Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Testaverde, Wuerffel, Frazier among College Hall selections
NEW YORK -
Tampa resident Vinny Testaverde, former University of Miami quarterback and No. 1 draft pick for the Buccaneers, and fellow Heisman winner Danny Wuerffel of the University of Florida have been selected for the College Football Hall of Fame.
Also selected Tuesday was quarterback Tommie Frazier, a former Bradenton Manatee standout and two-time national champion at Nebraska.
They are part of a class of 12 players and two coaches chosen by the National Football Foundation. The induction ceremony is Dec. 10 in New York.
Testaverde was 23-3 as a starter for the Hurricanes. During his senior season in 1986, he won the Heisman Trophy and was a unanimous first-team All-American. He led UM to three consecutive bowl games and finished his career with 6,000-plus passing yards and 48 touchdown passes.
Testaverde went No. 1 overall to the Buccaneers in the 1987 NFL draft. He played professionally for 21 years and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection. He lives in Tampa, where he is an assistant coach at Jesuit High and his son, Vincent Jr., attends and is a quarterback for the Tigers.
The rest of the players to be inducted in December are: Heisman Trophy running back Ron Dayne of Wisconsin; Ted Brown of North Carolina State; Tedy Bruschi of Arizona; Jerry Gray of Texas; Steve Meilinger of Kentucky; Orlando Pace of Ohio State; Rod Shoate of Oklahoma; Percy Snow of Michigan State; and Don Trull of Baylor.
The new Hall of Fame coaches are Wayne Hardin, who led Navy and Temple, and Bill McCartney of Colorado.
Florida and Nebraska fans have been eagerly awaiting the inductions of their beloved quarterbacks for years.
Wuerffel won the Heisman in 1996, when he led the Gators to the national championship, throwing for 3,625 yards and 39 touchdowns in Coach Steve Spurrier's Fun-n-Gun offense.
He finished with college career as one of the most prolific passers in major college football history with 10,875 and 114 touchdown passes.
Wuerffel took a moment to reflect and give credit to his coach, Steve Spurrier, for something that still sticks with him as he looked back on all that has happened during his career and since.
“There are so many things about life that you learn and pick up, and one that comes to mind is — I can just hear him right now (saying) 'You've got to be flexible,'“ Wuerffel said. “You got to be flexible, it might work now, might not work then. … Life throws a lot of punches and a lot of curveballs and we can't get too attached to our plan or our agenda or expectations. Life can be really tough. You think you can control it, but we can't.
“And just being flexible is a great lesson that I learned from coach Spurrier.''
After a short NFL career, he retired to dedicate himself to Desire Street Ministries in New Orleans, where he played from 1997-99 with the Saints.
In 2011, Wuerffel was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disorder — GuillainBarr syndrome, which causes paralysis and problems with the nervous system but is treatable.
Wuerffel said he found it difficult to compare winning the Heisman to making the hall. “That's a really hard question to answer. It's been so many years since that moment and I'm in such a different point in my life,'' he said. “The overwhelming timing of everything in those several months from the football season, the SEC championship to the different award shows, national championship, so much of that as I was experiencing it was like a blur. It just happened so fast. “And I think one of the things about this that really, really is special to me that stands out now is that being at such a different point in my life, the ability to reflect, to experience it and to just really think about what this means has made this really unique.”
Frazier was a four-year starter running Coach Tom Osborne's option attack, and helped the Huskers to national championships in 1994 and '95. His tackling-breaking 75-yard touchdown run put an exclamation point on Nebraska's 62-24 victory over Wuerffel and Florida in the 1996 Orange Bowl national title game. “This is quite an honor,” Frazier said. “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."
Frazier finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1995 as a senior and finished his career with 5,476 total yards of offense and 79 total touchdowns. “If we had not won all those games and two national championships, I wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame," Frazier said. "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.”
Dayne is the NCAA's career rushing leader with 6,397 yards rushing, though his bowl game yards would boost his career total past 7,000 yards if he played at a time when the NCAA counted them in regular season stats. The burly tailback won the Heisman for the Badgers in 1999.
Brown left North Carolina State as the Atlantic Coast Conference's leader in rushing yards (4,602) and touchdowns (51).
Bruschi had 52 sacks as part of Arizona's Desert Swarm defenses during the mid-1990s.
Gray is one of the top defensive backs to play at Texas. He finished his career with 16 interceptions and 297 tackles.
Steve Meilinger was a star on offense, defense and special teams for Paul “Bear” Bryant at Kentucky in the early 1950s.
Orlando Pace is considered one of the most dominant offensive linemen in college football history. He finished fourth in the Heisman voting in 1996.
Shoate led the Sooners in tackles for three straight seasons during his career from 1972-74.
Snow became the first player to win the Butkus award as the nation's top linebacker and the Lombardi as the top linemen or linebacker as a senior with Michigan State in 1989.
Trull passed for more than 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns for the Bears from 1961-63.
Hardin coached Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach to the Heisman Trophy at Navy in the 1960s, and then went on to become the most successful coach in Temple history.
McCartney helped turn Colorado from a cellar dwellar to a national title contender in the 1990s.