Dayne elected to college football hall

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first_imgAfter being elected to the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 2011, Ron Dayne was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame Tuesday, joined in the 2013 class by three quarterbacks, Danny Wuerffel, Vinny Testaverde and Tommie Frazier.[/media-credit]Thirteen years after he took his final strides in a Wisconsin uniform, Ron Dayne remains inexorably linked to Badger football.He is one of only two University of Wisconsin alums to win college football’s most prized award, the Heisman Trophy. Dayne was twice a Rose Bowl champion and MVP and still stands as the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher with 7,125 yards to his name. Now, he is one of the newest members of the College Football Hall of Fame, earning the expected nod from the National Football Foundation Tuesday.Dayne had a toothy smile plastered on his face from the moment he sat down at a press conference Tuesday afternoon, wearing a polo emblazoned with the Motion ‘W’ he made famous. His former coach, Barry Alvarez, sat beside him. Alvarez was also a 2010 Hall of Fame inductee and is currently the UW athletic director.It was as if it was 1999 all over again, with the mentor and star embracing the spotlight after another Big Ten championship. “I can’t stop smiling,” Dayne said. “I’m excited and happy, especially for me and my teammates. We worked on it; we worked on it as a team.”The ultra-durable Dayne, who carried the ball more than 1,200 times over his four-year career as a Badger, was a bit delayed in learning he had added another achievement to his extensive resume.Although he received the white football inscribed with his name and the words “A Member of the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Class” Monday night, Dayne’s daughter tossed aside the package when she received it. It was not until this morning when people began asking if he had heard an official word that he finally solved the puzzle, holding the football for the first time just minutes before the congratulatory call from Alvarez.Despite his historic accolades, Dayne refused to assume he would be part of the Class of 2013 before he opened up that fateful package. It was more than staged modesty in a class that included two other Heisman winners, former Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde and former Florida signal-caller Danny Wuerffel.“It was just crazy that I was getting calls a couple days before, I guess because I was on the ballot,” Dayne said. “People were like, ‘Congratulations, congratulations.’ I’m like, ‘For what?’”To even be considered for a Hall of Fame spot, players must have received near-unanimous recognition as a first team All-American – something Dayne achieved in three of his four years – and must be 10 years removed from their last college football down. Players must also be retired from professional football.Dayne’s award puts him in rarified air, with less than 900 players and coaches claiming a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.“Over five million people have played college football,” Alvarez said. “There’s, like, less than 1 percent that have gone into the Hall of Fame; .02 percent of all the people that have played college football are in the Hall of Fame. That gives you the magnitude of this honor.”A true workhorse back with a bulldozing style, Dayne’s name remains firmly atop the leaderboard for career rushing yards, in large part because he carried the ball at least 260 times in each of his four years, twice surpassing the 300-carry mark.Pounding and slamming his way to 2,109 yards as a true freshman, his career high for yards in a season, Dayne was the central force behind the UW offense throughout his entire career. In today’s era, where the mileage put on running backs is so closely monitored, it could be decades before anyone challenges his career rushing record.“As we said, there are a lot of guys that played this game, and no one did what he did,” Alvarez said. “… I told a story in the meeting that there was a stretch when he was a true freshman, an 18-year-old freshman, he carried the ball 49 times, 51 times, 47 times (in three consecutive games). We played Minnesota when he was a freshman, he carried the ball the first 17 plays of the game.“So I think he goes down as one of the greats that ever played college football to this day.”While Wisconsin has been home to 22 consensus All-Americans, likely none of them had the same impact on the program as Dayne. Suiting up in the cardinal and white from 1996 through the 2000 Rose Bowl, it is no coincidence his career signaled the peak of Alvarez’s revival of the Badgers’ football program.His No. 33 jersey was retired in 2007. Joining the inscribed names of Alan Ameche (Wisconsin’s only other Heisman winner) and Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch  on the second deck at Camp Randall Stadium, Dayne played a vital role in vaulting the Badgers into a national brand.As Alvarez noted, Wisconsin football and Ron Dayne have become one. “I think anyone today that follows college football, when you mention Wisconsin, I think they picture Ron carrying the ball and us running the ball,” Alvarez said, adding the panel selected his former star by a unanimous vote. “I think that describes the brand of football that we established here, and that’s how everybody pictures it.”last_img

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On this Day: Video killed the radio star

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