The announcement of the inductees into the College Football Hall of Fame is usually one of the most controversial events of the spring simply because there are a boatload of great players and only so many spots to be had.
This year, several players who were deserving of a Hall spot because of their fantastic accomplishments finally cracked the code and heard their name called. While all of the nominees definitely deserved to get in, we’re highlighting the five that made the most sense and were perhaps long overdue (note: we’re excluding Frazier since we wrote about him earlier).
Orlando Pace, OL, Ohio State (1994-96): Pace wasn’t already in? That was the sentiment across the country when one of the nation’s greatest offensive linemen (some might claim the absolute greatest) waited 17 years from the end of his collegiate career to enter the Hall of Fame. When his career started, Pace was only the second true freshman to start a season opener for the Buckeyes, was a two-time consensus first-team All-American and won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman. Pace was so adept at putting defensive players on their back that they nicknamed him “The Pancake Man.” He didn’t allow a sack during his final two seasons with the Buckeyes.
Ron Dayne, RB, Wisconsin (1996-99): Dayne wasn’t your typical star running back. He was quiet and mild-mannered, but when he stepped on the field, he was a seemingly unstoppable force. During his career at Wisconsin, Dayne amassed an NCAA record 7,125 total yards (including bowl games) and won the Heisman Trophy in 1999 after rushing for 1,834 yards as a senior. Dayne rushed for more than 200 yards in three of the four bowl games in which he played — more than any other player — and was the only Big Ten player to repeat as Rose Bowl MVP. His list of awards is too numerous to mention. And while his NFL career was a disappointment, he’ll always be one of the greatest running backs in the history of the college game.
Jerry Gray, DB, Texas (1981-84): Gray is one of the older honorees on our list, but to Texas fans — and fans of the old Southwest Conference — Gray started a defensive movement that made Texas one of the best defensive schools in the country. Gray, who is best known for leading the 1983 Longhorns who fell short of the national title, is one of just seven Longhorns to be named a two-time consensus All-American. Gray ranks third on Texas’ career interception list with 16 and is tied for second in single-season interceptions with seven. If there’s a defensive back Texas players aspire to be, it’s Gray.
Tedy Bruschi, DE, Arizona (1992-95): Despite criticisms of his current broadcasting career, Bruschi was one of the fastest of toughest linebackers to ever play the game. The two-time consensus All-American set the NCAA FBS career sack record with 52 and set the Arizona school record for sacks as a sophomore with 19. While Bruschi won multiple All-American and Pac-12 league awards, he’s one of the few players in the Hall of Fame to never win a national award, though he was one of four finalists for the Lombardi Trophy in 1994.
Percy Snow, LB, Michigan State (1986-89): Snow’s fantastic college career is often overshadowed by a terrible professional one. In fact, Yahoo’s Charles Robinson declared Snow one of the worst all-time first-round picks. But that shouldn't diminish an amazing college career that saw Snow become the first player in college football history win both the Butkus Award and the Lombardi Award in the same year (he is now one of two). Snow’s 473 career tackles ranks second all-time in Michigan State history and, like several on this list, he was a two-time consensus All-American.
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