He wasn't the most obvious choice in the field, but he had a huge impact on his program. Kenny Wheaton is the fan's choice to be inducted into the SB Nation College Football Hall of Fame as defensive back.
If there was a clear-cut upset in our inaugural balloting for the SB Nation College Football Hall of Fame, it was Kenny Wheaton. After all, he had to beat a Heisman winner and a Nagurski award winner to get in. Which is exactly the way you would expect Wheaton to get in.
Wheaton's impact on Oregon football went beyond his statistics, as our Oregon blog Addicted To Quack told us in an email.
Headed into the eighth game of the 1994 season against the #9 team in the country and hated rival Washington, it looked like another lackluster season as Oregon sat at 4-3. As Washington marches down the field for the sure winning touchdown in the last minute of the game, Wheaton jumped a quick out to the end zone and ran it back 97 yards for the touchdown that would seal the game for Oregon. The Ducks would go on to win their last four, and make the Rose Bowl for the first time in 37 years, the appearance made Phil Knight interested, and the rest is history. But Wheaton was so much more than "The Pick," and was twice a second-team All-American ('95-96), and still holds Oregon records for interception-return yards and interceptions returned for touchdowns.
The SB Nation College Football Hall of Fame is a summer project involving all of the network's excellent college football blogs. Each community could nominate five of its own for inclusion, with 10 of those nominees being inducted by our selection committee, which included reps from most FBS conferences. The remaining 10 were chosen by public vote.