National High School Football HOF Inaugural Class Inducted In Canton

The Hall of Fame City of Canton, Ohio welcomed another class to town on Sunday, July 30th.

But this one was from the National High School Football Hall of Fame, as they honored their inaugural class of 23 members at a ceremony held at the Umstattd Performing Arts Hall at McKinley Senior High School.

The 2023 class included many Stark County greats, as well as high school football legends from all across the country.


Here is the 23 member class for 2023 with each players bio:

Jerry Ball, Jr.

Jerry Ball Jr. attended Hebert High school and Westbrook Senior High in Beaumont, Texas. He played fullback, linebacker and defensive tackle on their 1982 5A championship team. His senior year, Ball rushed for 1000 yards, was awarded All-State and All-District honors at all three positions and was selected to play in the Texas High School All Star game. Ball was a four-time letter winner and All-American at Southern Methodist University. Drafted by Detroit, Ball spent thirteen seasons with the Lions, Browns, Raiders and Vikings. He earned First Team All-Pro honors in 1991and played in 3 Pro Bowls (1989-1991). Ball is a member of the Texas High School Football Hall (2015), SMU Athletics Hall of Fame (2015), Texas Gridiron Legends (2021) and Texas Top 100 players in 100 years: 1920-2020.

Jim Brown

Jim Brown was a multi-sport athlete for Manhasset High School.  Manhasset is located in New York on Long Island. He was awarded thirteen letters excelling in football, lacrosse, basketball, baseball and track. As a running back, he averaged 14.9 yards per carry. His senior year at Syracuse University, Brown earned consensus All-American honors.  In 1957, he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns. He retired as the league’s career rushing leader with 12,312 yards. Jim Browns is considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game of football.

Lomas Brown

Lomas Brown was an exceptional offensive lineman for Miami Springs in Florida. He continued his playing career at the University of Florida. There, Brown was a team captain and a consensus All-American his senior year (1984).  Was the sixth overall selection in 1985 NFL Draft, and played 18 years in NFL. In 2007, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) recognized Brown as one of the 33 all-time greatest Florida high school football players of the last 100 years by naming him to its “All-Century Team”.

Paul Brown

After serving as head coach at Severn Prep in Maryland for two years, Paul Brown assumed the helm at his alma mater, Massillon Washington High School in Ohio. There he amassed an 80-8-2 record over nine seasons (1932-1940) capturing six state titles and three national championships. Known as the father of modern football, Brown’s innovations such as the playbook and sending in plays via hand signals were introduced in Massillon. He went on to coach Ohio State and founded the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967.

Greg Cameron

Greg Cameron starred at University High School in Cleveland, Ohio. His senior year, he led the team in rushing and receiving. He also led the defense in interceptions with 5. His honors include All-Interstate League Safety as well as being selected to participate in the East-West All-Star Game. Greg also set 11 school track and Field records. He went on to be a three-year starter at Bucknell University.

John “Showboat” Crowell

John “Showboat” Crowell played at Jeannette High School in Jeannette, Pennsylvania. He was an outstanding power running back from 1936-1939. He played under legendary head coach Markely A. Barnes. Crowell is regarded as one of the all-time greatest running backs from the WPIAL and Western Pennsylvania. He is the grandfather of the founder National High School Football Hall of Fame founder LaMont “Showboat” Robinson.

Mike Doss

Mike Doss earned a varsity letter as a freshman and started at safety as a sophomore at Canton McKinley.  He was an integral part of McKinley’s 1997 state and national championship team. As a senior captain, Doss ran for 1,400 yards at tailback and racked up 118 tackles at safety to help lead the Bulldogs to a second consecutive state championship. Mike is in a very select group that has won a national championship in high school, college (Ohio State – 2002) and a Super Bowl (XLI: Indianapolis Colts – 2006).

Marcus Dupree

Marcus Dupree was a true phenom. He played high school football for the Philadelphia Tornadoes in Philadelphia, Mississippi. He started as a wide receiver and kick returner, later moving to running back. Marcus finished his scholastic career with 7,355 rushing yards and a national record setting 87 touchdowns. After two injury plagued seasons with the Oklahoma Sooners, Dupree signed with the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL. He suffered a devastating knee injury in the first game of the 1985 season, his second in the league. Dupree retired from football after a brief comeback with the Los Angeles Rams (1991-1992).

Ray Freeman

Ray Freeman played at Warrensville Heights from 1978-1981. He was a star running back and defensive back. Freeman was 3rd Team All-Ohio and captain his senior year. He led his Warrensville Heights Tigers in touchdowns and yards rushing and was an All-Central Conference selection three straight years. Freeman went on to star and play at Colorado State University.  

Ted Ginn, Sr.

Ted Ginn, Sr. began coaching football at his alma mater, Glenville High School, in Cleveland, Ohio in the mid 1970s. In 1997 he was named head coach.  His Tarblooders have made several trips to the state playoffs winning a championship in 2022. More than fifty of his athletes have been awarded full college scholarships including his son Ted Ginn, Jr. and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith. Ginn prioritizes saving lives and souls rather than winning football games. While helping at-risk youth, he has been able to do both.

2023 HOF class member Archie Griffin with Jim Tressel and Kenny Roda. (courtesy1480 whbc)

Archie Griffin

Archie Griffin attended Eastmoor High School in Columbus, Ohio. He was

a three-year starter at fullback. His combination of quickness, agility and power made him nightmare to bring down. In his senior year, Archie rushed for 1,737 yards averaging 7.1 yards per carry and scoring 29 touchdowns. He was named the 1971 Ohio’s Player of the Year. Griffin accumulated a career total 3,382 yards and 47 TDs and made the Senior Scholastic High School All-American team. While he developed the habit of breaking tackles and accelerating through the line of scrimmage at Eastmoor, he perfected it at Ohio State starting his freshman year and winning two Heisman Trophies (1974 & 1975) his junior and senior years. He is the only two-time winner of the prestigious award.

Greg Kampe

Greg Kampe played football, basketball and track and field at Defiance High School in Defiance, Ohio. As a senior, he was named to the football Class AAA defensive second team as a back.  He was named to the basketball Class AAA All-District second team, averaging 20.8 points per game as a senior. Kampe attended Bowling Green State University, where he played football and basketball. Kampe was a kicker, punter and cornerback on the football team. In a 16–14 win over Southern Mississippi in 1975, Kampe broke the Mid-American Conference and BGSU record for average yards per punt with 57.5. A 77-yard punt in the game also set the BGSU record for longest punt.

Bernie Kosar

Bernie Kosar attended Boardman High School in Boardman, Ohio, a suburb of Youngstown. There, he quarterbacked the Spartans earning Parade magazine’s All-American honors his senior year (1981). That same year, he was Ohio’s Division I “Player of the Year”. He went on to play for Miami University in Florida, leading the Hurricanes to a national championship in 1983 and helping to establish The “U” and an emerging powerhouse. He spent twelve years in the NFL primarily with the Cleveland Browns.

Thom McDaniels

A native of Orville, Ohio, Thom McDaniels took an assistant coaching position at Canton McKinley in 1980.  He was named head coach in 1982. In 1997 he led the Bulldogs to a state title as well as being crowned Nation Champions by USA Today. That same year, McDaniels was recognized nationally being named Coach of the Year by USA Today, Nike and the Touchdown Club of Columbus as well as the Associated Press Ohio Division I Coach of the Year. He is the winningest coach in Canton McKinley history (.737) with a record of 137-49. His sons Josh and Ben are long-time NFL coaches.

Kevin Mack

Kevin Mack grew up in Kings Mountain, North Carolina and attended the local high school by the same name. Initially, Mack was more interested in track than football. His size and 4.4-40 speed prompted the football coach to convince Kevin that he should focus on football. His senior year, at fullback, he rushed for 1,585 yards in ten games. He earned All-State honors and played in the East-West All-Star game. Mack went on to play for Clemson University where he helped the Tigers win a National Championship in 1981. After a stint in the USFL Kevin was chosen by the Cleveland Browns the 1985 AFC Rookie of the Year and played in two Pro Bowls.

Archie Manning

Archie Manning grew up in Drew, Mississippi and attended Drew High School. An outstanding athlete, Manning excelled in football, baseball, basketball and track.  He really shined on the diamond and was drafted four times by Major League baseball teams. However, Archie chose football and went on to play quarterback at the University of Mississippi eventually becoming one of the most beloved players to wear an Ole Miss uniform. He played 14 seasons in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers and Minnesota Vikings making the Pro Bowl twice (1978, 1979). He was inducted into in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989. He is known as the of father of the first family of football with his sons Cooper, Peyton and Eli as well as his grandson Arch all excelling on the gridiron.

Cooper Manning

Cooper Manning is the oldest son of Ole Miss and NFL star Archie Manning. He played his high school football at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was a standout wide receiver and had a breakout season his senior year catching 75 passes from his younger brother Peyton. Cooper followed in his father’s footsteps and attended the University of Mississippi. The summer before his freshman year, he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis effectively ending his football career. Peyton switched from 14 (his father’s high school number) to his now famous 18, Cooper’s high school number, in order to honor his older brother.

Eli Manning

Eli Manning followed the path of his older brothers Cooper and Peyton and played football at Isidore Newman in New Orleans. Like his brother Peyton and his father Archie, he quarterbacked his team. Eli threw 89 career touchdowns a set school passing record with 7,389 total yards. He attended Ole Miss where his father had been a star player for the Rebels. There, he set numerous records and won multiple awards including First Team All-American (The All-American Foundation). Manning enjoyed a 16-year career with the New York Giants winning two Super Bowls and being name MVP in both games, further cementing the Manning name as the First Family of Football.

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning starred at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans. In his sophomore year at quarterback, he teamed up with his older brother wide receiver Cooper (sons of legend Archie Manning) connecting on 75 passes that season. In his three-year high school career, Peyton passed for 7,207 yards and 92 touchdowns. He ran for 13 more. He led Newman to a 34-5 record and into the playoffs all three years.  Manning played collegiately at the University of Tennessee and became the top pick in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, leading the Colts and Denver Broncos to Super Bowl titles. He is a member of both the Pro Football and College Football Hall of Fames.

Marion Motley

Marion Motley started his career at Canton McKinley playing right Guard his sophomore year in 1936. He moved to fullback in 1937, and rushed for 950 yards with 10 TDs on just 58 carries. As a senior, he averaged an astounding 17.8 yards per carry (1,228 yards on 69 attempts). Motley ran for a career total of 2,178 yards (17.1 yards per attempt). He also threw for 683 yards and 11 touchdowns. In 1946 Motley joined the upstart Cleveland Browns. That same year, Marion, along with Bill Willis, Kenny Washington and Woody Strode broke the color barrier in professional football. Motley was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968.

Don Nehlen

Don Nehlen was a three-sport star athlete at Canton Lincoln High School, playing quarterback for the football team. After a successful career at Bowling Green State University, he returned to his hometown to coach Canton McKinley leading them to a 9-1 record in 1964. He went on to coach at his college alma mater, Bowling Green, the University of Michigan and West Virginia University. He coached the Mountaineers for twenty years and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Horace Sheffield, III

Horace L. Sheffield, III, began his high school football career in 1969 at Assumption High School in Detroit, Michigan. As a 10th grader, he stood 6’2″ and weighed in at 220 pounds. That year Assumption won the city championship and was Horace an all-city athlete. He continued his prep career at Cass Technical High School (also in Detroit) where by the time he was in the 11th grade, he grew to 6’4″ and 247 pounds. After Cass he played for the Saginaw Valley Cardinals under coach Frank “Muddy” Waters.

Chris Spielman and Archie Griffin in the green room before the ceremony. (courtesy of 1480 whbc)

Chris Spielman

Chris Spielman played running back and linebacker for Massillon Washington High School in Massillon, Ohio. He is the Tigers’ all-time leading tackler with 190 unassisted tackles. In 1983, Chris was bestowed with the Dial Award for the national high school scholar athlete of the year.  He was the first high school athlete to have his picture on a box of Wheaties. He went on to become a two-time All-American at Ohio State as well as enjoying a lengthy NFL career, playing for the Lions, Bills and Browns (1988-1999).

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