SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced on Friday the selection of Ashland University legend Bill Royce to the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class, which consists of 14 First Team All-America players and two standout coaches. The inductees were selected from the national ballot of 76 All-America players and five elite coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and the 92 players and 27 coaches from the divisional ranks.
Bill Royce // Linebacker // Ashland // 1990-93
One of the most highly decorated defensive players in Division II history, Bill Royce earned First Team All-America honors in 1993 on his way to becoming the first Eagle player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
Royce was named a First Team All-American by the Associated Press, C.M. Frank and the Don Hansen Football Gazette in 1993 after posting a single-season school record 20.5 sacks. He would also lead the team in sacks in 1991 and 1992, finishing with an astounding 71 in his career, though it was not an officially kept stat until 2000. Named the MIFC/GLIAC Player of the Year as a senior, Royce is one of just four defensive players to earn the honor. He was the conference's defensive player and defensive lineman of the year in both 1992 and 1993 while also earning first team all-conference laurels. A Harlon Hill candidate as the top player in Division II as a junior and senior, Royce was Ashland's defensive MVP and team captain both seasons. An AP Third Team All-American in 1992, Royce led the Eagles to national rankings three times while guiding the team to its best four-year record in school history at 33-10-1.
Chosen as Ashland's most outstanding linebacker three times, Royce helped the Eagles defense lead the NCAA in total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense during his junior and senior seasons. He set a single-game school record for sacks with 3.5 against Wayne State (Mich.) in 1993. Royce was selected to play in the 1993 Snow Bowl All-Star Game after posting 366 career tackles while playing for College Football Hall of Fame coach Fred Martinelli.
Royce graduated from Ashland in 1994 with a bachelor's in business administration. He was selected to the Ashland University All Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, and he is a charter member of the Ashland University Gridiron Club. After serving as a sales representative for Eagle Crusher Co. for 10 years, Royce was named KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens' regional sales manager for mobile-crushing and screening-equipment sales in the Mid-Atlantic region.
"Bill was a phenomenal player," said Al King, Ashland Director of Athletics. "He was the conference player of the year and a Harlon Hill candidate, and that was unheard of for a defensive player. There were games where teams found it nearly impossible to block Bill. Teams would run two and three blockers at him, and he still got pressure on the pocket, and many times, got a sack.
"I'm excited for Bill and our football program. With Bill's selection, Ashland University joins some select company. Bill and his coach, Dr. Fred Martinelli, are Hall of Fame inductees, and very few small colleges and universities can claim two Hall of Famers."
Royce will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Dec. 6, 2016, at the National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS
· MARLIN BRISCOE – QB, Nebraska Omaha (1964-67)
· DERRICK BROOKS – LB, Florida State (1991-94)
· TOM COUSINEAU – LB, Ohio State (1975-78)
· RANDALL CUNNINGHAM – P/QB, UNLV (1982-84)
· TROY DAVIS – TB, Iowa State (1994-96)
· WILLIAM FULLER – DT, North Carolina (1981-83)
· BERT JONES – QB, LSU (1970-72)
· TIM KRUMRIE – DL, Wisconsin (1979-82)
· PAT McINALLY – TE, Harvard (1972-74)
· HERB ORVIS – DE, Colorado (1969-71)
· BILL ROYCE – LB, Ashland (Ohio) (1990-93)
· MIKE UTLEY – OG, Washington State (1985-88)
· SCOTT WOERNER – DB, Georgia (1977-80)
· ROD WOODSON – DB, Purdue (1983-86)
· BILL BOWES – 175-106-5 (62.1%); New Hampshire (1972-98)
· FRANK GIRARDI – 257-97-5 (72.3%); Lycoming (Pa.) (1972-2007)
2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS/BILL ROYCE NOTES -
- 13 school record breakers (Briscoe, Cousineau, Cunningham, Davis, Fuller, Jones, Krumrie, McInally, Orvis, Royce, Utley, Woerner, Woodson)
- FOUR conference players of the year (Brooks, Cunningham – 2, Davis, Royce)
- FIVE played for College Football Hall of Fame coaches (Brooks, Cousineau, Jones, Royce, Woerner)
- EIGHT defensive players (Brooks, Cousineau, Fuller, Krumrie, Orvis, Royce, Woerner, Woodson)
- THREE schools with its first-ever College Football Hall of Fame player inductee (Ashland [Ohio] – Royce, Nebraska Omaha – Briscoe, UNLV – Cunningham)
About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include FootballMatters.org, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal and Under Armour. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.