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.
I, because major college coaches said he wasn't big enough, said all he wanted was a chance.
I gave me a chance to do it.''
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 said.
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 Valley State.
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.
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