College Football Hall of Fame: Dave Casper and Jimmy Johnson Headline 2012 Class
The National Football Foundation announced its 2012 class of inductees today for the College Football Hall of Fame, and there were several snubs that rubbed college football fans the wrong way.
Names like Tommie Frazier, Derrick Thomas, Orlando Pace and Joe Hamilton were not among the 14 players selected for the prestigious honor. However, of the 17 inductees, three coaches are included, and there were some big names and bright spots.
In the full class, there are two national championship-winning coaches, three quarterbacks, two receivers, two running backs, a tight end, two offensive linemen and just four defensive players.
R.C. Slocum joined Phil Fulmer and Jimmy Johnson as the coaching inductees. The former Texas A&M head coach posted a better winning percentage than Johnson, but not the national titles that his two peers brought to the table. While he doesn't have the titles, Slocum does have three SWC championships and a Big 12 title to his name.
Johnson is the clear headliner from the coaching ranks, as he helped spring Miami (FL) into prominence. His contributions to the game were more than just the wins at Miami. He also brought new defensive approaches to football, most notably the 4-3 over front.
He birthed a coaching tree of names like Butch Davis, Tommy Tuberville and Dave Wannstedt—all defensive-minded coaches who have gotten results. Johnson was influential in so many ways at the collegiate level, as he accepted the "Bad Boy" image thrust upon his team from the media and fans, allowing his boys to be themselves out on the field.
From the players' side of things, Ty Detmer obviously gets the big nod as a headliner. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1990 and painted his name across the BYU record book. In addition to Detmer, Dave Casper, Jonathan Ogden and Mark Simoneau are the big names to walk into the Hall of Fame.
Casper was a great weapon at the tight end position, decades before teams began openly using their athletic, big-bodied tight ends to exploit mismatches with the regularity that we see today. While at Notre Dame, Casper was blocking, catching passes and flexing out to the wide receiver position, all en route to All-American honors.
Casper helped increase the importance of the tight end position in the college game, and his contributions at the next level, being among the greatest tight ends to ever play, are widely noted.
On the offensive line, Ogden was one of the names synonymous with greatness at the tackle position. Ogden was a monster, standing 6'9" and weighing in at almost 350 pounds, and the tackle was an amazing blend of brute strength and remarkable athleticism.
The four-year starter at UCLA, who won the Outland and Morris trophies, was an All-American and only gave up two sacks in his final two seasons. The Bruins have honored Ogden by retiring his jersey and electing him to their Hall of Fame, and he now sits among the greatest of all-time in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Simoneau also goes into the Hall of Fame, just under two years removed from being forced to retire from the NFL due to back and tricep injuries. In college, Simoneau was a beast and a leader on some of Kansas State's "Lynch Mob" defenses that swarmed to the football.
He was a three-time captain for the Wildcats who amassed 400 tackles during his career. Simoneau played the game hard, he played it fast and he got to ball-carriers with bad intentions.
The list of those inducted into the Hall of Fame this season includes some solid players. Next year, fingers crossed, we will all get the Tommie Frazier and Orlando Pace inductions that we are hoping for.
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