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Put him in: Ex-Cat Tedy Bruschi on college Hall of Fame ballot for fourth time

Tedy Bruschi

Tedy Bruschi was one of the faces of Arizona’s Desert Swarm defenses. Photo by Otto Greule Jr./Allsport

Former Arizona Wildcats All-American defensive end Tedy Bruschi is on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame for the fourth consecutive season.

I thought Bruschi was a near-lock to make it last year after his Desert Swarm teammate, defensive tackle Rob Waldrop, was selected in 2011. ESPN’s Ivan Maisel reported last year that the Hall has a rule against inducting players from the same school in back-to-back years, although the National Football Foundation has no such stated policy.

In any case, Bruschi faces no such hurdle this season, although the ballot is loaded with other no-brainer selections:

Nebraska quarterback Tommy Frazier, Ohio State offensive tackle Orlando Pace, Oklahoma linebacker Brian Bosworth, Notre Dame receiver/returner Rocket Ismail and late Alabama linebacker Derrick Thomas. There are also four Heisman winners on the ballot: Miami’s Vinny Testaverde, Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne, Florida’s Danny Wuerffel and Nebraska’s Eric Crouch.

Dayne, the career FBS rushing leader, is on the ballot for the first time, as is TCU running back LaDainian Tomlinson. The full list of 77 players and five coaches up for induction is at the National Football Foundation’s website.

Bruschi was the emotional engine of the famed Desert Swarm defenses, arriving at Arizona as a lightly-recruited player from Roseville, Calif. He — and the Wildcats — burst onto the scene in 1992, a season that included a victory over top-ranked Washington. In 1993, Bruschi posted 19 sacks and helped Arizona lead the nation in rushing defense, allowing a stingy 30.1 yards per game — 0.9 yards per carry.

He was a three-time first-team All-Pac-10 player. Bruschi earned second-team All-America honors in 1993, was a consensus All-American in 1994 and a unanimous All-American in 1995.

Bruschi and Thomas share the NCAA record for sacks with 52.

While I thought Waldrop deserved to go into the Hall ahead of Bruschi, now Bruschi shouldn’t have to wait.

The Hall selects about 12 to 14 players each year, and the competition is ridiculously fierce, but the more than 12,000 voting NFF members and current Hall of Famers should no longer ignore the sack-master of one of college football’s famed defenses.

The 2013 Hall of Fame Class will be announced May 7.

The Wildcats have produced three Hall of Fame players — Waldrop, safety Chuck Cecil (inducted in 2009) and linebacker Ricky Hunley (1988).

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