January 9: Three college football legends born

This Day in College Football History: January 9

Oklahoma State - Justin Blackmon
Oklahoma State’s Blackmon

Two College Football Hall of Fame inductees were born on this date along with a recent major award winner who will likely someday join them.

Ben Ticknor and Jerome “Brud” Holland both enjoyed Hall of Fame careers in the first half of the last century while Justin Blackmon was a two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award in 2010 and 2011.

Ticknor was born January 9, 1909, and went on to play for the Harvard Crimson from 1928-1930. He was known as a stalwart defender in the middle of the defensive line, and he was named an All-American in his final two years. While Harvard was fairly average during his time on campus, he did help lead the Crimson to three straight wins over rival Yale. He was inducted in the Hall of Fame’s second class in 1954.

Holland was born seven years later in 1916, and he, too, would go on to a standout career for an Ivy League school. One of Cornell’s early African-American players, he starred for the Big Red from 1936 to 1938 eventually graduating with highest honors in 1939 before completing a Master’s Degree at Cornell in 1941. He would later add a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1950 before embarking on a career of service that included president of the Hampton Institute, president of Delaware State University, U.S. Ambassador to Sweden (1970-1972), chairman of the American Red Cross, chairman of the Salvation Army, chairman of Planned Parenthood and director of the New York Stock Exchange – the NYSE’s first African-American director. He was eventually awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1969.

Oklahoma State’s Blackmon is one of only two players to date that has won multiple Biletnikoff Awards taking home the top prize for college football’s outstanding receiver in both 2010 and 2011. The Cowboy legend was drafted with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but substance abuse issues have mostly kept him sidelined since the end of his rookie season. He was suspended for several games in 2013, and hasn’t played in the NFL since the end of that season.

It was reported that he had entered a treatment program during the 2014 season, but was denied reinstatement by the league in May of 2015. Then on December 21, 2015, reports surfaced that Blackmon had again been arrested in Oklahoma on a DUI charge – his fourth arrest for substance abuse. It seems unlikely at this point that Blackmon will ever play in the NFL again.


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