If you poll Virginia football fans on the best offensive and defensive players in program history, you may get varied answers. No list will exclude Shawn Moore and Anthony Poindexter, though. They remain two of the greatest players to ever wear orange and blue.
Moore and Poindexter added another line to impressive resumes Thursday: College Football Hall of Fame nominees. They were among 75 former players and six coaches named to the ballot by the National Football Foundation. Players must be a first-team All-American to even be eligible for the Hall.
“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 5.19 million people have played college football and only 987 players have been inducted,” NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell said in a news release. “The Hall’s requirement of being a First-Team All-American creates a much smaller pool of only 1,500 individuals who are even eligible. So being in today’s elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to ever have played the game, and we are extremely proud to announce their names. We look forward to revealing the 2018 Class prior to the CFP National Championship in Atlanta, the esteemed home of the College Football Hall of Fame.”
Moore engineered one of the most explosive offenses in the nation during his career. When he completed his final season in 1990, he held 41 school, ACC, or NCAA individual records. He still holds many UVA records, including most total offense in a career with 7,897 yards and career touchdowns responsible for with 83.
Moore finished his career throwing for 6,629 yards with 55 touchdowns and 32 interceptions. He completed 421 of 762 passes. He also rushed for 1,268 yards with 28 touchdowns. He was the only Division I-A quarterback to pass for more than 2,000 yards and rush for more than 500 yards in 1989.
Moore appeared in three bowl games for the Cavaliers and helped UVa to the 1989 co-ACC Championship and an appearance in the 1990 Florida Citrus Bowl, the program’s first-ever New Year’s Day bowl game. As a senior, Moore guided the Cavaliers to the program’s first No. 1 national ranking and a second straight New Year’s Day bowl game, the 1991 Sugar Bowl.
After his senior season, Moore finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting and was the runner-up for the Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year Award. Street & Smith Magazine named him the 1990 Exemplar Player of the Year. Moore was named the ACC Player of the Year. He received first-team all-American honors from the Football Writers’ Association of America and the American Football Coaches’ Association, becoming the first ACC quarterback to receive first-team All-America honors since 1961 with NC State’s Roman Gabriel, who is in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Poindexter, meanwhile, piled up similarly impressive numbers on the defensive side of the ball. He finished his career with 342 tackles, the ninth-most in program history and No. 1 among defensive backs at the time. He tied for fifth in school history with 12 interceptions.
Poindexter was named the 1998 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and is one of only three Hoos in school history to earn first-team All-ACC recognition three times. He received first-team All-America honors as a junior and senior. Dex, of course, also teamed up with Adrian Burnim to stop Florida State tailback Warrick Dunn short of the goal line on the final play of the game as a freshman in 1995 to help UVA upset FSU 33-28 and end the Seminoles’ four-year, 29-game ACC winning streak.
If inducted, Moore and Poindexter would join a small group of Wahoos already in the College Football Hall of Fame. Bill Dudley, Tom Scott, Joe Palumbo, and Jim Dombrowski have been enshrined as players, while Earle Neale and George Welsh are in the Hall as coaches.
The 2018 class officially will be inducted Dec. 4, 2018, at the New York Hilton Midtown. The inductees will be permanently enshrined at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta later that December.