Arizona State football honored alumnus and College Football Hall of Fame inductee Pat Tillman on Wednesday, erecting a statue of his likeness at Sun Devil Stadium.
The 6-foot, 400-pound statue stands in front of the tunnel, also named in remembrance of Tillman, that leads players onto the field from the new student-athlete facility.
Scholar. Athlete. Family Man.
— Sun Devil Football (@FootballASU) August 31, 2017
Tillman was a linebacker for the Sun Devils from 1994-98 and was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the 1998 NFL draft. Known for his academic and athletic excellence, Tillman led the program as a junior to an undefeated regular season before losing to Ohio State in the 1997 Rose Bowl. His college success translated to his NFL play, but after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Tillman put his professional career on halt to enlist in the U.S. Army.
In April 2004, after serving several tours, Tillman was killed in Afghanistan.
“It is something that is very important. Obviously, who he was as a person, giving his life for his country, but who he was as a Sun Devil. That is pretty special,” ASU coach Todd Graham said in the school’s press release on Wednesday. “Obviously, I have a tremendous respect for the football player that he was. I mean, he was a warrior.”
Graham added: “We talk a lot about brotherhood and how important his family was to him. What type of son he was, what type of brother he was, what type of teammate he was. He is the only person that is on every wall, but also too he is such a great representative with his life and who he was and what he was about, about what it is to be a Sun Devil to us.”
— AZ State University (@ASU) August 31, 2017
The bronze statue with hints of gold and maroon, donated by ASU alumni Arthur Pearce and designed by Jeff Davenport, portrays Tillman walking onto the field in full uniform.
Tillman was awarded the ESPN Arthur Ashe Courage award in 2003 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.