LaVar Arrington on Monday officially became the 26th Penn State representative in the College Football Hall of Fame, a few days after overeagerly leaking the news (for which he apologized).
The National Football Foundation announced the 21-member class ahead of Monday's College Football Playoff title game between Alabama and Georgia. It includes Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam, quarterback Andrew Luck, defensive back Champ Bailey and coach Gary Pinkel. The group will be enshrined in December.
Arrington is one of Penn State's greatest linebackers, a two-time, first-team All-American who won the Butkus and Bednarik Awards. He is Penn State's first Hall of Fame inductee since quarterback Kerry Collins in 2018.
"First and foremost, I want to give a sincere thank you to my family because without them, I would have come up short," Arrington said in a statement. "My parents, brothers and sister instilled in me a mindset that was built so deep and so strong.
“Next, I want to thank coach Paterno, my coaches and my teammates. They all played a big part in my development. I love coach [Tom] Bradley, a super, awesome confidant and guidance for me. I would also like to thank so many people who played a major role in all of this, including Don Ferrell, Todd Kulka, Mark and Sue Sherburne, Dr. Dave Yukelson, Brad 'Spider' Caldwell, Kirk Diehl, Tim Shope and Tom Venturino.
"To my teammates, if it wasn’t for some of the greatest players ever to play college football, I would not have been the player I was able to be. This is for our whole squad and whole defensive unit. I couldn’t have been what I was without Courtney Brown, Brandon Short, Mac Morrison, Imani Bell, David Fleischhauer, Brad Scioli, Derek Fox, David Macklin, Anthony King, Askari Adams and James Boyd. We were all just trying to be great and it just so happens I'm a representative of the greatness we were trying to achieve."
Arrington maintains deep ties to the program, having served as an honorary captain in 2016 and visiting often. He has a son Penn, who, Arrington said, is named after the university.
Arrington also has been a strong supporter of Penn State coach James Franklin and last year backed the head coach and athletic department in pursuing a $69 million plan to upgrade the football facilities.
"I certainly want to send a much-deserved thank you to Penn State for supporting me," Arrington said. "I also appreciate the support from all the fans. They have always been the greatest fans in the world. The love I feel even to this day is just unmatched."
Added Franklin, "We could not be more excited for LaVar on his election to the College Football Hall of Fame. He is truly one of the all-time greats to ever put on a Penn State uniform. This is a well-deserved honor for an individual who has contributed so much to Penn State as a player, teammate, leader and role model to our organization.
"I have really enjoyed getting to know LaVar since I arrived to Happy Valley and can see why he is one of the most cherished individuals in this community. He is a true Penn Stater, and I would like to congratulate him on this tremendous achievement."
Penn State's College Football Hall of Fame Inductees
LaVar Arrington: 2022
Hugo Bedzek: 1954
John Cappelletti: 1993
Kerry Collins: 2018
Shane Conlan: 2014
Keith Dorney: 2005
Rip Engle: 1974
Jack Ham: 1990
Dick Harlow: 1954
Bob Higgins: 1954
Glenn Killinger: 1971
Ted Kwalick: 2989
Richie Lucas: 1986
Pete Mauthe: 1957
Shorty Miller: 1974
Lydell Mitchell: 2004
Dennis Onkotz: 1995
Joe Paterno: 2007
Mike Reid: 1987
Glenn Ressler: 2001
Dave Robinson: 1967
Steve Suhey: 1985
Dexter Very: 1976
Curt Warner: 2009
Harry Wilson: 1973
Bill Bowes: Inducted as New Hampshire coach in 2016