

“I have really enjoyed getting to know LaVar since I arrived in Happy Valley and can see why he is one of the most cherished individuals in this community,” Franklin said. “He is a true Penn Stater.”

Arrington wasn’t the only Pittsburgh person inducted into the Hall of Fame Tuesday night. Former Washington & Jefferson and California University of Pennsylvania coach John Luckhardt also got honored.

Luckhardt won 76.1 percent of his combined games at W&J and Cal U, winning 225 games. He turned both programs into perennial national powers.

While at W&J, Luckhardt didn’t have a losing season and went 137-37-2, winning 13 Presidents’ Athletic Conference championships and making the NCAA playoffs 11 times.

He spent nine years leading the Vulcans program, winning 88 games and finishing his career with five consecutive seasons with double-digit wins and seven consecutive PSAC West titles.

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