Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators' Wilber Marshall inducted into College Football Hall of Fame

UF’s Wilber Marshall, who now lives in Virginia assisting the National Kidney Foundation, enjoys the Hall of Fame parade.

Associated Press

UF’s Wilber Marshall, who now lives in Virginia assisting the National Kidney Foundation, enjoys the Hall of Fame parade.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Wilber Marshall joined the Gators as a tight end, but the switch to linebacker carried him all the way into a special blazer at Saturday's induction ceremony at the College Football Hall of Fame.

The day's biggest applause went to for former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz as he and Marshall joined a class with 19 others including former UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman, Oklahoma State running back Thurman Thomas, Arizona State guard and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Randall McDaniel and coach John Cooper.

"It's a prestigious thing for us players because it's different from the NFL," Marshall, who played at UF from 1980 to 1983, told the South Bend Tribune. "You can't be a bad person to get into this … and I think that's the way it should be."

After then-coach Charley Pell put Marshall's athleticism on the defensive side of the ball, the reluctant-at-first linebacker broke Florida's single-season records for sacks (11) and tackles for loss (27) as a sophomore. He had 58 tackles for loss during his career and finished with 23 sacks and 343 tackles, 210 solo. He was a finalist for the Lombardi Award for the nation's top lineman or linebacker twice. Marshall, 47, one of five members of the Gators' Ring of Honor at Florida Field, has two Super Bowl rings (1985 Bears, 1991 Redskins).

Holtz took over six struggling programs and turned them into bowl teams within two years. He led the Irish to their last national title in 1988. Holtz, 72, said the key is to have a plan, hold people accountable and believe it can be done. "You have to get people to make good decisions. Wherever you are in life, good or bad, it's because of the choices you make. … We had a plan, a vision and we wouldn't compromise," he said.

Thomas, 43, holds the OSU record with 4,595 rushing yards and went to four Super Bowls with the Bills but joked his biggest accomplishment might have been keeping Barry Sanders on the bench for two years. "I practiced real hard and kept giving my coach a lot of money," he said.

Cooper, 72, who coached at Ohio State, Arizona State and Tulsa, said that as a young assistant he went to coaching conventions hoping to catch a glimpse of Woody Hayes, Ara Parseghian, Bo Schembechler and Bear Bryant. "It's a humbling experience to be in that group," he said.

Former LSU tailback Billy Cannon was enshrined 26 years after he was first elected. The 1959 Heisman winner was chosen in 1983, but the honor was rescinded after he was arrested on federal counterfeiting charges. He served 2½ years in prison. "I thank the people who voted for me initially, and I really thank the people who voted for me the second time," said Cannon, 71, who is now the dental director at the Louisiana State Penitentiary.

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.

Florida Gators' Wilber Marshall inducted into College Football Hall of Fame 07/18/09 [Last modified: Sunday, July 19, 2009 12:01am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Kids still playing for all the marbles — literally

    Human Interest

    In this world of pompous athletes, overbearing coaches, money-grubbing owners and a win-at-all-costs mindset, it's easy to become jaded.

    Eli Murphy, right, leans in to give Sierra Ricci the traditional king and queen kiss at the National Marbles Championship in Wildwood, N.J. Both of Allegheny County Pa., they won the girls and boys championship of the 94th annual National Marbles Tournament. [Associated Press]
  2. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  3. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  4. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    fit test: Top draft pick Cal Foote puts on his Lightning jersey.
  5. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Matt Duffy is expected to resume his baseball activities once the stitches heal.