There were five total former athletes from the Sunshine State that were on the finalist ballot for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Two of them are heading to Canton, Ohio to be enshrined this August.

Brian Dawkins and Ray Lewis found out earlier this afternoon that they were selected as part of the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class after just over eight hours of voting and presentations took place in Minneapolis, Minn., where Super Bowl 52 will take place on Sunday.



Dawkins was a high school standout safety/defensive back for the Raines Vikings graduating from the Northwest Jacksonville school in 1992, going on to be a three-year starter at Clemson, recording 247 tackles and 11 interceptions with the Tigers.

He was drafted in the second round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, where he played as one of the most dominating safeties in the NFL in a span of 13 seasons until 2008. In 2009 he signed a five-year deal with the Denver Broncos as a free agent, when he ultimately spent three seasons before retiring in 2012, complete with a one-day contract to retire as a Philadelphia Eagle.

He finished NFL career playing in 224 games, starting 221 of those games, 37 interceptions, 36 forced fumbles, 26 sacks, and scored three defensive touchdowns, according to Pro Football Reference.

Accolades include being selected to the 1996 NFL All-Rookie Team Pro Football of Fame’s 1st team All-2000’s Team while being chosen for nine Pro Bowls and receiving four first-team All-Pro selections, according to Pro Football Reference.

This was the second year of eligibility for Dawkins and the second straight year he had made the finalist ballot for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Lewis was an All-American linebacker and wrestling star at Kathleen High School in Lakeland, graduating in 1993, before attending the University of Miami where he was a major contributor for the Hurricanes where he earned All-American and All-Big East honors during this three-years on three team.

After the 1995 season, he decided to forgo his senior season and declared for the 1996 NFL Draft, which turned out to be a smart move.

He was drafted in the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens, their first year after the franchise relocated that was previously known as the first Cleveland Browns franchise. He spent all 17 seasons as pro football player with the Ravens, playing in 228 games, starting 227 of those games, collecting 1,562 tackles, 31 interceptions, forcing 19 fumbles, recovering 20 fumbles, and collecting 41.5 sacks,  according to Pro Football Reference.

Accolades include winning 2000 and 2003 AP Defensive Player of the Year, 2000 NFL Super Bowl MVP, being named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame 1st team All-2000’s Team, and helping the Ravens win Super Bowl’s in 2000 and 2013. He was also selected 13 Pro Bowls as players, while being named to the first team of the All-Pro team seven times,  according to Pro Football Reference.

He retired from the Ravens after the second Super Bowl win from the 2012 (2013 Super Bowl) season.

This was Lewis’ first year of eligibility for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.