CHAMPAIGN — Former University of Illinois All-American linebacker Dana Howard will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation announced Monday.
Howard will become the 17th Illini in the hall of fame, including college legends Red Grange (inducted 1951), Dick Butkus (inducted 1983) and most recently David Williams (inducted 2005). Howard won the Butkus Award in 1994 as the nation's top linebacker, Illinois' first major national award.
"I am so honored and humbled to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018," said Howard. "I want to thank God for blessing me with the ability. I praise my Mom and Dad for always telling me there are no limits in life, only the ones you put on yourself.
“Thanks to my family and friends who have been there since day one. An extra special thanks to my wife, the Bonnie to my Clyde. Thanks to The City of East St. Louis — all 89 blocks."
Howard, who left Champaign as the Big Ten's all-time leading tackler, recorded at least 147 tackles in each of his four seasons from 1991-94 and totaled 595 career tackles, along with 30 TFLs, 10 sacks, four interceptions and seven fumble recoveries.
The East St. Louis native was the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year in 1993 and 1994 and was named a first team All-American in both seasons. Howard was a consensus All-American during his Butkus Award winning senior season in 1994.
"I want to acknowledge my teammates, because I wouldn't and couldn't be in this position without them," said Howard. "I want to thank my coaches for taking me from a good player to great one, and most importantly, I give all credit to the University of Illinois for making me a great student-athlete. I-L-L!"
Howard was a fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in the 1995 NFL Draft. He played with the St. Louis Rams in 1995 and spent two seasons with the Chicago Bears from 1996-97 before playing for the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe.
Howard is a member of several foundations in the East St. Louis area, including the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation. An avid guest speaker, he also helps organize the City of Champions Football Classic to benefit the East St. Louis school district. He is the owner of Zoie LLC DBA Dana Howard Construction Company based in Belleville.
Induction will take place Dec. 4 during the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown.