One of TCU’s favorite sons is now a member of the most prestigious group in the NFL, as LaDainian Tomlinson has officially been elected to the Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2017.
The former running back out of Waco was a member of the TCU Football program from 1997-2000, becoming a crucial cog in the resurgence of the Frogs under Dennis Franchione and later Gary Patterson. After combining for 270 rushing attempts in his first two years on campus, LT broke onto the scene as a junior when he ran for 1,974 yards and 20 TDs with a 6.5 yards per carry average. He was named the WAC offensive Player of the Year and helped lead the Frogs to a Mobile Bowl win over East Carolina. As a senior, LT was a Heisman finalist, a Doak Award winner, and once again the WAC Player of the Year. He set the (then) single game rushing record with 406 yards against UTEP as part of a 2,158 yard, 22 touchdown season.
Tomlinson was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the spring of 2001, where he would go on to play ten of his 12 seasons, finishing his career with two years playing for the Jets. Tomlinson was named NFL MVP in 2006, a year in which he was also recognized as the Walter Payton Man of the Year and set the single season rushing touchdown record with 29. He was a five time Pro Bowler, a three time first ballot All Pro, and became the first player in league history to catch 100 passes and rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season. LT could do it all - in addition to his rushing ability and use as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, he was 8-12 passing for 147 yards and seven touchdowns. Tomlinson help revitalize the franchise as a whole, leading the Chargers to the play-offs five times with two different quarterbacks.
Having rushed for over 13,600 yards in his career, LT is fifth all time on the rushing list. He’s second on the list for rushing touchdowns scored with 145, trailing only Emmitt Smith. Adding 624 receptions for 4,772 yards and 17 scores made him one of the most versatile weapons in the game during his playing years. He is widely considered one of the greatest ever at his position, and soon he will have his bust in Canton to prove it.
Four other players made the cut for the class of 2017, including former St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner, Denver running back Terrell Davis, Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor and Saints kicker Morten Andersen. Kenny Easley, a safety for the Seattle Sehawks, was picked as a senior nominee, while the final person elected in this cycle was Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, as a contributor.
Known for his subtle touchdown celebrations and work with the community off the field, Tomlinson now runs several charities, including Tomlinson’s Touching Lives Foundation. He currently resides in the DFW area with his wife, LaTorsha, and son Daylen. He is still a very visible part of the TCU family, attending games and hosting camps there regularly. He joins Sammy Baugh and Bob Lilly as Horned Frogs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Congratulations to LaDainian Tomlinson, and all of the Frog Fam will be watching this summer when he is officially inducted!