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.