On Tuesday from Times Square, the National Football Foundation officially announced the 12 players and two head coaches who will make up the 2013 class for the College Football Hall of Fame. According to a press release from FootballFoundation.org, the official induction ceremony will take place at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 10 in New York City.
While not all of the gridiron stars included on this list enjoyed similar success at the professional level, their collegiate accomplishments have now been immortalized. For the head coaches, it is a testament to how valuable they have been to the sport not only as far as winning games, but also with respect to fostering the development of maturing adults.
Below is a complete list of the inductees, followed by a breakdown of some of the most notable members of this year's class.
Complete List of Inductees
|Ted Brown ||Running back||North Carolina State|
|Tedy Bruschi||Defensive end ||Arizona|
|Ron Dayne||Running back||Wisconsin|
|Jerry Gray||Defensive back ||Texas|
|Wayne Hardin||Head coach||Navy/Temple|
|Bill McCartney||Head coach||Colorado|
|Steve Meilinger||Defensive end||Kentucky|
|Orlando Pace||Offensive tackle ||Ohio State |
|Rod Shoate ||Linebacker||Oklahoma |
|Percy Snow||Linebacker||Michigan State |
|Vinny Testaverde||Quarterback||Miami (FL)|
Inductees were announced in a press conference, broadcasted by the foundation's YouTube channel.
Tommie Frazier, QB, Nebraska Cornhuskers
One of the most competitive and hardest-working players in the history of college football, the ex-Nebraska signal-caller constantly willed his team to victory.
Frazier ran the option offense for the Cornhuskers and was a raging success, leading the team to consecutive national championships in 1994 and 1995 after losing the title game as a sophomore.
The latter of those triumphant runs to ultimate glory provided one of the most memorable plays in history, when Frazier ambled into multiple Florida Gators defenders before breaking free and rumbling for a 75-yard touchdown run that rocked the Fiesta Bowl.
Blood clots in his legs were really the only thing that could slow Frazier down—and they finally did following his senior season. However, Frazier ended his career with a 34-3 record as a starter, 5,476 yards of total offense and 79 combined touchdowns (via Sports-Reference.com).
That is enough to cement his status in the Hall of Fame—an honor that probably should have happened sooner for this perennial winner and accomplished quarterback.
Note: Information on Frazier is courtesy of Huskers.com.
Vinny Testaverde, QB, Miami (FL) Hurricanes
Before embarking on a journey-filled NFL odyssey as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1987 NFL draft, Testaverde was an All-American standout for the Hurricanes, winning the Heisman Trophy in 1986.
Over Testaverde's final two seasons in Coral Gables, he averaged over nine yards per attempt through the air and threw for 48 career touchdowns, per Sports-Reference.com.
News broke of Testaverde's induction prior to Tuesday's announcement, and ESPN's official college football Twitter page captured a throwback image of him in action back in his collegiate heyday:
ESPN CollegeFootball @ESPNCFB
BREAKING: Vinny Testaverde, former QB Miami (Fla.) to be inducted into the #CFBHOF @NFFNetwork http://t.co/mZs7iG44WA2013-5-6 19:35:16
Perhaps what kept such a prolific passer out of the Hall of Fame for this long was the fact that Testaverde didn't win a championship at Miami. In the Fiesta Bowl during his decorated senior year, his heavily favored, top-ranked Hurricanes lost 14-10 to Penn State, as Testaverde threw five interceptions.
It was a horrendous conclusion to an otherwise wonderful tenure as the Hurricanes' starting signal-caller. However, there is no denying that Testaverde is deserving of this prestigious distinction.
Tedy Bruschi, DE, Arizona
Unlike his quarterbacking classmates listed above, Bruschi was a raging success in the NFL for the New England Patriots as a three-time Super Bowl champion.
Before that brilliant pro career, however, Bruschi was a star in Tucson. In his final two years at Arizona, he was a two-time All-American and a nightmare coming off the edge.
Bruschi came to embody the terrifying "Desert Swarm" defense that wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks. In his final collegiate game, he tied the late, great Derrick Thomas for the NCAA record with his 52 sacks, per Anthony Gimino of TucsonCitizen.com.
Arizona Athletics tweeted its congratulations when news of Bruschi's induction broke:
Arizona Athletics @AZATHLETICS
RT @ArizonaFBall: Congrats to UA's Tedy Bruschi for being named to the @NFFNetwork College Football HOF. #BearDown http://t.co/Ske6C0o6Du2013-5-7 16:06:22
Though he was slightly undersized for a player at his position, that didn't stop Bruschi from enjoying one of the most successful careers for a defensive end in college football history.
Wayne Hardin, Head Coach, Navy and Temple
What makes Hardin's resume unique is that he lifted two different programs to various levels of prominence. A tradition was already established at Navy, but Hardin still had a successful tenure, leading the Midshipmen to 38 wins from 1959 to 1964 (via FootballFoundation.org).
The most notable of Hardin's seasons was 1963, when Navy went 9-2 and finished second in the nation. Future Dallas Cowboys star quarterback Roger Staubach led that team, and Hardin beat archrival Army five of six times—including that year.
Hardin then took off with Temple, notching a program-record 80 victories against just 52 losses and three ties.
One of the elements that made Hardin successful was his uncanny ability to recruit top-tier talent close to home, which resulted in an influx of transfer players and even a 14-game winning streak between 1973 and '74, per Sports Illustrated's Ray Kennedy.
For a coach who had such immense ability to groom players and tangible success, it was only a matter of time before his induction.