Two former Iowa football standouts are being inducted into the Hall of Fame -- although probably not the Hall of Fame you're thinking about. Andre Tippett and Marshal Yanda are two of the newest additions to the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) Football Hall of Fame.
Congratulations to the three newest inductees into the @NJCAA Football Hall of Fame!
— NJCAA (@NJCAA) January 16, 2018
Tippett and Yanda are two of Iowa's greatest JUCO success stories, especially given their prodigious NFL careers. Tippett arrived at Iowa early in Hayden Fry's tenure and played a key part in Fry's rebuild of the Iowa program. Tippett was a two-time All-Big Ten honoree (1980 and 1981), as well as a consensus All-American in 1981. That season he led an Iowa defense that allowed just 10.8 points per game and 253 yards per game, both among the best totals in school history. He was a key part of why Iowa was able to win the Big Ten and make the Rose Bowl for the first time in over 20 years.
Tippett was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 1982 NFL draft and went on to have an exceptional 11-year career. He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and earned All-Pro honors four times (first team in 1985 and 1987, second team in 1986 and 1988), as well as NFL Defensive Player of the Year and AFC Player of the Year in 1985. He was also voted a member of the NFL's All-Decade team in the 1980s team; it's fair to say he had a pretty good playing career, I think. This is only the latest Hall of Fame that Tippett has found himself in; he's also a member of the University of Iowa Hall of Fame, the New England Patriots Hall of Fame, and (most significantly) the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2008). That stellar career began all the way back at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls; his success there was the springboard to all his future glory.
Yanda is a more recent JUCO success story; he garnered little recruiting attention out of high school (in part due to poor grades) and landed at North Iowa Area Community College. He earned All-Regional honors there in 2003 and 2004 and eventually impressed Iowa enough to earn an offer; at Iowa Yanda earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors in 2006 and was a third-round draft pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Like Tippett, Yanda has enjoyed even more success at the NFL level than he did collegiately. He made six straight Pro Bowls from 2011-2016 and that streak only ended this year because he suffered a season-ending injury before the season began; he's also earned All-Pro honors five times (first team in 2014 and 2015, second team in 2011, 2012, and 2016) and regularly grades out as one of the top offensive linemen in the sport. He's many years away from making the Pro Football Hall of Fame (and his pro career isn't over yet), but he's amassed the kind of resume so far that should give him the best chance of any Ferentz Era Iowa player to eventually get enshrined in Canton. From humble beginnings at NIACC in Mason City to one of the NFL's best linemen of the 2010s -- what an incredible career Yanda has had so far.
Congratulations to both Tippett and Yanda, two great former Hawkeyes whose latest honors are much-deserved and serve as a reminder that sometimes greatness can be found in the least expected places.