In recognition of the start of college football season, we have selected a two-time All-American from the University of Maryland who went on to earn a spot in both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fames as our Baltimore Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Week.
Randy White actually came to the University of Maryland as a fullback, but as a sophomore new head coach Jerry Claiborne recognized that he had the skills to be a great defensive lineman and quickly moved him to defense.
As a junior, White earned first team All-American honors from the Associated Press. The Terrapins posted an 8-4 record and made their first appearance in a Bowl Game since 1956.
Maryland lost a heart-breaker to the University of Georgia 17-16 in the Peach Bowl, but were still ranked 20th in the final AP Poll.
The following season, White was unquestionably one of the best defensive players in college football.
He was a consensus first team All-American and received many honors including the Outland Trophy, Lombardi Award and ACC Player of the Year. He also finished ninth in the Heisman Trophy balloting.
Maryland swept through the ACC with a 6-0 record and finished the year with another 8-4 mark and ranked 13th in the final AP Poll.
The Terps controlled the action against Tennessee for most of the Liberty Bowl, but a special teams miscue in the final minutes led to a touchdown as the Volunteers won 7-3. Despite the loss, White was named the game MVP.
The Dallas Cowboys made White the second pick in the 1975 NFL Draft.
After initially being looked at as a linebacker, White moved to defensive tackle and quickly took over where Hall of Famer Bob Lilly had left off as the anchor of the Dallas defense.
White made the first of nine consecutive Pro Bowl appearances in 1977.
During that season, the Cowboys reached the Super Bowl and White joined defensive end Harvey Martin as co-MVP of the Super Bowl.
In 1978 he became a first team All-Pro for the first time, an honor he would receive seven times over the next eight seasons.
Though sacks were an official NFL statistic only for a portion of his career, White’s unofficially totaled 111 sacks during his 14 seasons with the Cowboys.
In 1994 White was named to both the Pro Football and the College Football Hall of Fame.
If you had a favorite athlete growing up that you would like to see featured as the Baltimore Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Week, send me a nomination by e-mail.