Frazier; Three Heisman winners highlight 2013 Hall of Fame class
[dropcap]B[/dropcap]etter late than never.
Former Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier never waited long to make his impact on college football. Five games into his freshman season at Nebraska, he took over the starting job from Mike Grant and didn’t looked back.
He went on to score 83 touchdowns and total 6,266 yards in an illustrious career that included four Big 8 championships and to back-to-back undefeated national championship seasons. The Huskers went in games 33-3 he started.
Gaining admission to College Football’s Hall of Fame, an elite club whose unwritten election “rules” can make for some mind-boggling non-selections, was another matter altogether.
Eligible since 2006, Frazier’s absence from the Hall finally ended Tuesday, as he was one of 14 members elected in the class of 2013.
Frazier’s absence was apparently due to an unofficial policy not to elect players from the same school to consecutive Hall of Fame classes. Legendary former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne said it’s an honor well-deserved.
“Tommie was an outstanding competitor,” Osborne said in a statement. “He did everything he could to win, and was a good leader by example. He expected a lot out of himself and the people around him. He was an outstanding leader and catalyst and made everyone around him better. Tommie managed the game very well, and was a natural option quarterback. He had a good sense of timing, when to pitch, when not to pitch. He had excellent balance, good speed and was very strong.
“Tommie was better prepared to start as a freshman than any quarterback we had. That’s not easy to do, but he was unusually mature and competitive. He had played at a high level in front of big crowds in high school, so going out and playing in a major college game was not intimidating to him.”
Three Heisman Trophy winners — Miami’s Vinny Testaverde (1986), Florida’s Danny Wuerffel (1996) and Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne (1999) — and one of the most decorated offensive linemen in college football history, Ohio State offensive tackle Orlando Pace, were among the class of 2013’s headliners. Pace won the Lombardi Trophy in successive seasons (1995-96) and finished fourth in the 1996 Heisman voting.
Other players inducted in the class of 2013: North Carolina State running back Ted Brown, still the ACC’s career rushing leader; Tedy Bruschi, the leader of Arizona’s “Desert Swarm” defense who ended his college career with a 52 sacks, tied for the most in NCAA history; Texas defensive back Jerry Gray, a two-time Southwest Conference player of the year; late Oklahoma linebacker Rod Shoate, a three-time All-American; Michigan State linebacker Percy Snow, the first player in NCAA history to win the Butkus and Lombardi trophies in the same year; and Baylor quarterback Don Trull, who finished fourth in the Heisman voting as a senior in 1963.
The Hall of Fame’s FBS Veterans Committee inducted former Kentucky end Steve Meilinger, a two-way star, who was All-American under then-Wildcats coach Bear Bryant from 1951-53. Meilinger played running back, quarterback, linebacker and defensive back while also serving as the Wildcats’ punter.
Two former coaches — Colorado’s Bill McCartney and Wayne Hardin, who coached at both Navy and Temple — were part of the 2013 class. McCartney was coach at Colorado from 1982-94, piling up a school-record 93 wins and the 1990 national championship, the program’s lone national title.
Hardin is the finest coach in the history of two programs. He led the Midshipmen from 1959-64, helping Joe Bellino (1960) and Roger Staubach (1963) win the Heisman and beating Army five times in a row, a record that stood until 2007. Hardin had 80 victories at Temple from 1970-82, still a school record.
The man who Bruschi tied for the NCAA career record in sacks, former Alabama linebacker Derrick Thomas, was once again left off the list. Thomas, who starred at Alabama from 1985-88, still holds the single-season NCAA sack record with 27 set in 1988. That season, he was a unanimous All-American and won the Butkus Award.
Other notable players not voted in included SMU running back Eric Dickerson, Oklahoma linebacker Brian Bosworth and USC offensive tackle Tony Boselli.
Below is a look at the Class of 2013’s bio capsules:
2013 College Football Hall of Fame Inductees
Ted Brown, North Carolina State (Tailback)
1978 consensus First Team All-America, helping NC State to three bowl berths… Only four-year First Team All-ACC pick in league history… Led team in rushing four-straight years and still holds five school records.
Tedy Bruschi, Arizona (Defensive End)
Two-time First Team All-America (consensus-‘94, unanimous-’95)…Tied the NCAA career record with 52 sacks…1995 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and three-time First Team All-Pac-10 selection…Led Arizona to three bowls.
Ron Dayne, Wisconsin (Running Back)
All-time leading rusher in FBS history who won the 1999 Heisman Trophy, Walter Camp, Maxwell and Doak Walker awards…Three-time First Team All-American…First player in college history to rush for more than 7,000 yards in career.
Tommie Frazier, Nebraska (Quarterback)
1995 consensus First Team All-America and Johnny Unitas award winner… 1995 Heisman trophy runner-up and Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year… Led Huskers to back-to-back perfect national championship seasons in 1994 and ’95.
Jerry Gray, Texas (Defensive Back)
Two-time First Team All-American (consensus-’83, unanimous-’84)… Two-time SWC Player of the Year… Member of 1983 SWC championship team and four bowl teams…297 career tackles, 16 career interceptions, 20 pass breakups.
Steve Meilinger, Kentucky (End)
A two-way star that played running back, quarterback, linebacker and defensive back while also serving as the Wildcats’ punter… All-American under then-Wildcats coach Bear Bryant from 1951-53.
Orlando Pace, Ohio State (Offensive Tackle)
Two-time unanimous First Team All-American and first player in history to win Lombardi Trophy twice…1996 Outland Trophy winner who led Buckeyes to share of 1996 Big Ten title… Did not allow a sack during his last two seasons.
Rod Shoate, Oklahoma (Linebacker)
1973 consensus and 1974 unanimous First Team All-America…Finished seventh in the 1974 Heisman Trophy voting and twice named Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year…Ranks third in school history with 420 career tackles.
Percy Snow, Michigan State (Linebacker)
1989 unanimous First Team All-America and 1989 Butkus Award winner… Led MSU to 1987 Big Ten title and Rose Bowl win… Ranks second all-time in career tackles (473).
Vinny Testaverde, Miami (Quarterback)
Winner of 1986 Heisman, Walter Camp, Maxwell Award, and Davey O’Brien…Led Canes to three bowl berths, including 1987 Fiesta Bowl to determine national championship… Finished career with 6,058 passing yards and 48 TD passes.
Don Trull, Baylor (Quarterback)
Named consensus First Team All-America and led the nation with 22 touchdowns in 1963…Named First Team All-Conference, he set a school record with 174 completions in 1963…Twice named First Team Academic All-America.
Danny Wuerffel, Florida (Quarterback)
1996 winner of NFF Campbell Trophy, Heisman, Walter Camp, Maxwell, and consecutive Davey O’Brien awards… Two-time SEC Player of the Year who led Gators to 1996 National Championship and four SEC championships.
Wayne Hardin, Navy (1959-64), Temple (1970-82)
Led Navy to a No. 2 ranking in 1963 and Temple to a No. 17 ranking in 1979…Ranks third in wins (38) all-time at Navy and beat Army in five of six seasons…Temple’s all-time leader in wins (80), he led them to their only 10-win season and the Garden State Bowl in 1979.
Bill McCartney, Colorado (1982-94)
Led Buffs to 1990 National Championship and three Big Eight Conference titles…Three-time Big Eight Coach of the Year and 1989 National Coach of the Year…Helped CU to nine bowl games in 13 seasons…Coached 18 First Team All-America players, including Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam.
Photo credit: US Presswire