A star New Mexico defensive back who blossomed as the latest in a line of legendary Bears’ middle linebackers, Brian Urlacher was one of two former Bears players named to the College Football Hall of Fame on Monday.
He joined Adrian Peterson, a Georgia Southern running back, who from 1998-2001 set the Div. I rushing record with 6,559 yards.
Urlacher played for the Lobos from 1996-99, earning a consensus first-team All-America title and conference player of the year honors before the Bears picked him ninth in the 2000 draft.
The 10 players and three coaches were whittled down from a list of 75 players from the Div. I-A level and 95 more from lower ranks.
Former linebacker Bob Crable became the 46th Notre Dame player selected to the hall; he played from 1978-81 and holds the Irish’s single-game, season and career tackling marks.
Also in the class: San Diego State running back Marshall Faulk, Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning, Michigan State receiver and future Dodgers star Kirk Gibson, USC quarterback Matt Leinart, Texas tackle Bob McKay, Texas A&M linebacker Dat Nguyen and Boston College nose guard Mike Ruth.
Three coaches were selected, too: Danny Ford, Steve Spurrier and Larry Kehres.
To be eligible, players must be named a first-team All-American and be between 10 and 50 years removed from their college career. More than 12,000 National Football Foundation members submit votes, which are then considered by the NFF’s Honors Court.