UNLV star Randall Cunningham named to College Football Hall of Fame as a punter

You may remember Randall Cunningham as the quarterback throwing deep bombs to a rookie Randy Moss during the Vikings' epic 1998 campaign.

Or maybe you remember him as the acrobatic Eagles signal caller ducking away from Bruce Smith in the end zone only to heave a 60-yard pass that was caught and run in for a 95-yard touchdown?

But even before that, Cunningham was the greatest football player in the history of UNLV, where he excelled not only as a quarterback but as a punter. Because of his dynamic abilities at both positions, Cunningham was named to the College Football Hall of Fame by the National Football Foundation on Friday.

Cunningham is one of 14 players, including linebacker Derrick Brooks and defensive back Rod Woodson, and two coaches selected for the Hall of Fame. He is the only special teams player picked this year and only the second punter to ever be named, joining Southern Mississippi's Ray Guy.

Cunningham broke 18 UNLV records, several of which he still holds, including throwing for 8,020 yards and 59 touchdowns while playing for the Rebels from 1982 through 1984. He may now be better known for his passing and scrambling abilities, but he only garnered honorable-mention All-America honors as a quarterback. As a punter, he was first team All-America in 1983 and second team as a senior.

Another school record held by Cunningham is punting average, at 45.6 yards. He was first team all-conference as a punter in all three of his seasons and twice as a quarterback. Both times he was named the Offensive Player of the Year.

Following his successful career at UNLV, Cunningham was drafted in the second round by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played for 11 years with the Eagles before a brief retirement that was followed by his time with the Vikings and stints with the Cowboys and Ravens.

He finished his NFL career with 29,979 yards passing and 207 touchdowns. He also ushered in a new era of more athletic, mobile quarterbacks, rushing for a then-NFL quarterback record of 4,928 yards and 35 touchdowns.

Cunningham also punted 20 times during his NFL career, for 894 yards (44.7 average), including a booming 91-yarder in 1989.

He currently serves as a pastor in Las Vegas, where he also coaches high school football at Silverado High School. His son, Randall Cunningham II, attends USC, where he is an All-American high jumper. Daughter Vashti is also a high jumper. She broke the national high school record in the girls high jump last spring.

2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS

Players

Marlin Briscoe – QB, Nebraska Omaha (1964-67)

Derrick Brooks – LB, Florida State (1991-94)

Tom Cousineau – LB, Ohio State (1975-78)

Randall Cunningham – P/QB, UNLV (1982-84)

TroyY Davis – TB, Iowa State (1994-96)

William Fuller – DT, North Carolina (1981-83)

Bert Jones – QB, LSU (1970-72)

Tim Krumrie – DL, Wisconsin (1979-82)

Pat McInally – TE, Harvard (1972-74)

Herb Orvis – DE, Colorado (1969-71)

Bill Royce – LB, Ashland (Ohio) (1990-93)

Mike Utley – OG, Washington State (1985-88)

Scott Woerner – DB, Georgia (1977-80)

Rod Woodson – DB, Purdue (1983-86)

Coaches

Bill Bowes – New Hampshire (1972-98)

Frank Girardi – Lycoming (Pa.) (1972-2007)

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