Alabama On Hand For Hall Inductees

Both Arkansas and LSU have selected their Alabama games to honor their recent inductees into the College Football Hall of Fame, even though neither of their inductees ever played against Bama.

Alabama goes to Arkansas September 25 and to LSU November 6. The Arkansas inductee is Ronnie Caveness, who played for the Razorbacks 1962-64. The LSU inductee is Jerry Stovall, who played for the Bengal Tigers 1960-62. Although Arkansas and LSU are now every year opponents of Bama as fellow members of the Southeastern Conference Western Division, in those days there were no SEC divisions and the Tide did not play LSU in those seasons. Arkansas at that time was a member of the now-defunct Southwest Conference.

There is no word yet on whether the Alabama game will be the date of the on-campus event for Clarkston Hines of Duke, the only other inductee on a team Alabama plays this year. Bama goes to Duke September 13.

There has been no announcement on which school will host the on-campus salute to Gene Stallings. He is a graduate and former head coach and athletics director at Texas A&M, but built his Hall of Fame coaching career at Alabama. Texas A&M has a player, Ray Childress, being inducted this year, which gives the Aggies one on-campus Hall of Fame event this season. It is also possible Stallings could be honored by both Alabama and Texas A&M.

One minor issue that will be raised the week of the Arkansas-Alabama game is that Arkansas claims the 1964 national championship, as does Alabama. The Crimson Tide won the two major awards that year, Associated Press and United Press International. Arkansas won the awards given by Helms and the Football Writers Association of America. The Hall of Fame has a little red face on this issue, too. As has often been the case, the Hall of Fame gave its national championship to Notre Dame.

Throughout the football season, each Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) College Football Hall of Fame inductee returns to his school for the special on-field event, where a commemorative plaque is presented to the university for permanent display. Beginning with the Foundation's inaugural Hall of Fame class in 1951, the On-Campus Salute has served as the first of numerous highlights in the hall of fame experience, giving each inductee one more chance to take the field.

One of the last Arkansas players to start on both sides of the ball, Ronnie Caveness dominated the opposition from 1962-64. Named a First Team All-Southwest Conference selection at both center and linebacker during his senior campaign, Caveness helped Arkansas to the 1964 conference and national championships on a team that was coached by Hall of Famer Frank Broyles and included modern day football luminaries Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson.

Caveness holds the Razorbacks record for most tackles made in consecutive seasons (309). Forty-five years later, he also still holds the top two spots on the school's rankings for most tackles in a game (29 and 25, respectively). The team captain was Arkansas' leading tackler in 21-straight games.

Stovall was a literal "Mr. Everything" for LSU, playing halfback, defensive back, kick returner while and also handling punting duties during his three years in Baton Rouge. A two-time All-SEC first team selection, Stovall was named the conference's Most Valuable Player in 1962 en route to finishing as the Heisman Trophy runner-up behind Oregon State's Terry Baker.

A member of the 1961 SEC co-championship (Alabama was 7-0, LSU 6-0) team, he finished at LSU with 1,071 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground, adding 462 yards and one touchdown receiving. He also held the LSU record holder for highest punting average (42.1) in a season, amassing 165 attempts for 6,477 yards by career's end. Stovall gained nearly 700 return yards on special teams and recorded seven interceptions as a defensive standout.

After a long pro career, Stovall turned to coaching and became head coach at LSU in 1980. Though he had only a 1-3 record against Alabama as a coach, his 1982 team handed Bama one of its most one-sided defeats. The score was 20-10, but the difference in the teams was far greater.

This year's hall of fame class includes Dennis Byrd (North Carolina State); Ronnie Caveness (Arkansas); Ray Childress (Texas A&M); Randy Cross (UCLA); Sam Cunningham (Southern California); Mark Herrmann (Purdue); Clarkston Hines (Duke); Desmond Howard (Michigan); Chet Moeller (Navy); Jerry Stovall (LSU); Pat Tillman (Arizona State); Alfred Williams (Colorado); and coaches Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin) and Gene Stallings (Texas A&M, Alabama).

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