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Robert Sam Huff


Robert “Sam” Huff (‘56 BS)

One of the NFL’s fiercest hitters, Sam Huff is one of the most well-known athletes to ever play at WVU.

A four-year letterman for the legendary Art “Pappy” Lewis, Huff started at guard as a sophomore and tackle the next two years, after winning a letter as a backup guard during his freshman season.

Like All-American teammate Bruce Bosley, Huff was a two-way starter during his varsity career, before the rule change that allowed the use of separate offensive and defensive lineups. Known as a reckless and intimidating player on defense, he was also agile enough as a blocker to pave the way for backs Joe Marconi, Tommy Allman, Bobby Moss and Fred Wyant.

He helped lead WVU to a combined four-year mark of 31-7 and a berth in the 1954 Sugar Bowl. The Mountaineers were also able to defeat Penn State three years in a row while Huff wore the Gold and Blue.

For his accomplishments, the 1955 co-captain was named first team All-America by the NEA Service, Look Magazine, Jet Magazine and NBC-TV. Huff earned third-team All-America honors from UPI, and earned first team Academic All-America honors for his work in the classroom.

After being selected to play in the North-South Game, the Senior Bowl and the College Football All-Star Game played in Chicago, Huff was drafted in the third round by the New York Giants.

Playing eight years with the Giants, Huff became an instant star in the Big Apple for his physical style of play. He earned five all-pro berths and developed a great personal rivalry with Ray Nitschke of the Green Bay Packers and Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns.

It was Huff who was one of the very few NFL linebackers who could tackle the all-pro Brown in the open field. He was the first NFL player to be featured on the cover of Time magazine, and was also the subject of a CBS network television show titled “The Violent World of Sam Huff.”

Playing his last four seasons with the Washington Redskins, Huff culminated his 12-year NFL career with one NFL championship ring and five division titles.

After retiring, Huff began his career as a broadcaster for the Washington Redskins radio network. He later was a broadcaster for a regionally syndicated TV package of Mountaineer football games in the mid-1980s.

In 1982, Huff became just the second WVU player to be inducted into both the college and pro football Halls of Fame. In 1988, he was inducted into the WVU School of Physical Education Hall of Fame and, in 1991 he was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame.