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Michigan State to honor Van Pelt, Pingel

Michigan State will add two more names to its "Ring of Fame" this fall, as the school plans to honor College Football Hall of Famers Brad Van Pelt and John Pingel.

Before the Sept. 18 game against rival Notre Dame, Michigan State will add Van Pelt's and Pingel's names to the upper east deck of Spartan Stadium. The Ring of Fame already includes former Spartans players Don Coleman, George Webster and Bubba Smith, as well as former Michigan State president John Hannah.

"Brad Van Pelt and John Pingel are two players that didn’t simply compete at the collegiate level -- they excelled," Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio said.

"Van Pelt has been labeled the modern day Jim Thorpe by his teammate Joe DeLamielleure, while Pingel has been described as the Doak Walker of his era," Michigan State athletics director Mark Hollis said. "As members of the College Football Hall of Fame, they truly rank among the greatest players in Spartan history."

Van Pelt was a two-time first-team All-American for Michigan State and in 1972 became the first defensive back to win the Maxwell Award, given to the nation's top college player. He recorded 256 tackles and 14 interceptions in his Spartans career and was a five-time All-Pro in the NFL.

Van Pelt, who also played baseball and basketball at Michigan State, died of an apparent heart attack last February at age 57.

Pingel starred at halfback, quarterback and punter for Michigan State from 1936-38, helping the Spartans make their first postseason appearance. He accounted for 12 touchdowns in both his junior and senior seasons, and he led the nation in punting as a junior with a 42.6-yard average. Pingel, who died in 1999, was the No. 7 overall pick in the 1939 NFL draft but played only one season in the pros.

Pingel was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1968, while Van Pelt was inducted in 2001.