Daunte Culpepper

Student-Athlete
Inducted 2015

Born in Ocala, Daunte Culpepper will go down as one of the greatest high school quarterbacks in the Sunshine State. Raised by an adoptive mother, Culpepper grew up with 14 siblings and played three sports. He played sports year-round, saving one for each season - baseball in the spring and summer, football in the fall and basketball in the winter.

As a high school quarterback, Culpepper played for Vanguard in Ocala. In three seasons as the team’s starter, Culpepper set the school record for career passing yards (6,107) and touchdown passes (57). His outstanding senior season, in which he threw for 3,070 yards and ran for 602, saw him earn Florida’s Mr. Football honors in 1994. Capping off his senior campaign, Culpepper helmed a Vanguard team that went undefeated during the regular season and appeared in the state championship game. He finished his career with 7,034 total offensive yards – 6,107 passing and 927 rushing.

Culpepper also saw success on the hardwood and diamond during his senior season. On the court, he averaged 19.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists. On the baseball field, Culpepper was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 26th round of the 1995 MLB Draft. He ultimately decided to pursue football, accepting a scholarship from the University of Central Florida.

At UCF, Culpepper rewrote a number of records. These records include career passing attempts (1,391), completions (889), passing yards (11,412) and passing touchdowns (84). Other accolades that Culpepper collected during his collegiate career include being a finalist for the 1997 Davey O’Brien Award, setting the NCAA record for completion percentage in a season (73.6%) in 1998 (a record which stood until 2008), becoming just the third player in NCAA history to have thrown for over 10,000 yards and run for over 1,000 yards. Culpepper ultimately finished sixth all-time in the NCAA in total offense (12,459 yards). This all led to his dream of being an NFL quarterback, where Culpepper was selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the 11th pick of the first round in the 1999 NFL Draft.

Culpepper enjoyed a productive NFL career where he amassed over 24,000 yards passing, 149 passing touchdowns, three Pro Bowl selections (2000, 2003, 2004), two All-Pro team selections (2000 and 2004) and the 2001 ESPY Award for Best Breakthrough Athlete. Outside of football, Culpepper has worked with the African-American Adoption Agency, hosts an annual celebrity golf tournament fundraiser and has served as a keynote speaker at the United Way Reason to Be Thankful celebration.

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