HBCU Athlete Profile: Shannon Sharpe, Savannah State University

On this edition of the HBCU Athlete Profile, we highlight former NFL tight end and Super Bowl champion Shannon Sharpe who played his college ball for the Tigers of Savannah State University.

Shannon Sharpe attended Savannah State University from 1986-1989 where he was a multi-sport athlete playing not only football but also basketball and ran track. In track, he participated in field events including long jump, triple jump and discus throw. His personal bests include 6.73 meters in the long jump, 14.73 in the triple jump, and 42.06 in the discus throw.

In football, Shannon was named the SIAC Offensive Player of the Year and was named to the All-SIAC First Team three years straight from 1987-1989. He holds Savannah State single-season records for yardage, touchdowns and yards per catch.

In 1989, Shannon led the Tigers to their best single-season record of 8-1 after setting the previous record of 7-3 the season before. In that season, Sharpe compiled 61 receptions for 1,312 yards and 18 touchdowns.

At the end of his college career, Shannon Sharpe finished with 192 receptions for 3,744 receiving yards and 40 touchdowns. In 2013, Sharpe was inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame and was inducted into the SIAC Hall of Fame the following year. Savannah State retired his jersey in 2009 in celebration of Shannon Sharpe Day.

Shannon Sharpe then moved on to the NFL where he was drafted in the seventh round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos in a draft class that also included Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Junior Seau.

Shannon spent his first 10 seasons in the NFL with the Denver Broncos appearing in seven straight Pro Bowls between 1992-1998 and was selected to four All-Pro First Teams.

It was in 1997 and 1998 when Shannon Sharpe and the Denver Broncos went on to win back to back Super Bowl championships led by an offense featuring former MVP quarterback John Elway, MVP running back Terrell Davis, and future Pro Bowl wide receiver Rod Smith.

In 2000, Shannon Sharpe moved on to the Baltimore Ravens where he would win another Super Bowl on a team heralded for their all-time great defense led by All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis and Pro Bowl free safety Rod Woodson. He would spend one more year with the Ravens in a season he would appear in his final Pro Bowl before ending his career playing two more seasons with the team he started with the Denver Broncos.

At the end of his NFL career, Sharpe recorded 815 receptions for 10,060 receiving yards and 62 receiving touchdowns. He is one of only four tight ends in NFL history to record at least 800 receptions and 10,000 receiving yards for their career (Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, Antonio Gates).

In 2011, Shannon Sharpe was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his third year of eligibility. He was inducted in a star-studded class featuring head coach for the Jackson State Tigers football team and former All-Pro cornerback “Prime Time” Deion Sanders, Tennessee State alum, and former Super Bowl MVP Richard Dent and former NFL MVP Marshall Faulk.

Since retiring from the NFL, Shannon Sharpe has been a fixture in NFL media working as an analyst for CBS, NFL Network and FS1. Alongside controversial sports journalist Skip Bayless, Shannon Sharpe co-hosts Undisputed on FS1 a morning sports debate show that has played hosts to a number of entertaining moments including spirited debates with Skip about LeBron James or as he calls him “GOAT James” and the Dallas Cowboys.


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