SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Doug Flutie, John Randle and Reggie
Williams all faced a similar obstacle en route to being enshrined
in the College Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night: all three
were told they weren't good enough to play.
Williams was told by Michigan coach Bo Schembechler he couldn't
cut it with the Wolverines and by a guidance counselor he wasn't
smart enough to go to Dartmouth. The Dartmouth grad said such
statements provided him with inspiration.
"That becomes a lifestyle reaction," said Williams, who went
on to play with the Cincinnati Bengals.
John Randle, who played defensive end at Texas A&I, because
major college coaches said he wasn't big enough, said all he wanted
was a chance.
"I was a guy everyone overlooked. No one thought I could put
the weight on," said Randle, who later gained fame playing for the
Minnesota Vikings. "Getting to Texas A&I gave me a chance to do
Flutie, who won the 1984 Heisman Trophy, had been told
repeatedly that he wasn't good enough to play at the major college
level. He said before the banquet he text messaged Barry Gallup,
who recruited him to Boston College with a simple message: "Thanks
for giving me the opportunity."
Penn State coach Joe Paterno talked about what a great game
college football is.
"I think we're all very privileged to belong to something that
is as meaningful to young people as college football," he said.
Earlier Saturday, Paterno admitted to reporters that it was a
bit odd that he was being enshrined while still an active coach.
"I'd rather do it now than when I'm dead," he quipped.
Paterno, whose 372-125-3 career record places him one victory
behind Bobby Bowden, the major college leader, said he was
flattered by the honor.
"I appreciate the fact that people have said, 'Hey, you've been
an asset to college football and we want to acknowledge that,"' he
Paterno said his goal throughout his career has been to do
what's best for the game and Penn State.
"I've tried to be good for college football. I'm not saying
I've been the best coach. But I've worked hard to be good because I
really love college football," he said.
Also enshrined were Mount Union quarterback Jim Ballard;
Oklahoma center Tom Brahaney; Michigan defensive back Dave Brown;
Clemson linebacker Jeff Davis; Texas defensive back Johnnie
Johnson; Ohio State quarterback Rex Kern; North Alabama linebacker
Ronald McKinnon; Oregon running back Ahmad Rashad; McMurry halfback Brad Rowland; Indiana running back Anthony Thompson; Houston defensive tackle Wilson Whitley; Southern California linebacker
Richard Wood and Notre Dame nose tackle Chris Zorich.
Coaches being enshrined along with Paterno are Central Michigan
coach Herb Deromedi, Jackson State coach W.C. Gorden, and Doug
Porter, who coached at Mississippi Valley State, Howard and Fort
Zorich said hanging out with fellow honorees is like being a fan
who sneaked into the locker room of his favorite team.
"It's really a mind-blowing experience," he said.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)