Former HBCU football standouts Harold Carmichael (Southern) and Donnie Shell (South Carolina State) were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame over the weekend in Canton, Ohio.
Carmichael was an All-SWAC selection and was drafted the 161st pick overall in the seventh round of the 1971 NFL draft to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Carmichael played both tight-end and receiver positions in the NFL. As a rookie, he was converted into a tight end, starting in 6 out of the 9 games and leading the team’s tight ends with 20 receptions (fourth on the team). Then the next season he was moved back to receiver with his 6-foot-8 frame terrorized the opposing teams’ defensive backs during his stellar NFL career.
He ended his professional career with 590 receptions for 8,985 yards with 79 career touchdown catches, along with 64 rushing yards on nine carries. He currently ranks 25th all-time in career touchdown receptions and he was 7th all-time at the time of his retirement. His career catches ranked fifth all-time when he retired. Carmichael retired as the Eagles’ all-time leader in pass receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
After going undrafted in 1974 after a stellar South Carolina State career, Shell received free agent offers from several NFL teams, among them the Houston Oilers, Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Shell’s 14-year (1974-1987) NFL career, all with the Steelers, was remarkable. He played on four Super Bowl winning teams, was elected to five Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro first team three times. He was Steeler MVP in 1980 and went on to snare 51 interceptions, setting a record for the most picks by a safety.
His career at SC State was also an enviable one. He was team MVP twice and also earned All-MEAC and All-America accolades. He is a member of the SCSU Athletic Hall of Fame.