College Football has a big honor for NC State’s ‘Big Game’ Torry Holt

NC State’s Torry Holt named to College Football Hall of Fame

N.C. State receiver Torry Holt, who played with the Wolfpack from 1995-98, talks about being named to the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class during a media availability at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh Monday, Jan 7, 2019.
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N.C. State receiver Torry Holt, who played with the Wolfpack from 1995-98, talks about being named to the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class during a media availability at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh Monday, Jan 7, 2019.

One down, one to go for Torry Holt.

The N.C. State legend was named to the College Football Hall of Fame on Monday. Now he waits for the call from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Holt, one of the best receivers in ACC history, left N.C. State in 1998 as the conference’s career leader in receiving yards (3,379). He went on to post even bigger numbers in his 11-year NFL career, mostly with the St. Louis Rams.

“The College Football Hall of Fame is tremendous honor,” Holt, 42, said on Monday. “I’m so thankful but it’s part of the process and part of the next step for me and hopefully that’s to be in the (Pro Football) Hall of Fame.”

Holt, who earned the nickname “Big Game,” is the sixth N.C. State player to be voted into the college shrine, which has a new home in Atlanta, and first since running back Ted Brown was inducted in 2013.

The Gibsonville native was the ACC player of the year in 1998 and a consensus All-American with 88 catches for 1,604 yards and 11 touchdowns. He led the Wolfpack to a 24-7 win over second-ranked Florida State that season, which is still one of the most memorable in school history.

“It was amazing, a sea of red,” Holt said. “It was a great game. “How we collectively won that game and to see people leaving from their homes to come to ‘The Carter’ to be a part of the celebration and on Hillsborough Street.”

Holt had nine catches for 135 yards with two touchdowns, including a 68-yard punt return in that milestone win. Slightly undersized at 6-foot and 190 pounds, Holt made his name the year before in a loss at Florida State.

Holt had 12 catches for 168 yards with an ACC-record five touchdown catches in the 48-35 loss to the third-ranked Seminoles, who were in the midst of a decade-long run of dominance in the ACC at the time.

Wolfpack teammates

Holt, who runs a construction company in Raleigh with his brother, Terrence, was emotional on Monday when he talked about his time at N.C. State.

He praised his Wolfpack teammates, notably quarterback Jamie Barnette, and his former coach, Mike O’Cain.

“It was so good to hear his voice,” Holt said of O’Cain, whom he talked to on the phone on Sunday. “I thanked him for the opportunity he gave me. He believed in me and he believed in my brother and I thanked him for that.”

Holt finished his career at N.C. State with 191 catches for 3,379 yards and 31 touchdowns. Jerricho Cotchery (200) and Jaylen Samuels (202) have since broken the career receptions mark but Holt still holds the other two career records.

Holt’s single-season record for catches (88 in ‘98) was broken this season by Jakobi Meyers.

The way the game keeps changing, in favor of the offense, Holt’s numbers will be surpassed. He understands that and actually welcomes it.

“I think it’s cool,” Holt said. “Records are meant to be broken.”

Pro Football Hall

Holt has been a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the past five years. He retired before the 2010 season with 920 catches for 13,382 yards and 74 touchdowns. Seven times he made the Pro Bowl, twice his team made the Super Bowl, winning after his rookie season in 1999. Holt caught seven passes for 109 yards and a touchdown in the Rams’ 23-16 win against the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV.

Nobody had more catches (868) or yards (12,594) than Holt in the first decade of the century. He is one of three receivers in NFL history with six 1,300-yard seasons: Jerry Rice and Randy Moss, already in the Hall of Fame, are the other two.

Being mentioned among the best receivers ever to play the game was always Holt’s goal.

“For me, I wanted to be in that class,” Holt said. “I knew it was going to take a lot of work and I committed to that.”

Holt said he has tried to be more active in promoting his case for the pro shrine in Canton, Ohio.

“I think I’m scratching the door of being a finalist,” Holt said. “I’m going to continue to argue my case. I’m not a big bragger, I never have been, but I think for my case for the hall, I’ll have to do some more of that.”

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Joe Giglio covers N.C. State and has worked at The N&O since 1995. He has regularly reported on the ACC since 2005.