The only primarily defensive player to ever win the Heisman Trophy, Charles Woodson guided Michigan to a national championship during one of the best careers in college football history. He becomes the 31st Wolverine player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A two-time First Team All-American, Woodson earned unanimous honors after his remarkable 1997 season – the same year he claimed the Heisman, Walter Camp Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award and Jim Thorpe Award. His versatility was on full display that season as he finished second nationally with eight interceptions while also scoring as a rusher, receiver and punt returner. The two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year led the Wolverines to the 1997 conference title after a win against archrival Ohio State in which he scored on a 78-yard punt return, intercepted a pass in the end zone and caught a 37-yard pass for Michigan’s only offensive touchdown. Woodson and the Wolverines would wrap up their perfect 12-0 national championship season with a win over Washington State in the Rose Bowl, in which he recorded an interception and tied for a then-Rose Bowl record with four passes broken up.
The three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection led the team in interceptions all three seasons. Named the 1997 team MVP while playing for College Football Hall of Fame coach Lloyd Carr, Woodson set the Michigan record with 30 career pass break-ups, which now ranks fifth all-time. The 1995 Big Ten Freshman of the Year also ranks second all-time in school history in career interceptions (18), third in single-season interceptions (8 in 1997) and still sits in the top 10 in multiple punt return categories. A native of Fremont, Ohio, Woodson was named to both the University of Michigan Hall of Honor and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 2017.
Taken fourth overall in the 1998 NFL Draft, Woodson played professionally 18 years for the Oakland Raiders (1998-2005, 2013-15) and the Green Bay Packers (2006-12). The nine-time Pro Bowler helped the Packers win Super Bowl XLV following the 2010 season, and he guided the Raiders to an AFC championship in 2002. Woodson twice led the NFL in interceptions, and his multiple honors include the 1998 Defensive Rookie of the Year and 2009 Defensive Player of the Year.
Active in the community, he established the Charles Woodson Foundation, which offers scholarships to students raised in single-parent homes, and he has contributed millions of dollars to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital for pediatric research. A member of the Walter Camp All-Century Team, the Big Ten renamed its defensive player of the year award as the Nagurski-Woodson Award in his honor in 2011. He has served as a broadcaster for ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown since 2016.