"I'm hardly ever speechless, but I am," Alvarez said. "When you look at college football and the number of people who have played, I feel honored just to be mentioned … An honor like this to me is really a tribute to the many people who help you get there."
Alvarez turned heads from the very beginning of his career, as he scored on a 70-yard touchdown reception from quarterback John Reaves in his very first game, to lead the Gators to an upset of No. 7 Houston, 59-34, in the 1969 season opener. The TD was his first of 172 career receptions, a Gator record that stood for 36 years. As a sophomore in '69, Alvarez caught 88 passes for 1,329 yards and 12 touchdowns, all records that stood for over 20 years, and his 88 receptions is still tied for the best all-time at UF.
In arguably his best game of his sophomore campaign, he and Reaves connected 15 times for 237 yards in Florida's homecoming victory over Miami, 35-16, and his 15 catches still stands as Florida's all-time best.
Alvarez played three seasons (1969-1971), earning 172 receptions, 2,563 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns, all records at the time, and his total yardage is still etched in the Florida's record books as the most all-time with close to 200 yards over the next Gator.
"I certainly didn't expect these records to last 40 years," Alvarez said. "They are good records, but they are not Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. When the records get broken, I really am very supportive. I think they need to be passed on to a new generation."
His outstanding debut season made him the youngest player ever to become an AFCA First Team All-America selection, while also earning two All-SEC selections. In addition to his accomplishments on the field, Alvarez was a three-time Academic All-American and UF's first ever three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll honoree. Additionally, he is a member of Florida's All-Century Team, the Florida-Georgia Game Hall of Fame and the GTE Academic All-America Hall of Fame.
Alvarez will be the sixth player in UF history and ninth member of Florida's football program to be inducted into the NFF College Football Hall of Fame. Additionally, he is the third former Gator football player to earn the honor in the past six years. Emmitt Smith was inducted in 2006 and Wilber Marshal in 2008. Other Gator Hall of Famers include Dale Van Sickel (1927-29, inducted 1975), Steve Spurrier (1964-66, inducted 1986) and Jack Youngblood (1968-70, inducted 1992) as players, and Charles Bachman (1928-32, inducted 1978), Ray Graves (1960-69, inducted 1990) and Doug Dickey (1970-78, inducted 2003), as former UF head coach inductees.
"Carlos is a great example of all that is good in college athletics," Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said. "His tireless work and commitment to excellence translated into success both on and off the field. He has maintained his level of commitment and success in his professional career as well.
"I've had the opportunity to see Carlos a number of times when he visits Gainesville and he remains a tremendous ambassador for our program. The honor is well-deserved."
Alvarez continued to shine after graduating from Florida, as he was awarded an NCAA Merit Post-Graduate Scholarship and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Duke Law School. He is now a practicing lawyer in Tallahassee. During his career, he has served on the U.S. District Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals, the U.S. Claims Court, the Florida Elections Commission and the Second Judicial Circuit Nominating Commission. He was honored with Jose Marti Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Cuban Community from the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and was named the SMU School of Law's Outstanding Professor in 1980. He has also received keys to the city from Miami and Tampa.
"What a tremendous honor for Carlos Alvarez and the University of Florida football family,'' Florida head football coach Will Muschamp said. "Growing up a Gator fan, I was very aware of what Carlos accomplished, setting most of the receiving records in an era when you could only play three years and the seasons were only 11 games long. Carlos was equally successful in the classroom at UF and he has carried that success to his law practice.
"I had the pleasure of talking to Carlos shortly after I got the job at Florida and despite all of his success – I remember how humble he remains. He is very proud to be a Gator and today all Gators should be proud of him.''
The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute is a tradition that dates back to the first Hall of Fame induction in 1951. Each inductee from the Football Bowl Subdivision returns to his alma mater to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will remain on permanent display at the institution. The event always takes place on the field during a home game, which will give Alvarez the chance to take the field once again in front of a sold out crowd at The Swamp.
The 2011 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted at the 54th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City on Tuesday, Dec. 6. Alvarez is joined by Doug English (Texas), Bill Enyart (Oregon State), Eddie George (Ohio State), Marty Lyons (Alabama), Russell Maryland (Miami, Fla.), Deion Sanders (Florida State), Jake Scott (Georgia), Will Shields (Nebraska), Sandy Stephens (Minnesota), Darryl Talley (West Virginia), Clendon Thomas (Oklahoma), Rob Waldrop (Arizona), Gene Washington (Michigan State), coach Lloyd Carr (Michigan), and coach Fisher DeBerry (Air Force) in the Hall of Fame 2011 class.