The latest class of college football Hall of Famers is loaded with players from the state and bay area.
The 14 players and two coaches inducted include Deion Sanders (he sometimes spelled it $anders), a cornerback during a powerhouse 1985-88 period at FSU; Carlos Alvarez, a UF receiver from 1969-71 who still holds school records for receptions in a season (88), receptions in a game (15) and career receiving yards (2,563); and Marty Lyons from St. Petersburg Catholic, who was a standout defensive tackle at Alabama from 1975-78.
"Speechless,'' said Alvarez, 61, who was born in Havana and nicknamed the "Cuban Comet."
Lyons, 54, choked up talking about the deadly tornados that hit Alabama last month. "Right now they're going through a difficult time in their life," he said. "But come Dec. 6 I'm going to put them all on my back and we're going to get inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame."
Some other notables: Lloyd Carr, who won 75 percent of his games and the 1997 national championship in 13 seasons coaching Michigan; defensive tackle Russell Maryland, who helped Miami win two national titles from 1986-90; and Georgia defensive back Jake Scott, who went on to star for the 1972 undefeated Dolphins. (Full list, 3C)
Tommie Frazier said he was "not losing any sleep'' after not getting elected in his first year. The quarterback from Bradenton led Nebraska to perfect seasons and national championships in 1994 (beating Miami) and '95 (beating UF).
* * *
USF adds ex-Gator
TAMPA - USF coach Skip Holtz confirmed that former Florida receiver Chris Dunkley joined the Bulls on scholarship as a transfer. "We're really excited to have Chris join the program," Holtz said. "He's very talented."
Dunkley, a five-star recruit out of Pahokee in 2009 who redshirted in his only season at Florida, will sit out the 2011 season as required and have three years of eligibility with the Bulls.
Another former Florida recruit, freshman running back Mike Blakely, is making a formal visit to USF this weekend, his Manatee High coach said.
more football: After a spending scandal, the NCAA will let the Fiesta Bowl keeps its license on a one-year probationary basis. Also, the bowl wants Arizona politicians, including U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl, to return $48,225.17 in campaign contributions that the bowl reimbursed employees for making. ... The family of a former Mississippi player filed a wrongful death suit against the school, coach Houston Nutt and the NCAA. Bennie Abram collapsed at a workout in 2010 and died from complications associated with sickle cell trait. ... Storm Johnson, projected to be Miami's third-string running back, is the fifth Hurricane to transfer this month.
Basketball: The Big Ten/ACC Challenge was announced. Highlights on Nov. 29 include Duke at Ohio State and Miami at Purdue, and on Nov. 30 FSU at Michigan State and Wisconsin at North Carolina. ... Valparaiso coach Homer Drew is retiring after 22 seasons and former Crusaders star Bryce Drew will replace him. Homer Drew won 640 games, seventh most among active coaches. Bryce Drew's buzzer-beater against Mississippi followed by a win over FSU took Valpo to the NCAA region semifinals in 1998. ... Division I women's games set an attendance record of 8,127,779.
Lowder off board: Powerful Auburn trustee Bobby Lowder, who in 28 years on the governing board was criticized by some of micromanaging sports programs to the point of interfering, will not seek another term.
Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.