Pat Tillman can safely be called the pride of Tempe, Ariz. He was a man devoted to service, to his family, to his teammates, to his country.
Now, the former All-American linebacker from Arizona State will be posthumously honored in true Sun Devil pride, during a National Football Foundation (NFF) Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute during a game against Pac-10 rival Stanford in Tempe this season.
On May 27, the NFF announced that Tillman, who was a star at Arizona State from 1994 to 1997, will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this summer.
Tillman is arguably one of the greatest defensive players in Sun Devil history, as he was the first-ever Arizona State player named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 1996. Tillman led his team to a Pac-10 title and a spot in the Rose Bowl that year, then went on to win the Sun Bowl MVP in his senior season.
After being drafted by Arizona in the 1998 NFL draft, Tillman enlisted in the army after just three seasons with the Cardinals, in wake of the 9/11 attacks. Following his tragic death during a tour in Afghanistan in 2004, Tillman was awarded a Purple Heart by the U.S. Army and a Silver Star by the U.S. Military.
"Pat Tillman is a true American hero and his thrilling accomplishments on the field provide an unmatched example of the leadership qualities forged on the gridiron that he exhibited later in life," said NFF president and CEO Steve Hatchell. "It will be an honor to travel to Tempe and hear the crowds cheer his name in appreciation of his accomplishments."
The On-Campus Salute is known as the first of many highlights in the Hall of Fame experience, giving the player one more chance to take his home field. Tillman will be represented by his wife, Marie.
"It will be an honor for Arizona State University to share this on-campus recognition of Pat Tillman with our community and his family and friends." says Lisa Love, vice president for university athletics at ASU. "Pat, an American hero, is a significant part of our history, and we are thrilled to recognize him and his family once again."