CANTON, Ohio — The only two members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame from Southern University, Mel Blount and Aeneas Williams, have more in common than the college they attended.
In addition to making their mark at cornerback and playing at an extremely high level for a long time, the numbers from their NFL careers were strikingly similar.
Both were third-round picks, and both played 14 seasons in the NFL. Both were shutdown corners who rank in the top 20 on the league’s career interceptions list: Blount with 57 and Williams with 55.
As their induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame would suggest, both made a lasting mark on the game in different eras.
Like current Seattle Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, Blount had exceptional size at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds and speed to manhandle smaller wide receivers in man-to-man as well as zone coverage.
Because he overpowered receivers, it brought about a rule change that became known as the Mel Blount Rule. The restrictions put on defensive backs didn’t help; Blount continued to strike fear in receivers and finished his career with 57 interceptions.
Williams came along eight years after Blount retired, but he, too, played a physical style at cornerback for 12 seasons and free safety in his final two years.
Even though he wasn’t as big as Blount, Williams, who wasn’t afraid to improve his technique at one of the game’s most demanding positions, was still a striking presence on the field — especially in man coverage.
In addition to being a ball-hawk who had 78 career takeaways — 55 interceptions and 23 fumble recoveries — Williams knew what to do with the ball when he got his hands on it. When he retired, he was tied for second with nine touchdowns off interceptions.
Mel Blount -- Stat -- Aeneas Williams
6-3/205 -- Height/Weight -- 5-11/200
Cornerback -- Position -- Cornerback
1970 -- Draft year -- 1991
3rd/53rd -- Round/pick -- 3rd/59th
14 -- NFL seasons -- 14
200/189 -- Games/starts -- 211/207
19/19 -- Playoffs/starts -- 6/6
57 -- Interceptions -- 55
736 -- Return yards -- 807
2 -- AP All-Pro -- 3
5 -- Pro Bowls -- 8
1989 -- Hall of Fame -- 2014