Bert Jones, who quarterbacked the Colts to three AFC East championships in the 1970s, was elected Friday to the College Football Hall of Fame. A first-team All-American at LSU, Jones is one of 16 players and coaches named to the class of 2016, which will be inducted in December.
A strong-armed passer from Ruston, La., he was the lowly Colts' first-round draft pick in the 1973 NFL draft and the second player chosen overall. Groomed to replace Johnny Unitas, Jones led Baltimore in 1975 to the first of three straight division titles. A year later, he was named the league's Most Valuable Player after passing for 3,104 yards and 24 touchdowns.
The son of former Cleveland Browns running back Dub Jones, he finished fourth in balloting for the 1972 Heisman Trophy after a stellar college career. Jones set 20 records at LSU, and as a senior took the Tigers to the Sun Bowl. There, "The Ruston Rifle" passed for three touchdowns and ran for another in a 33-15 victory over Iowa State.
On Monday, Jones and another 2016 inductee, former Ravens cornerback Rod Woodson, will take part in the coin toss prior to the College Football Playoff National Championship between Clemson and Alabama in Glendale, Ariz. Woodson (Purdue) starred for the Ravens from 1998 through 2001 and was key to their Super Bowl victory after the 2000 season.
Others to be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame include quarterback Randall Cunningham (UNLV), who played for the Ravens in 2001, Marlin Briscoe (quarterback, Nebraska-Omaha), Derrick Brooks (linebacker, Florida State), Tom Cousineau (linebacker, Ohio State), Troy Davis (tailback, Iowa State), William Fuller (defensive tackle, North Carolina) and Tim Krumrie (defensive lineman, Wisconsin).
The class is rounded out by Pat McInally (tight end, Harvard), Herb Orvis (defensive end, Colorado), Bill Royce (linebacker, Ashland), Mike Utley (guard, Washington State), Scott Woerner (defensive back, Georgia).
Two coaches — Bill Bowes (New Hampshire) and Frank Girardi (Lycoming) — will also be inducted.