|Emmitt Smith among 20 enshrined into College Hall of Fame|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 21 July 2007 10:30|
``You dream of national championships and the Heisman,'' he said Saturday. ``This was something never in your vision.''
He never won a national championship or Heisman, leaving Florida after his junior year, but was enshrined Saturday into the hall along with 19 former college players and coaches. Among those also honored were former Outland Trophy winners Steve Emtman of Washington, Chad Hennings of Air Force, Bruce Smith of Virginia Tech and former Heisman Trophy winners Charlie Ward of Florida State and Mike Rozier of Nebraska.
Florida State coach Bobby Bowden also was enshrined under a new rule that allows those who are 75 and still coaching to be inducted.
Emmitt Smith, the NFL's career rushing leader, said the ceremonies Saturday brought back fond memories. His favorite was his first start in the third game of his freshman season. He started the season as the Gators' third-string tailback and carried the ball just 15 times in the first two games.
He then ran for a school-record 224 yards and two touchdowns as the Gators upset 11th-ranked Alabama 23-14, ending an eight-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide.
``It was a great start,'' he said.
Smith had a great career, rushing for 1,599 yards as a junior, finishing seventh for the Heisman, and gaining 3,928 yards rushing in three seasons. Smith said the thing he liked best about college football is ``it's the purest form of football.''
``No pay. You just play,'' he said. ``You're motivated not only by an educational standpoint and motivated to win, but you're motivated to showcase your talents so you can position yourself at the next level. At the NFL level you have to be self-motivated. Sometimes when you're given a lot, it's hard to self-motivate. You have to find ways to be self-motivated.''
Members of the enshrinement class took part in a parade on Saturday, then played a flag football game in front of the hall and gave a youth football clinic before the evening banquet. Hennings said the highlight for him was the flag football game.
``It was a lot of fun,'' he said. ``It was neat to see the melding of different generations coming to enjoy a sport, and the fans who enjoyed it.''
Ward, who played 11 years in the NBA, called being enshrined was a ``blessing,'' especially because he was enshrined with his former coach. He said he's especially proud he was able to be a two-sport athlete.
``I was fortunate enough to be able to use my gifts to the utmost and enjoy my experiences when I was doing it,'' he said. ``I think I got the most out of my potential.''
Rozier, who doesn't follow football much now, said it was great to recall his college days.
``Those are good memories. That was the best time of my life,'' he said. ``Going to school and having fun, getting away from home and growing up. I think it was the best time of my life.''
Emtman said he was amazed to be enshrined into the hall.
``The words 'College Football Hall of Famer' say it all,'' he said. ``You tell people the Hall of Fame and you know you've accomplished something.''