Former University of Miami All-American Cortez Kennedy will officially be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame tonight. The induction ceremony will be broadcast on both ESPN and the NFL Network at 7 p.m. ET.
The defensive tackle is the fifth Hurricane to earn the honor, joining Jim Otto (1980), Ted Hendricks (1990), Jim Kelly (2002) and Michael Irvin (2007) in Canton.
Kennedy registered 58 sacks and scored one touchdown on a fumble recovery in his 11-season career with the Seattle Seahawks. The No. 3 overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft, Kennedy had a streak of 116 games played, earned selection to eight Pro Bowls (1992-97, 1999, 2000) and missed just nine games out of a possible 176 in his career.
As a senior defensive tackle in 1989, he emerged as a dominant force on what many considered to be the nation's top defensive line unit. Kennedy started all 12 games and his tenacious defense helped lead UM to a 11-1 season, a victory in the Sugar Bowl over Alabama and the 1989 National Championship. He earned second team AP All-American honors.
Here is a brief summary of the Hurricanes' 1989 Championship season:
By the time head coach Dennis Erickson arrived in Coral Gables to take over the UM football program prior to the 1989 season, Miami football had established itself as the “Team of the ‘80s”. With a new coaching staff in place, Miami switched to a one-back offense, but the Hurricanes remained in their trademark 4-3 defense and had the talent on both sides of the ball to maintain their level of excellence. Twelve starters returned, but the loss of quarterback Steve Walsh, running back Cleveland Gary, linebacker Randy Shannon and cornerback Bubba McDowell would be felt. Nonetheless, the Hurricanes reloaded and ran off six victories to start the season.
Quarterback Craig Erickson was lost for three games in the middle of the season — including a 24-10 loss at Florida State — before returning and leading the Hurricanes on an impressive stretch run.
Miami’s defense didn’t allow a touchdown for one 10-quarter stretch during the regular season, held six opponents without a touchdown and allowed just 9.3 points per game. Miami rebounded from the FSU loss to whip their remaining opponents by an average margin of 18 points, including a 27-10 trouncing of defending national champion and top-ranked Notre Dame (27-10), ending the Irish’s 23-game win streak (the seventh season in a row in which UM had defeated a No. 1-ranked team).
That victory clinched a Sugar Bowl berth against seventh-ranked Alabama. Miami dispatched Alabama by a deceptively close 33-25 score in New Orleans and moved into the top spot of the rankings when Notre Dame knocked off top-ranked Colorado in the Orange Bowl, giving the Hurricanes their third national title in seven seasons.
Below is a full bio from the Pro Football Hall of Fame:
CORTEZ KENNEDY BIO
Defensive Tackle ... 6-3, 298 ... Northwest Mississippi Community College; Miami (FL) ... 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks ... 11 playing seasons, 167 games ... Seahawks 1st round draft pick (3rd player overall), 1990 NFL Draft ... First Team All-America choice at Miami in 1989 ... Extremely durable, played in 167 of possible 176 games ... Injury ended streak of 116 straight games played and club record 100 consecutive games started ... Named first-team All-Rookie by PFWA ... Voted to a team-record eight Pro Bowls (1992-97, 1999, 2000) ... Named first-team (1992, 1993, 1994) or second-team (1991, 1996) All-Pro five times ... Named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 while playing for a 2-14 team ... That season led all interior linemen with 14 sacks and career best 92 tackles; had four forced fumbles; recovered fumble and batted down two passes ... Recorded one of finest seasons in 1999 recording 73 tackles, 6.5 sacks, intercepting two passes, helping Seahawks reach playoffs for first time since 1988 ... In all, registered 58 sacks, intercepted three passes and scored one touchdown on fumble recovery during career ... He twice led the team in sacks (1992 and 1995) ... Born August 23, 1968 in Osceola, Arkansas.
For all the latest information on the Miami Hurricanes, follow the official Twitter feed, @HurricaneSports, or “Like Us” on Facebook at facebook.com/MiamiHurricanes.
Chris Yandle Director of Communications | University of Miami Athletics