In an era highlighted by a lone trip to the postseason followed by seven seasons of mediocrity in Carolina, the Panthers lone bright spot in their offense were the steady hands of tight end Wesley Walls in the late 1990s.
Joining the franchise in the second year of it’s existence, Walls was a key contributor to a team in their second full season that surprised many by making a deep playoff run. The Panthers that season would fall to the Green Bay Packers in the 1996 NFC Championship. Winning a Super Bowl in San Francisco in his rookie year of 1989, Walls never had the chance to compete for a deep playoff run in Carolina following the 1996 year as the next six seasons of Wall’s career in Carolina saw the Panthers go an abysmal 34-62.
Hauling in 44 touchdowns, with over 300 receptions and nearly 4000 yards receiving with the Panthers, Walls’ five Pro Bowl trips were all in Carolina as well as his four All Pro selections, though he never had the chance to get back to the playoffs as a Panther.
Elected to the College Football Hall of Fame Thursday afternoon, prior to a successful career in the NFL, Walls shined on Billy Brewer’s Ole Miss Rebel teams in the late 1980s . Blocking for backs as well as catching key passes, Walls was notable for being one of the last regular starters in college football to start on both sides of the football where he showed he could handle himself on both sides of the ball, piling up 140 career tackles and 5.5 sacks for the Rebels.
A first team All-American and All SEC member in 1988, Walls will become the eighth Old Miss player of coach to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame at the National Football Foundation awards dinner in New York on December 9th.