Six former Aggie greats are about to join an elite group.

Utah State announced on Wednesday the latest class that will be inducted into the Utah State University’s Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. The new members will be honored during an induction ceremony for the Hall of Fame’s 17th class on April 10, 2020.

The latest class includes two men’s basketball players, two football athletes, a volleyball player and a record-setting wrestler. These six will join 115 individuals and three teams that have been inducted, since it was created in 1993.

The six inductees include: Zuzana Cernianska, an All-American volleyball player; Eric Franson, a three-time all-conference basketball player and conference player of the year; Russ Paulsen, one of the winningest wrestlers in school history; Donald Penn, one of the best Aggie football players along the offensive line in school history; Kevin Robinson, an All-American football player; and Kendall Youngblood, a three-time all-conference basketball player.

Cernianska came to USU from Prague, Czech Republic. She was a four-year starter from 2002-05 and ended up being one of 11 Aggie volleyball players to earn All-American honors after USU went to the 2005 NCAA Tournament. Cernianska earned first-team all-league honors three times and was the conference co-Freshman of the Year. She holds several school records.

Franson came to Logan From American Fork and played in 1991 and then 1994-96. He is a member of USU’s All-Century basketball team and a three-time all-conference selection. He is one of seven Aggies to be named conference player of the year, earning that after his junior season. Franson is among the top 10 in 10 different statistical categories.

Paulsen is from Clarion, Iowa, and was at USU from 1972-75. He was a three-time team captain and one of the winningest wrestlers in school history. Paulsen finished his career with a record of 87-13-2, which is the most wins by an Aggie wrestler. He went to the NCAA championships twice.

Penn is from Inglewood, California, and played from 2002-05. He took over as the starter at right tackle three games into his freshman season and went on to start 44 consecutive games for the Aggies, moving to left tackle as a sophomore. He was a team captain and earned all-league accolades. Penn went on to the NFL as a free agent and has been playing ever since, currently a starter with the Washington Redskins.

Robinson is from Fresno, California, and played from 2004-07. He earned All-American honors as a senior when he set a then NCAA record for kickoff return yards in a season with 1,260. The wide receiver, who also returned punts and kickoffs, was eighth in the nation as a senior in all-purpose yards with 193.1 a game. His name is still all over the Aggie record books for receiving, punt returns and kickoff returns.

Youngblood didn’t have to travel far from Ogden to join the Aggies, where he played basketball from 1989-92. He is the seventh leading scorer in school history with 1,749 career points. Youngblood was the Freshman of the Year and earned all-league honors three times. He started 113 of a possible 114 games during his time at USU and is one of just five Aggies to lead the team in scoring for three consecutive seasons. His names is all over the USU record books.

The Hall of Fame Committee made its final selections for this year’s class in September. The inductees must fit into one of five categories: student-athlete, coach, team, athletics staff member, or contributor/special achievement. Contributor/special achievement includes individuals who have contributed to the ideal of sports at the university. Each nominee must receive at least 75 percent of the committee’s vote to be eligible for induction.

Members of the committee are: John Hartwell, Jerry Bovee, Amy Crosbie, Patty Halaufia, Craig Hislop, Dee Jones, Lauren Keller, Hal Labelle, Al Lewis, Dale Mildenberger, Jimmy Moore and Doug Hoffman (chairman).

Shawn Harrison is the sports editor at The Herald Journal. He can be reached at sharrison@hjnews.com or 435-792-7233.

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