SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The late Sam Mills, along with former NFL stars Fred Dean and Rod Smith, head the newest divisional class of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Also among the new Hall of Famers announced Tuesday by the National Football Foundation were Roger Brown who played defensive tackle for Maryland Eastern in the 1950s, former Marshall coach Jim Donnan, and former Missouri Valley coach Volney Ashford, who died in 1973.
The divisional class includes players and coaches from Division I-AA (now called the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision) and Divisions II, III and the NAIA. This year's class will be inducted July 18-19 at the Hall of Fame in South Bend.
Mills played linebacker for Montclair State and was the New Jersey Collegiate Writers defensive player of the year three straight seasons from 1978-80. He got his start in the pros playing in the USFL in 1983, went on to play 12 years in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, making five Pro Bowls. He died of intestinal cancer in 2005 at age 45 while he was the linebackers coach for the Panthers.
Dean was a defensive lineman for Louisiana Tech, leading the Bulldogs to the 1973 Division II national championship and four consecutive Southland Conference titles. He was a two-time conference defensive player of the year and went on to win two Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers.
Smith set six school records while playing for Missouri Southern State in 1988 and 1990-93. He went on to become the Denver Broncos' career receiving leader.
Donnan posted a 64-21 record in six seasons at Marshall, leading the Thundering Herd to the Division I-AA title in 1992 and to three other national championship games. Donnan was 40-19 in five seasons at Georgia.
After college, Brown became part of the Los Angeles Rams' "Fearsome Foursome" defensive front.