IRVING, Texas (WATE) – Superbowl champion and VFL Peyton Manning was named a member of the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame 2017 class.

The new class was announced Monday on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” Other 2017 inductees include Brian Urlacher, Mike Ruth, Adrian Peterson, Dat Nguyen, Bob McKay, Matt Leinart, Mashall Faulk, Kirk Gibson and Bob Crable, Steve Spurrier, Larry Kehres and Danny Ford.

He joins several former Tennessee players and coaches in the Hall of Fame. The last UT player to be inducted into the successful group was Chip Kell in 2006. Phillip Fulmer was inducted as a coach in 2012. The Vols first inductee was Gene “Wild Bull” McEver in 1954.

Fulmer congratulated Manning during a press conference on the University of Tennessee’s campus. He said Manning is the reason why the Vols won the 1998 National Championship and the VFL left his impact on the football program. Fulmer called Manning, “the face of Tennessee Athletics’ success.” He went on to say that Manning’s ability to connect to people is what makes him special.

The College Football Hall of Fame was created in 1951 and has inducted more than 977 players and 211 coaches. According to the organization, more than 5.19 million students have played college football.

Many factors are considered for an athlete to be included in the Hall of Fame. A player must have played college football at least 10 years ago and must have received a First-Team All-America recognition by the NCAA. Also, the foundation says a player’s all around achievements are considered: “He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and fellow man.”

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