Source: USA TODAY
NEW YORK — Three Heisman Trophy winners, one of the most decorated offensive linemen in college football history and former Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier headline the College Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2013, a 14-member group unveiled Tuesday with a decidedly recent feel.
The 12 players elected in this year’s class include five whose careers ended from 1995-99: Frazier, Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel, Arizona defensive end Tedy Bruschi, Ohio State offensive tackle Orlando Pace and Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne.
“I really like the weeding in of the older players and the younger players,” Wuerffel said. “There’s certainly cool things about all that, knowing that there are some more contemporary players. I knew Tommie Frazier from when he was in high school in Bradenton. I’ve known him for a long time. Orlando Pace almost won the Heisman instead of me. It’s a little extra special to have that connection.”
Said Bruschi: “I remember Danny. I played in the East-West Shrine Game with Tommie Frazier. I was up against Orlando Pace for the Lombardi when he won it.
“So a lot of history. A lot of connections. It’s a great class to be a part of.”
Bruschi, who went on to star for more than a dozen seasons with the New England Patriots — as a linebacker, not a defensive end — was the leader of Arizona’s “Desert Swarm” defense from 1992-95. He ended his college career with 52 sacks, then tied for the most in NCAA history.
“I never played college football with this as the goal,” Bruschi said. “My college football career was always about playing hard, doing the best you’ve got and see how it went. Whether you won or you lost, after the game was done you moved onto the next game. So I never really had any long-term goals of being in this prestigious class.”
Pace won the Lombardi Trophy in successive seasons (1995-96) and finished fourth in the 1996 Heisman Trophy voting, the highest finish by a lineman since 1980, before becoming the first overall pick by the St. Louis Rams in the 1997 NFL draft. Dayne posted two 2,000-yard seasons in a row before leaving Wisconsin in 1999 as the leading rusher in FBS history with 7,125 yards.
Wuerffel, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1996, and Dayne, who won the award in 1999, are joined by a third former Heisman recipient in Miami (Fla.) quarterback Vinny Testaverde, the 1986 winner.
Frazier’s induction comes in his eighth year of eligibility: The Hall of Fame’s selection criteria state that a player is not eligible until 10 years after he has completed his college career. Frazier’s final season came in 1995, when he led Nebraska to its second national championship in a row.
“Tommie was an outstanding competitor,” Tom Osborne, his college coach and a fellow Hall of Fame member, said in a statement released by Nebraska. “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.”
The remaining players inducted in the class of 2013: North Carolina State running back Ted Brown, still the ACC’s career rushing leader; 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 do-everything All-American under then-Wildcats coach Bear Bryant from 1951-53. A two-way star, Meilinger played running back, quarterback, linebacker and defensive back while also serving as the Wildcats’ punter.
Two former coaches, Bill McCartney and Wayne Hardin, round out 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, Navy and Temple. 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.
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