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Ex-Arizona Wildcat Rob Waldrop selected for College Football Hall of Fame

Rob Waldrop had 18 sacks in his final two seasons at Arizona. Tucson Citizen file photo

Former Arizona All-American defensive tackle Rob Waldrop, one of the cornerstones of the Wildcats’ Desert Swarm defenses, was selected Tuesday morning to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Waldrop was a bull in the middle of Arizona’s defensive line in the early 1990s, earning consensus All-American honors in 1992 and unanimous All-American honors in 1993, when he won the Football Writers Association of America’s inaugural Defensive Player of the Year award.

Waldrop, who had 45 career tackles for loss including 22.5 sacks, was appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time.

He was one of 14 players and two coaches selected in this year’s induction class. There were 79 players on the ballot, including his former Arizona teammate, defensive end Tedy Bruschi, who was up for induction for the second year.

“He was so efficient,” former Arizona offensive lineman Eric Johnson said of Waldrop.

“He didn’t waste any time celebrating. There was no dancing. No fist-pumping. It was just get back in the huddle and line up. He was just conserving energy so he could defeat the three guys who tried to block him on every play.”

With Waldrop and Bruschi leading a talented defensive line, Arizona’s 1993 team made 59 sacks in an 11-game regular season. That was 16 more than any other Pac-10 team. The Wildcats, amazingly, allowed only 30.1 rushing yards per game — 0.9 yards per carry — that season in what is one of the college football’s finest defenses of the past two decades.

“It was just an incredible ride – for players, fans, everybody,” Waldrop told me in 2007.

“We literally ran the exact same defense every play. For the coaches it was a good ride, too. It was like, ‘I don’t have to do much with the game plan.’”

Waldrop is the third former Arizona player in the College Football Hall of Fame — linebacker Ricky Hunley was enshrined in 1988, and safety Chuck Cecil was inducted in 2009.

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