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Mon, 06.25.1928

Paul ‘Tank’ Younger, Football Player born

Paul Younger

Paul "Tank" Younger was born on this date in 1928. He was a Black football player and sports administrator.

He graduated from Grambling State University playing running back/linebacker from 1945-48. Paul Younger started at tackle, but it didn't take then-young coach Eddie Robinson long to see that Younger's size and quickness were better suited in the backfield.  There he earned the nickname "Tank" by running over everything that got in front of him.  A record-setting career in the backfield and at linebacker earned him a spot on the 1948 Pittsburgh Courier All-America team. "Tank" was the Tigers' leader on offense and defense.

As a freshman, he led the nation in scoring with 25 touchdowns, scoring many times on an end-around play.  He rushed for 1,207 yards in his junior year and scored 18 touchdowns. Younger also completed 43 of 73 pass attempts, 11 for touchdowns. His career totals show 60 touchdowns, which, at the time, was a collegiate record. After his senior season, he was named Black College Football's Player of the Year.  After college, he wasn't drafted to play professionally and was labeled a 500:1 shot to make it in the pros. He became a free agent, signed with the Rams, and opened the door to a new talent source, becoming the first player in the NFL from an HBCU.

He had a very successful NFL career with the Los Angeles Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers, earning Pro Bowl status five times. He became the first Black player to play in an NFL All-Star Game, and after his playing days, he became the league's first black assistant general manager in 1975.  He lived in Los Angeles, California, until his death on September 15, 2001, at 73.

To become a Coach

To become a Professional Athlete



Black College Football

College Football Hall of Fame
111 South St. Joseph Street
South Bend, IN 46601
1-800-440 FAME (3263)
(574) 235-9999

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