It seems fitting that the first player announced for the 2011 college football hall of fame class is on a first-name basis with his fans.
Eddie George -- the former Ohio State running back whose gridiron exploits left fans at Ohio Stadium chanting "Eddie! Eddie!" from 1992-95 -- has been announced as the first member of this year's class. The complete class will be announced Tuesday at 11:30 a.m.
Considered a long-shot at best to bring home the nation's top individual honor as a senior, George amassed 1,927 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns on 328 carries during the 1995 campaign to become the fifth Buckeye to earn the Heisman Trophy. It marked the most prolific season for a running back in OSU history, while his 314-yard outburst against Illinois is the program's highest single-game total. He also added 47 receptions for 417 yards and one more touchdown that season.
Among the factors needed to be selected for the hall, a player must have earned first-team all-America honors and 10 years must have passed since his playing career had ended. George has been eligible since 2005, leading ESPN senior writer Bruce Feldman to tweet, "Eddie George the newest inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame... Why wasn't he already in?"
A first-round draft pick taken by the Houston Oilers, George was named the NFL's rookie of the year after carrying the ball 335 times for 1,368 yards and eight touchdowns. He wold go on to play eight seasons in the league, compiling 10,441 rushing yards to place 23rd all-time.
During his NFL career, George played in four pro bowls and was named a first-team all-pro for the 2000 season. A testament to his durability, George is just one of two backs to amass at least 10,000 yards to never miss a start, joining Cleveland Browns great Jim Brown.
While still playing in the NFL, George graduated from OSU in 2001, the same year his No. 27 jersey was retired by the university. He was named to OSU's athletics hall of fame in 2006 and currently serves as an on-air personality for the Big Ten Network.
George becomes the 29th Buckeye including coaches to be named to the hall and the first since linebacker Chris Spielman was so honored in 2009. Induction for this class will take place December 6, 2011 in New York City.