Cris Carter will be the ninth Ohio State player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. Warren Sapp will be the sixth from the University of Miami. Jonathan Ogden the fifth from UCLA.
And then there is Larry Allen, the first -- and likely last -- player from Sonoma State to join football's most exclusive club.
"Aug 3 is a great day to be a Cossack," Daryl Fortenberry wrote on his Facebook page last week. "One of ours made it."
Fortenberry was the quarterback when Sonoma State still had a football team, when the team nickname was Cossacks, when Allen, all 315 pounds of blue-chip talent, landed on this campus of 8,500 in Rohnert Park.
When he delivers his acceptance speech Saturday in Canton, Ohio, Allen promises to spend a moment expressing his gratitude to his alma mater, which he still visits on occasion from his home in Blackhawk.
"I loved it. It was a great environment for me to thrive, a great experience," said Allen, who played in the NFL for 14 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and 49ers, 11 as a Pro Bowl offensive lineman. "It was one of the best group of guys I've played with."
Frank Scalercio, his coach at Sonoma State, plans to be in attendance Saturday. So does Dave Hanson, the Cossacks' running back for whom Allen cleared the way. Others will be there in spirit.
"Coming from a Division II school, making a name for himself, knowing I was able to (practice) against him ... I'm so proud of that guy," said Junior Lualemaga, a defensive end who roomed with Allen at Sonoma State.
"It's unbelievable to think back to where we started and where he went to," said another former teammate, Ken Hawkins.
Allen is one of just two players from Sonoma State to have reached the NFL. Only one other player from a California state school, Marshall Faulk of San Diego State, is in the Hall of Fame. Bill Walsh (San Jose State) and Joe Gibbs (San Diego State) made it as coaches.
In Allen's honor, Sonoma State will hang a large, permanent banner in the gym when classes resume this fall, and Scalercio said there is talk of commissioning a bronze sculpture on campus.
"It's crazy," Allen, 41, said. "They give me a lot of love when I go up there."
It was Allen's late mother, Vera, who started him on the path to Canton via Sonoma State. Concerned for his safety in Compton, she moved him from high school to high school in Lodi, Stockton and Napa.
From there Allen went to Butte College in Oroville, because he lacked the grades to attend an NCAA Division I college. Butte is where Scalercio first saw Allen play. He had come there to watch two other players.
"I walk into the stadium and I see Larry pick up this defensive end and just body slam him to the ground," Scalercio recalled. "I'd never seen anything like it."
Allen played two years at Butte, earning All-America honors his sophomore season. But having failed to earn the degree required to play Division I football, he went home to Compton. And that's where Scalercio, acting on a tip from Butte coach Craig Rigsbee, found him.
His new teammates realized right away that Allen was special. They'd never seen a blocker like this.
"You'd just see bodies flying," said Hanson, the running back.
Fortenberry recalls Allen apologizing to him after a sack left the quarterback in need of stitches.
"After that, nobody ever touched me again," Fortenberry said.
Allen was named Northern California Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a senior -- an honor unheard of for a lineman -- and became a humble celebrity on campus.
Chosen by the Cowboys in the second round of the 1994 draft -- 45 players including nine offensive linemen went ahead of him -- Allen was razzed by teammates about coming from such a small college.
"They said I played against Pop Warner kids," he recalled.
The razzing stopped as soon as Allen strapped on his Cowboys shoulder pads. Blocking for the likes of Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith, he helped lead Dallas to a Super Bowl title, was named to the NFL's All-Decade teams for the 1990s and 2000s, and made more Pro Bowls than any offensive player in Cowboys history.
Fittingly, it will be Cowboys owner Jerry Jones who presents Allen at Canton. And there will be Cowboys fans and former Dallas teammates in attendance, as well.
But aside from Allen and his family, no one will be more proud than the men he played with at Sonoma State.
Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at twitter.com/CalBearsBANG.