STATESBORO — Former Georgia Southern star Adrian Peterson has added another honor to his already sparkling resume’ when he was named to the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
Peterson’s No. 3 jersey is retired at Georgia Southern and he still stands as the NCAA’s Division I all-time leading rusher with 6,559 yards in regular-season contests.
He is already a member of GS’s Athletics Hall of Fame and was a four-time All-American for the Eagles.
“What an amazing honor to be recognized for such a prestigious award,” Peterson said. “I am grateful for the chance to represent my hometown of Alachua, Florida, and my parents, Porter and Reatha Peterson, who set me up for success from the very start. Thank you, Georgia Southern University, for the opportunity to further my education and receive a college degree while playing the game of football. Lastly, sincere thanks to the committee for considering me worthy and allowing me to join such an elite class of men.”
He was the first sophomore to win the Walter Payton Award, given to the top player in the FCS. He rushed for 100 or more yards in 48 consecutive games and at the time of graduation, held 30 school and playoff records. He was a sixth-round draft choice of the Chicago Bears in 2002 and was a Super Bowl XLI participant.
“Adrian Peterson personifies what being a great student-athlete means,” said Georgia Southern Director of Athletics Tom Kleinlein. “Not only was he a transcendent player at Georgia Southern, leading the Eagles to a pair of national titles, but his commitment to academics and public service has continued throughout his life. AP has been a tireless supporter of Georgia Southern University, both academically and athletically. We could not be more proud that Adrian Peterson is an Eagle and congratulate him on this honor.”
Peterson was inducted as a member of the inaugural SoCon Hall of Fame class in 2009 and was a unanimous choice for induction into Georgia Southern Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2012 in his first year of eligibility.
He is known for his charity work and advocacy of the importance of education. He has dedicated his life to motivational speaking and working with multiple charities.
Peterson will join fellow Georgia Southern star Tracy Ham as the only two Eagles enshrined in Atlanta. They are also the only two Georgia Southern football players to have their jersey numbers retired.
“I’m so very proud and honored for Adrian and his family to be able to receive this unbelievable recognition,” said head football coach Tyson Summers. “You talk about great players and people and Adrian Peterson is the personification of that. He’s as fine of a person and football player ever to wear the Blue and White and he’s continued his great work off the field after football through his charitable acts. This is a great achievement for him as an individual and for our university, as well.”
The 2017 class will be inducted at the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 5 in New York City. The inductees will be permanently enshrined at the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta later that December and honored on the field during the 13th annual National Hall of Fame Salute during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.