March 22, 1940 – April 19, 2022 Orange, TX
Linebacker Garland Boyette played for Grambling, where he was Little All-America. He tried for the 1960 Olympic decathlon team and barely missed qualifying.
He signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1962, and played with them through 1963. In 1964, he joined the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian League and was voted All-Canadian in 1965.
He is also a former professional linebacker in the American Football League for the Houston Oilers and in the NFL for the St. Louis Cardinals (1962–63) and the Houston Oilers (1966–72). In 1967, he was the regular starting middle linebacker for the Oilers and is the first African-American to play that position in professional football.
He was also voted MVP in the Canadian Football League that year. In 1966, he jumped to the Houston Oilers, playing with the club through 1972. He returned three kickoffs in 1966 for 42 yards, and had two career interceptions. He also played in the 1968 AFL All-Star game.
He played guard, defensive end, outside linebacker, and middle linebacker. Boyette finished his career with the Shreveport Steamers of the WFL in 1975.
He is the uncle of football player and wrestler Ernie Ladd, also inducted here.