Hail Flutie! Heisman winner joins college football HOF


Hail Flutie! The little quarterback who made a career of proving doubters wrong is now a Hall of Famer.

Doug Flutie was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday in his first year of eligibility, joining Ahmad Rashad and 10 other players honored by the National Football Foundation.

The 5-foot-10 (barely) Flutie won the Heisman Trophy in 1984 for Boston College and threw one of the most memorable passes in college football history. His 48-yard touchdown pass to Gerard Phelan as time expired gave the Eagles a 47-45 victory over Miami. The desperation 'Hail Flutie' toss and the sight of him leaping in the air as he sprinted down field to celebrate with his teammates has become timeless.

"I guess I did more than just throw one pass," Flutie said during a news conference at a Manhattan hotel to announce the newest Hall of Fame class.

Did he ever. Flutie threw for 10,579 yards in his college career and led BC to a 10-2 record and Cotton Bowl victory during his Heisman season.

"It's my whole life of being the little guy and having a little chip on my shoulder, from year to year trying to prove myself, and at the end of the day to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame is very special honor for me," he said.

Flutie was elected with Rashad, a star receiver and running back at Oregon, and former Dartmouth linebacker Reggie Williams.

The other new Hall of Famers are: Oklahoma center Tom Brahaney, Michigan defensive back Dave Brown, Clemson linebacker Jeff Davis, Texas defensive back Johnnie Johnson, Ohio State quarterback Rex Kern, Indiana running back Anthony Thompson, Houston defensive tackle Wilson Whitley, Southern California linebacker Richard Wood and Notre Dame defensive tackle Chris Zorich.

Herb Deromedi, who won 110 games as coach at Central Michigan over 13 seasons, also was elected.

The latest class will be inducted at the National Football Foundation's awards banquet in December and enshrined at the Hall in South Bend, Ind., during the summer of 2008.

Penn State coach Joe Paterno, elected last year, will be inducted and enshrined with this year's class. Paterno's induction was postponed last year because he was still recovering after breaking his leg during a game against Wisconsin in November.

Flutie was fueled by all those who said he was too small to succeed. One conversation with an Ohio State assistant coach stands out.

"He said, 'Let's face it, you're not a Division I quarterback. You're a good athlete, we might find you a place to play,' " Flutie said. "I always think back to that."

Flutie again faced doubters in the NFL. He started his pro career in the USFL and found his greatest professional success in the CFL, where he was a six-time player of the year. Earlier this week, Flutie became the first non-Canadian elected to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.

While he never became an NFL star, he did become a starter and ended up playing 12 seasons with four teams. Flutie called his election to the College Football Hall of Game "the biggest honor that I've ever received so far in my life."

Rashad was known as Bobby Moore during his college career at Oregon, where he played running back and wide receiver and was a three-time all-Pac-8 selection (1969-71). He went on to play 11 seasons in the NFL, his best years with the Minnesota Vikings

"This is sort of the culmination of all the people that you work with in college," said Rashad, who's had a long and successful broadcasting career, mostly covering the NBA. "We all came together at the University of Oregon as 17-, 18-year-old kids and hopefully left as better, responsible, more mature adults. Standing here today, I'm representing my college team."

Williams, who still holds the Dartmouth record for unassisted tackles in a career, is the first black player from the Ivy League elected to the Hall of Fame.

"You rarely hear the words African-American, athlete and intelligent in the same sentence, and so for all the great African-American athletes &

both in the Ivy League and out &

it is an opportunity to talk about the esteem of a scholar-athlete," Williams said. "For kids, the benefits of a great education will far exceed the intangibles of playing any sport."

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