SF 49ers: CFB Hall of Fame inductee Harris Barton was exceptional

Offensive lineman Harris Barton of the San Francisco 49ers Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport
Offensive lineman Harris Barton of the San Francisco 49ers Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport /

An SF 49ers legend, offensive tackle Harris Barton, was just named to the College Football Hall of Fame, and he deserves the accolade.

Congratulations are surely in order to former SF 49ers offensive tackle Harris Barton, who was recently named to the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame class.

The 2021 class, officially announced on Monday, Jan. 11, included Barton, who solidified an excellent collegiate career at North Carolina between 1983 and 1986. During that span before going pro, Barton was a four-year starter and was named to the All-American Scholar/Athlete Team and Academic All-ACC team while also receiving an ACC Outstanding Offensive Lineman award, too.

Barton will be part of a noteworthy class of CFB Hall of Fame inductees, which include the following:

"PlayersHarris Barton – OT, North Carolina (1983-86)David Fulcher – DB, Arizona State (1983-85)Dan Morgan – LB, Miami [FL] (1997-2000)Carson Palmer – QB, Southern California (1998-2002)Tony Romo – QB, Eastern Illinois (1999-2002)Kenneth Sims – DT, Texas (1978-81)C.J. Spiller – RB/KR, Clemson (2006-09)Darren Sproles – RB, Kansas State (2001-04)Aaron Taylor – OT, Notre Dame (1990-93)Andre Tippett – DE, Iowa (1979-81)Al Wilson – LB, Tennessee (1995-98)CoachesRudy Hubbard – 83-48-3 (63.1%); Florida A&M (1974-85)Bob Stoops – 190-48-0 (79.8%); Oklahoma (1999-2016)"

Harris Barton helped continue SF 49ers dynasty

The SF 49ers were already a dominant team when Barton joined the fray as San Francisco’s first of two first-round picks in the 1987 NFL Draft, and he just so happened to be the first offensive lineman selected by the Niners in Round 1 since they chose center Forrest Blue in the 1968 draft.

Barton later explained to 49ers.com how it was something of a shock when the SF 49ers selected him:

"[49ers offensive line coach Bobb McKittrick] happened to be in town and he didn’t work me out, but we walked around the campus. I showed him the basketball gymnasium. I showed him the football field and we just talked. I really had no idea that they were going to draft an offensive lineman.So when they did, it actually came as a surprise when the phone rang and Bill Walsh was on the line."

Barton started nine games his rookie season and was the runner-up in that year’s Rookie of the Year voting, which is quite exceptional considering the awards rarely go to offensive linemen these days. Back then, too.

From that point through his final pro season in 1996, Barton would be a mainstay at right tackle and would win three Super Bowls with the team, the first two in the 1988 and 1989 seasons before his last after 1994. Along the way, Barton would also earn two first-team All-Pro nods (1992 and 1993) and one Pro Bowl selection in 1993.

“It was an honor to come out there and play with guys like Jerry Rice, Roger Craig, Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott,” Barton added. “It wasn’t hard at all for me to leave home.”

Yeah, Barton surely had the luxury of joining a great squad.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise he also earned an honorable mention spot on Niner Noise’s ranking of the 10 best offensive linemen in franchise history, and some could argue the three Super Bowl rings could push him higher on that list into the actual top 10.

While Barton wasn’t flashy, he certainly got the job done. Being part of some of the best teams in franchise history also helps his case, too.

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And while he may never be a Pro Football Hall of Famer, Barton getting into the College Football Hall of Fame is still quite an exceptional feat.