Former San Francisco 49ers strong safety Tim McDonald of Fresno, a linchpin of the defense in the franchise’s 1995 Super Bowl victory, was nominated Thursday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In addition, former Fresno State stars Henry Ellard and Lorenzo Neal were among the 122 modern-era played nominated.
McDonald was an All-American at Edison High School and USC before embarking on an NFL career that saw him named to six Pro Bowls — three each with the Phoenix Cardinals and the 49ers. Known as one of the hardest-hitting and most cerebral defenders in the game, he was named first-All Pro once and second-team All-Pro five times during his career.
Over 191 NFL games, he made 1,263 tackles, with 40 interceptions and 16 fumble recoveries.
Ellard Retired as NFL No. 3 All-Time Leading Receiver
Many analysts consider Ellard among the most underrated players in NFL history. Recruited out of Hoover High by Fresno State, he broke nearly every Bulldogs receiving record and set a then-NCAA record with 1,510 receiving yards in 1982. He still holds the NCAA record for yards per catch in a season, 24.4, also in 1982.
During his 16-year NFL career, Ellard led the league in receiving (1988 with the Los Angeles Rams), was a two-time All-Pro choice, and was named to three Pro Bowls. He retired as the third-leading receiver in NFL history with 13,777 yards and 65 touchdowns. He also gained 1,527 yards returning punts, 364 yard returning kickoffs, 50 rushing yards, and returned four punts touchdowns.
Experts Say Neal Is Best Blocking Fullback Ever
Neal perhaps is the best blocking fullback in NFL history. He blocked for tailbacks who gained 1,000 yards or more in 11 straight seasons from 1997 to 2007 during a 16-year NFL career.
Watch: Tomlinson Gets Hall of Fame Jacket from Lorenzo Neal
Notably, Neal was named the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s, and earned All-Pro accolades three times.
After starring at Lemoore High, he came to Fresno State where he was a powerful runner as well as a devastating blocker.
The modern-era players list will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November and to 15 finalists in early January 2020. The finalists will then be presented to the full 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee during its annual meeting on “Selection Saturday,” the day before Super Bowl LIV.