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Mon, 06.25.1928

The Big Tiger, Paul “Tank” Younger

Paul Younger

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

He was a graduate of Grambling State University playing running back/linebacker 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 was 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.  In his junior year, he rushed for 1,207 yards 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 a "Black College."

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, went on to become the league's first Black assistant general manager in 1975.  He lived in Los Angeles, California until his death on September 15, 2001 at the age of 73.

Reference:
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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