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Merlin Olsen


Merlin Jay Olsen

Inducted 1980

Date of Birth



Logan, UT


Utah State University (1959-1961)


Merlin Olsen was first honored by the National Football Foundation in 1961, when he was chosen as one of the nation's top scholar-athletes. He was an consensus All-America tackle at Utah State and winner of the Outland Award as the nation's best interior lineman that year. The previous season he was a first-team pick. In 1980, the Foundation honored Olsen a second time, as he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. He was the first man to be an NFF scholar-athlete winner and later a Hall of Famer. Following his college days, Olsen played with the Los Angeles Rams. In both collegiate and pro play, he was known as a bruising, hard-hitting defensive lineman. But off the field Olsen was an intelligent and compassionate scholar, respected and admired by his peers. Following his pro football days, Olsen went into television, starring in such shows as "The Little House on the Prairie", and then into sports broadcasting as a stellar member of the NBC staff. He was a tough guy on the field, Mr. Nice Guy off the field.


Height 6'5

Weight 250

Career Highlights

  • 1961 Academic All-America
  • 1961 Consensus All-America
  • 1961 Heisman - Tenth
  • 1961 NFF Scholar Athlete
  • 1961 Outland Trophy Winner
  • 1960 First Team All-America
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