Claude Humphrey

1980 - 1989 Inductees
Year Honored:
Tennessee State University
Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles


Claude Humphrey had one of the greatest football careers in the history of Tennessee. Born in 1944, Humphrey attended Lester High School before becoming an All-American lineman at Tennessee State University under Coach John Merritt. Along with quarterback Eldridge Dickey, Humphrey led the Big Blue Tigers to a 35-3-1 record from 1965 to 1967. The 1967 team won the national championship for predominately black schools. As a first-round draft choice of the NFL Atlanta Falcons in 1968, Humphrey showed from the start that he was made for the pro game. His first year, he was selected NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. In the eleven seasons spent with the Falcons, he played in the Pro Bowl six times. Throughout his years in the NFL, Humphrey always found time to work with kids and always contributed to his community. Big Claude finished off his NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles for three seasons. The 1980 Eagles squad, under Coach Dick Vermeil, went 12-4 in the regular season to capture the NFC East title. Humphrey had an awesome 14-1/2 quarterback sacks that year. He retired at age thirty-eight to his farm in Oakland, Tennessee. But football was in his blood, and Humphrey was lured away from the farm to work with the Falcons on pass rush training. Once a football player, always a football player! Claude Humphrey’s legacy, however, is not only his excellent football play, it is his devotion to his community and family as well.

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