The Senior Bowl Hall of Fame
The Reese’s Senior Bowl will welcome three new members into its Hall of Fame on the Friday of game week with the addition of Oakland Raiders center Rodney Hudson, former Auburn standout DeMarco McNeil and former Alabama great Billy Neighbors.
"It's always such an honor for the Reese's Senior Bowl to recognize our annual Hall of Fame inductees and this 2019 class is an exceptional group"
The trio makes up the 31st class in the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame, presented by Spire, and pushes the total number of inductees to 120 – an exclusive club when you consider more than 5,000 players have donned a Senior Bowl uniform in its 70-year history.
The three former Senior Bowlers were inducted on Friday, Jan. 25 at the Battle House Hotel in downtown Mobile, Ala., and join a prestigious group that includes Joe Namath, Walter Payton, Dan Marino, Bo Jackson and Brett Favre.
rodney hudson2011 SENIOR BOWL
As a two-way lineman at B.C. Rain High School in Mobile, Ala., Hudson could do it all. His senior season, he had 47 pancake blocks as an offensive lineman and 55 tackles as a nose guard.
Hudson went on to star at Florida State, where he started 48 straight games at guard/center, earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors all four years and became the Seminoles’ first unanimous first-team All-American.
Hudson set the conference career record for being named ACC Player of the Week nine times and was the 11th player in league history to win the Jacobs Blocking Award twice in a career (2009-2010), awarded annually to the player voted the most outstanding blocker in the conference by head coaches and defensive coordinators.
He was drafted in the second round by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011. After four seasons with the Chiefs, he signed with Oakland in 2016, where he has been named a Pro Bowler twice (2017-2018) and is widely considered one of the top centers in the NFL.
“I was with the Kansas City Chiefs when we selected Rodney out of Florida State in the second round and it has been fun watching him become one of the top centers in the NFL,” Nagy said. “Talent aside, Rodney is one of the hardest working offensive linemen that I ever scouted. When his career is over, he will go down as one of the best players ever to come of Mobile.”
Hudson was selected by his teammates as the winner of the Commitment to Excellence Award for the past two years. The award is presented annually to the Raider who best exemplifies hard work, leadership, and excellence on and off the field throughout the season.
demarco mcneil2004 SENIOR BOWL
McNeil played in the 2004 Senior Bowl after a stellar career at Auburn, where he was an All-American and later named to the Tigers’ All-Decade Team.
McNeil played his high school football at Blount, where he helped the Leopards win three straight Class 5A championships in 1996, 1997 and 1998. In 1998, his senior season, McNeil was the first interior lineman and first defensive-only player to be named ‘Mr. Football’ in Alabama.
On the plains, McNeil played defensive tackle from 2000-2003, earning freshman All-American honors in 2000. As a sophomore at Auburn, he was second on the team with 13 quarterback pressures and, as a nose guard, was one of the leading tacklers on the team as a junior and senior, earning All-SEC honors his final season.
He played two seasons in the NFL, but his career was cut short by a knee injury.
“The Senior Bowl wanted to recognize DeMarco as one of the best high school players that the city of Mobile ever produced,” Nagy said. “Earning Mr. Football honors in the state of Alabama as a defensive lineman is an incredible accomplishment, especially considering all the great offensive skill players this state produces. Unfortunately, the violent nature of the sport started taking a toll on DeMarco during his time at Auburn and injuries prevented him from having the NFL career he appeared destined for.”
McNeil is now an analyst with the football program at South Carolina. Prior to his three years in Columbia, S.C., he coached the defensive tackles at Alabama State for three years and also coached at Tennessee and Birmingham-Southern.
billy neighbors1962 SENIOR BOWL
Neighbors, who will be inducted posthumously, played in the 1962 Senior Bowl and was a standout All-American and one of the top players on the 1961 Alabama team that won the first of six titles under legendary coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant.
He was the unequivocal leader of the 1961 undefeated team and a team captain, finishing off his senior season as a unanimous All-American and most outstanding lineman at the Senior Bowl.
His dominance stood the test of time as he was selected as a member of Alabama’s Team of the Century in 1992. One of the Crimson Tide’s spring awards is named in his honor, “The Billy Neighbors Most Improved Defensive Lineman Award.”
Neighbors went on to play four seasons in the American Football League (AFL) with the Boston Patriots – where he was a Pro Bowl selection and first-team All-Pro – and four years with the Miami Dolphins.
In 2004, he was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame.
Billy was the first of three generations of Neighbors to play in the Senior Bowl, joined later by his son Wes (Alabama – 1987) and grandson Connor (LSU – 2015).
“Billy Neighbors is one of the most decorated linemen the University of Alabama has ever produced,” Nagy said. “He was named to the 1960’s All-Decade Team of the New England Patriots. The Reese’s Senior Bowl is proud to have three generations of Neighbors men participate in our game.”
Neighbors died in 2012. His longtime friend and teammate on the 1961 team, Lee Roy Jordan, will accept Neighbor’s award at the ceremony.
hall of fame:
CHARTER CLASS OF 1988
Joe Green, Lee Roy Jordan, Steve Largent, Joe Namath, Walter Payton, Bubba Smith, Pat Sullivan, Jim Taylor, Travis Tidwell
CLASS OF 1989
Ed Jones, Ozzie Newsome, John Stallworth, Gene Upshaw, Jack Youngblood
CLASS OF 1990
Paul Brown, Tucker Frederickson, Jerry Kramer, Neil Lomax, Wellington Mara, Finley McRae, Jack Pardee, Rae Schuessler
CLASS OF 1991
Morten Andersen, James Brooks, Dave Butz, Weeb Ewbank, Doug Williams
CLASS OF 1992
Franco Harris, Mike Holovack , Sam Huff, Dan Marino, Don Shula, Pat Swilling
CLASS OF 1993
Cornelius Bennett, Paul 'Bear' Bryant, Ralph 'Shug" Jordan, Tom Landry, Marty Schottenheimer, Lynn Swann
CLASS OF 1994
Robert Brazile, Rickey Jackson, Mark Rypien, Jim Simpson
CLASS OF 1995
Bob Baumhower, Pat Dye, Bo Jackson, Gene Washington
CLASS OF 1996
James Lofton, Dick Steinberg, Kellen Winslow
CLASS OF 1997
Bob Hayes, Sterling Sharpe, Doak Walker
CLASS OF 1998
Jim McMahon, Ray Nitschke, Thurman Thomas
CLASS OF 1999
Tom Banks, Dale Carter, Paul Krause, Albert Lewis, Randall McDaniel, Ark Monk, E.B. Peebles Jr, Derrick Thomas, Roger Wehrli
CLASS OF 2000
Hanford Dixon, Brett Favre, Chuck Howley
CLASS OF 2001
William Andrews, Ron Jaworski, Eddie Robinson
CLASS OF 2002
Todd Christensen, Bert Jones, Steve McNair
CLASS OF 2003
Terry Beasley, Jeremiah Castille, Ted Hendricks
CLASS OF 2004
Derrick Brooks, Christian Okoye, Richard Todd
CLASS OF 2005
Larry Allen, Al Del Greco, Ray Perkins
CLASS OF 2006
Al Wilson, Phillip Villapiano, Jay Novacek
CLASS OF 2007
E.J. Junior, Jake Plummer, Hines Ward
CLASS OF 2008
Dean Kleinschmidt, Kevin Mawae, Brian Urlacher
CLASS OF 2009
Shaun Alexander, Jason Taylor
CLASS OF 2010
Larry Johnson, Terrell Owens
CLASS OF 2012
Keith Brooking, Donovan McNabb, Dan Reeves
CLASS OF 2013
John Abraham, Sylvester Croom, Aeneas Williams
CLASS OF 2014
Torry Holt, Bill Kollar, DeMarcus Ware
CLASS OF 2015
Woodrow Lowe, Tony Richardson, Kyle Williams
CLASS OF 2016
Steve Hutchinson, Tamba Hali, Bill Curry
CLASS OF 2017
Blaine Bishop, Jim Harbaugh, Lance Briggs
CLASS OF 2018
Al Wilson, Phil Villapiano, Jay Novacek
CLASS OF 2019
Rodney Hudson, Demarco McNeil, Billy Neighbors
*No class in 2011 due to NFL Lockout