CHARLOTTE – After achieving a tremendous success at the high school, collegiate and professional level throughout the state of North Carolina, Panthers legend Julius Peppers was named to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
The N.C. Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1963 and each year recognizes some of the most influential athletes, coaches, executives and sports personalities in the state's history. Peppers is joined in the Class of 2020 by ESPN broadcaster Debbie Antonelli, former Hornets star Muggsy Bogues, College Football Hall of Fame coach and current UNC head coach Mack Brown, former UNCC athletic director Judy Rose, and seven other inductees.
"This year's class encompasses all fields of athletics, including professional, collegiate, high school and special achievements," Nora Lynn Finch, president of the Hall, said in a press release. "This 57th class of inductees and their outstanding accomplishments continue to build on the rich sports heritage of North Carolina. We look forward to celebrating this special time in our state's sports history."
During his 17-year NFL career, Peppers spent 10 seasons in Carolina, where he finished his career as the franchise leader in sacks (97), forced fumbles (34), blocked field goals (8). Peppers ranks fourth in NFL history with 159.5 career sacks and retired as the only player in NFL history with at least 150 sacks and 10 or more interceptions.
Peppers' induction into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame isn't the first honor he's received in his illustrious career. As a professional player, Peppers was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2002, a three-time AP First Team All-Pro selection, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, and was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2000s.
In 2019, Peppers was included on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame during his first year of eligibility. While at the University of North Carolina, Peppers was awarded the Lombardi Award given to the nation's top lineman, and won the Chuck Bednarik Award as a junior, given to the nation's best overall defensive player. Following his junior season, Peppers was a first-team All-ACC selection and was recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American. Peppers also played basketball for the Tar Heels for two seasons.
Peppers graduated from Southern Nash Senior High School, where he played football, basketball and ran track. Peppers was honored as a Parade Magazine All-American for his contributions on the football field as a senior, and he was also named Male Athlete of the Year by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.