Wrong righted: Tommie Frazier part of 2013 Hall of Fame class


And it’s about damn time.

Inexplicably snubbed since becoming eligible in 2006, former Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier has finally and rightly taken his place in the College Football Hall of Fame.  The former Nebraska was one of 14 individuals — 12 players, two coaches — whose names were announced as members of the Class of 2013 Tuesday morning by the National football Foundation.

The fact that it took Frazier seven years to get in is simply incomprehensible.  All the quarterback did from 1992-95 was lead the Cornhuskers to two national championships — and nearly a third — four Big Eight titles, a 33-3 record as a starter and account for 82 touchdowns rushing/passing.  He was a two-time Orange Bowl MVP (1994 & 1995), Fiesta Bowl MVP in 1996, consensus All-American and Johnny Unitas winner in 1995.

“Tommie was an outstanding competitor,” legendary former Huskers head coach Tom 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.”

Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson and Barry Sanders were the greatest college football I’ve seen in my lifetime; Frazier is right in that mix, and was the dictionary definition of a first-ballot Hall of Famer.  It took longer than it should’ve, but at least it’s happened.  Finally.

Frazier, though, downplayed his delayed entry — supposedly because of an unwritten rule — and, as was ofttimes the case, deflected the praise to his teammates.

“This is quite an honor,” Frazier said in a statement released by NU. “You never play the game and think you are going to be in the Hall of Fame one day. You just go out and try to be the best you can be and whatever happens, happens. I was fortunate that good things happened, but it certainly was not me alone. I had great teammates and coaches that played a big part in this honor.

“If we had not won all those games and two national championships, I wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. I was surrounded by great players at every position, and many of those guys had great careers themselves. I did have the role of being a coach on the field, but the guys around me made that much easier. With the supporting cast we had on offense, many times regardless of whether I had us in the right play or wrong play, they made it work.”

Also in this year’s class were Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel (1996 Heisman winner; two-time first-team All-American and two-time SEC player of the year; member of one national championship team and four SEC title teams), Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne (1999 Heisman winner; all-time leader at the FBS level in rushing yards with 7,125 yards; three-time first-team All-American and winner of the Walter Camp, Maxwell and Doak Walker awards), Ohio State offensive tackle Orlando Pace (two Lombardi awards, one Outland Trophy), Arizona linebacker Tedy Bruschi, North Carolina State running back Ted Brown (the ACC’s all-time leading rusher and only four-team first-team all-conference player), Texas defensive back Jerry Gray, Kentucky end Steve Meilinger, Oklahoma linebacker Rod Shoate, Michigan State linebacker Percy Snow and Baylor quarterback Don Trull.  It had previously been announced Monday that former Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde would be part of the 12-player class.

There were also two coaches selected for induction: Colorado’s Bill McCartney and Wayne Hardin, who coached at Navy (1959-64) and Temple (1970-82)

One long-time wrong wasn’t officially rectified Tuesday, however.  Former Alabama linebacker Derrick Thomas, who still holds the single-season NCAA sack record, was not part of the Class of 2013.  He was named a unanimous All-American following that season, along with the Butkus Award winner.

An automobile accident in January of 2000 claimed Thomas’ life at the age of 33.

Sean McDonough on leaving Monday Night Football: College football is more fun

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While we’re not exactly formal media critics here at CFTalk, you really don’t have to have too much experience watching television to know that ESPN’s Sean McDonough calling Monday Night Football the past two years was a bit of a round peg in a square hole. The veteran play-by-play man has called a lot of major sporting events over the years but was known to most prior to his NFL stint as one of the regular voices on the college football circuit after all.

McDonough is just now starting to open up about his departure from MNF and is perhaps not surprisingly excited at the prospect of returning to the college level, which he insists was his decision. Awful Announcing passes along an interview he did with Boston area radio program The Kirk & Callahan Show this week and let’s just say that McDonough confirms what we already know about which sport is better if you’re picking between the NFL and college football.

“I say that after a lot of reflection and mostly a lot of belief that, ultimately, what is the most important thing in life is to be happy,” McDonough said. “As much as it was a great honor to be the voice of ‘Monday Night Football’ –– and you guys know me well enough, and certainly a lot of my friends and family do –– it wasn’t a tremendous amount of fun the last two years. When I took my ego out of it, when the conversation about a reboot of MNF came up, when I took the ego part of it out, and rationalized it, I really could be fine with  not being the voice of MNF, then it became easy. I love college football. For me, it’s more fun, and that’s a personal taste.”

Amen Sean, amen.

While it is great news that CFB is getting back McDonough, the sport’s gain is tempered by the loss of fellow play-by-play man Joe Tessitore, who will be taking over in the MNF booth calling games. Something says that the esteemed JoeTess will do a great job calling NFL games every Monday night but will, like McDonough, come to miss the excitement, wild endings and colorful presentation that happens at the college level every Saturday.

North Texas finalizing new deals for head coach Seth Littrell, AD Wren Baker

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After a successful turnaround campaign in 2017, North Texas is preparing to sweeten the deal for head coach Seth Littrell.

The Denton Record-Chronicle reports that the school is in the process of finalizing a new contract for both Littrell and athletic director Wren Baker, with regents approving moving forward in the process last month. While final numbers and details have not been released, the expectation is that both will get a raise and likely have increased buyouts after the coach and athletic director were mentioned in connection to bigger jobs this offseason.

Littrell took over a program two years ago that was coming off a 1-11 record and has turned things around to the point where the team has made back-to-back bowl games in his first two seasons in Denton. The Mean Green won the CUSA West division in 2017 and wrapped up the year with nine wins for the first time since 2013 — including just the fourth winning record for UNT in 15 seasons.

The former Oklahoma running back and Mike Leach assistant was the highest paid head coach in Conference USA according to USA Today‘s salary database and he is expected to get a further raise in the new deal that should take Littrell over the $1 million mark for annual salary. Baker arrived in Denton the year after the head coach and has helped raise significant sums to upgrade facilities at North Texas during his short tenure so far.

The Mean Green have already begun spring football practices and will host their annual spring game on March 30th.

Dismissed by West Virginia, Tyree Owens has now been removed from East Carolina’s roster

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To say that Tyree Owens has had an up-and-down — mostly down — collegiate career would be a significant understatement.

Originally a West Virginia signee, Owens was one of three Mountaineer football players stabbed in an off-field accident in September of 2015… only to be one of three WVU football players dismissed from the program very shortly thereafter for violating unspecified team rules.

After one season at a junior college, the defensive lineman transferred to East Carolina. After one season at ECU, Owens is out again as the American Athletic Conference school announced that the redshirt junior “has also been removed from the roster as a result of an indefinite suspension related to the team’s academic policy.”

Last season, Owens started three of the 10 games in which he played, with all of those starts coming at defensive tackle. His 3.5 tackles for loss were fourth on the team, while his three quarterback hits were second on the Pirates.  Two of those tackles for loss came against… WVU, of course.

A three-star member of WVU’s 2014 recruiting class, Owens was rated as the No. 49 strongside defensive end in the country. He took a redshirt as a true freshman for the Mountaineers.

Owens, now at a Mississippi junior college, originally committed to Texas A&M in October of 2016 before decommitting nearly three months later and ultimately signing with ECU in mid-December of that same year.

Clemson DT Christian Wilkins on substitute teaching: I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Kindergarten Cop’

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Those of a certain age may look back on going to grade school and think fondly on those rare days where the regular teacher was out and a substitute filled in. For many around the country, that often meant watching a movie or two for class instead of doing, well… actual work.

If you happen to be a kindergarten student at James M. Brown Elementary School in Walhalla, South Carolina though, having a substitute teacher for class has been taking on a whole different meaning the past few weeks. That’s because 300-pound Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins has been moonlighting as a sub and trying to corral little kids on a much gentler scale than he corrals quarterbacks on Saturdays in the fall.

“It was fun, but took a lot out of me,” Wilkins told ESPN earlier this week. “I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Kindergarten Cop’ with all those little kids. Talk about energy, but it was a real cool experience.”

Perhaps the most accurate line from Chris Low’s excellent story on Wilkins’ substitute duties came by one young pupil who muttered, ‘That’s one big mister.’ The senior All-American is only getting $80 for a day’s worth of work with the kids but seeing the massive defensive tackle walk into a room is probably as priceless for Wilkins as it is for those at the school.