Getty Images Walter Payton

They may not have the most resources or name recognition, but historically black colleges and universities have produced some of the country's most remarkable athletes.

They are pioneers of their games, Hall of Famers across all sports and both genders.

In honor of Black History Month, we recognize some of the top players to come out of the HBCUs.

Jerry Rice, Mississippi Valley State

Getty Images Jerry Rice, Mississippi Valley State

The San Francisco 49ers legend and quarterback Willie Totten were so prolific in college that the school re-named its football stadium after the duo. The NFL's receiving leader in career catches, yards and touchdowns was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

Willis Reed, Grambling State

Getty Images Willis Reed, Grambling State

Reed led the Tigers to an NAIA title in 1963 before starring for the New York Knicks. His dramatic appearance at the start of Game 7 in the 1970 NBA Finals remains one of the most iconic moments in sports. Reed was NBA Finals MVP in 1970 and 1973.

Walter Payton, Jackson State

Getty Images Walter Payton, Jackson State

Payton, who picked up the nickname Sweetness at Jackson State, played with several other future NFLers in college, including Jerome Barkum and Robert Brazile. Payton was the NFL's all-time leading rusher with 16,726 yards at the time of his retirement. Since then, only Emmitt Smith has passed him. Payton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.

Bob Hayes, Florida A&M

Getty Images Bob Hayes, Florida A&M

Hayes ran track and played football at Florida A&M. He won the gold medal in the 100 meters at the 1964 Olympics. Playing receiver for the Cowboys, Hayes won a Super Bowl and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame posthumously in 2009.

Deacon Jones, South Carolina State and Mississippi Valley State

Getty Images Deacon Jones, South Carolina State and Mississippi Valley State

The Los Angeles Rams star had his scholarship revoked from South Carolina State after the school learned that he had taken part in the civil rights movement. Jones, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, is credited with inventing the term "quarterback sack."

Andre Dawson, Florida A&M

Getty Images Andre Dawson, Florida A&M

The Hawk starred for the Rattlers before being drafted by Montreal in 1975. He was the National League MVP in 1987 and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.

Althea Gibson, Florida A&M

Getty Images Althea Gibson, Florida A&M

Gibson, who is sometimes referred to as "The Jackie Robinson of Tennis," became the first person of color to win a Grand Slam (1956 French Open) three years after graduating from Florida A&M.

Willie Davis, Grambling State

Getty Images Willie Davis, Grambling State

After a stellar career at Grambling State, Davis became the first player in school history to be drafted. Under Vince Lombardi's guidance, Davis had an extremely successful NFL career. The defensive end won five championships and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

Lou Brock, Southern University

Getty Images Lou Brock, Southern University

Brock originally tried out for the baseball squad to secure a scholarship, and he ended up leading the team to an NAIA baseball championship in his junior year. Brock is second behind Rickey Henderson on MLB's all-time list for stolen bases with 938.

Sam Jones, North Carolina Central

Getty Images Sam Jones, North Carolina Central

Jones honed his game in college under legendary coach John McLendon. He scored 1,770 points while in Durham and was selected by the Celtics in the first round of the 1957 NBA Draft.

Art Shell, University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Getty Images Art Shell, University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Shell played both offense and defense at what was then called Maryland State College. As a guard, Shell became a Hall of Fame player for the Raiders and won three Super Bowls. In 1989, he became the first black head coach in the modern era of the NFL after the Raiders fired Mike Shanahan four games into the season.

Earl Monroe, Winston-Salem State

Getty Images Earl Monroe, Winston-Salem State

Earl the Pearl was named NCAA College Division Player of the Year in 1967 after an incredible senior year in which he led his team to the title while averaging 41.5 points. His best statistical seasons in the NBA were with the Baltimore Bullets, but he won his lone championship with the Knicks in 1973.

Leroy Kelly, Morgan State

Getty Images Leroy Kelly, Morgan State

Before an extremely successful career with the Browns, Kelly alternated between running back, defensive back, punter and kick returner at Morgan State. He helped the Browns win the 1964 NFL championship and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

Mel Blount, Southern University

Getty Images Mel Blount, Southern University

One of the leaders of the Steel Curtain of the 1970s, Blount played safety and cornerback at Southern. A four-time Super Bowl champion, Blount was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989.

Harry Carson, South Carolina State

Getty Images Harry Carson, South Carolina State

As a senior, Carson captained a defense which held opponents to an NCAA record 29 total points in 10 games. The linebacker was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times and helped the Giants win Super Bowl XXI. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Tennessee State

Getty Images Ed

The 6-foot-9 Jones began his career at Tennessee State as a basketball player but switched to football after two years. He was a three-time All-Pro defensive end and helped the Cowboys win Super Bowl XII. Jones played 15 seasons with Dallas, but took one year off to become a heavyweight boxer. He went 6-0 with five knockouts.

Alice Coachman, Tuskegee Institute

AP Alice Coachman, Tuskegee Institute

Coachman, who also played basketball at Tuskegee, became the first black female athlete to win an Olympic gold medal. She won the high jump in 1948.

Avery Johnson, Southern University

Getty Images Avery Johnson, Southern University

Johnson put his name on the map as a senior, averaging an NCAA-best 13.3 assists. Johnson played 16 NBA seasons and hit the shot that sealed the Spurs' first championship in 1999.

Wilma Rudolph, Tennessee State

Getty Images Wilma Rudolph, Tennessee State

Widely considered the most dominant female sprinter of her era, Rudolph won three gold medals at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Doug Williams, Grambling State

DougWilliams17.com Doug Williams, Grambling State

In his senior season at Grambling, Williams led the NCAA in passing yards (3,286) and touchdown passes (38). Tampa Bay drafted him in the first round in 1978, and in his second season, Williams helped the Buccaneers reach the NFC championship game. Williams became the first black quarterback to lead his team to a Super Bowl championship when the Redskins beat Denver.

Ken Houston, Prairie View A&M

eBay Ken Houston, Prairie View A&M

A linebacker in college, Houston shifted to safety in the NFL and went to the Pro Bowl 12 times. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

Aeneas Williams, Southern University

Getty Images Aeneas Williams, Southern University

Williams wasn't on the football team at Southern until his junior season when he made it as a walk-on. His skills as a cornerback were quickly evident, and the Cardinals drafted him in the third round. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

Shannon Sharpe, Savannah State

SI Covers Shannon Sharpe, Savannah State

Sharpe also played basketball and competed in track and field at Savannah State. A seventh-round pick in 1990, Sharpe helped the Broncos win two Super Bowls. He won another with the Ravens. At the time of his retirement, Sharpe held most of the significant receiving records among tight ends. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.

James Harris, Grambling State

eBay James Harris, Grambling State

A fellow rookie with O.J. Simpson on the Bills in 1969, Harris became the first black quarterback to be a starter on a regular basis, first with Buffalo and then the Rams. With Los Angeles, Harris was 21-6 as a starter.

Steve McNair, Alcorn State

Getty Images Steve McNair, Alcorn State

McNair set all sorts of records during his career at Alcorn State, including a new FCS high of 16,283 total yards, and as a senior, he even finished third in the Heisman voting, behind Rashaan Salaam and Ki-Jana Carter. He was NFL co-MVP with Peyton Manning in 2003.

Donald Driver, Alcorn State

Getty Images Donald Driver, Alcorn State

In addition to being a receiver, Driver competed in various field events at Alcorn State with the high jump being his speciality. Driver was selected to the Pro Bowl four times and helped the Packers win Super Bowl XLV. Driver earned further fame for winning "Dancing With The Stars."

For more, check out the complete list of Pro Football Hall of Famers who attended HBCUs, including Jackie Slater, Charlie Joiner and Richard Dent.

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