When Don Nehlen resurrected West Virginia's program in the early 1980s, Darryl Talley was a key building block.
Talley, who was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday, was a ferocious hitter at linebacker and a team leader who started all four of his years in Morgantown (1979-1982). He helped the Mountaineers to back-to-back, nine-win seasons and trips to the Peach and Gator bowls his final two seasons; West Virginia had suffered five straight non-winning campaigns before that.
In 1982, his senior year, Talley was selected as West Virginia's third-ever consensus All-American. His 484 career tackles stood as the school record until Grant Wiley broke the mark. His five tackles for loss against Penn State in 1980 was a school record that was later eclipsed by James Davis. He also finished with 19 sacks and 28 tackles for loss, among the best in program history.
Lightly recruited out of Cleveland after a broken ankle sidelined him much of his final season in high school, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Talley blossomed into a superstar with his speed and physical play. He never beat Pitt during his career but tormented Dan Marino; he intercepted a Marino pass in the 1982 game and also blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown.
Talley was selected in the second round pick of the 1983 NFL draft by Buffalo and played until 1996. He was a two-time Pro Bowler and fan favorite who helped the Bills reach four straight Super Bowls.
Talley was inducted into the West Virginia Hall of Fame and now becomes the sixth Mountaineer to be inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame as a player.