Former Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, one of 14 players and three coaches announced Tuesday.
Kramer was one of only two quarterbacks in college football history to earn consensus All-America honors for a sub-.500 team since 1970. He finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting in 1976 before the Vikings selected him in the first round (27th overall) of the 1977 NFL Draft. He becomes the sixth Rice Owl to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus All-American in 1976, Kramer led the nation with 3,317 passing yards and 3,272 yards of total offense, both marks that ranked second in NCAA single-season history at the time. The 1976 Southwest Conference Player of the Year became the first player in league history to top 3,000 yards of total offense in a single season while also recording four of the top eight passing performances in SWC history.
He is one of five players in the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame class that was a conference player of the year, joining RB Charles Alexander (LSU, 1975-78), RB Otis Armstrong (Purdue, 1970-72), WR Hal Bedsole (USC 1961-63), TE Dave Casper (Notre Dame, 1971-73), QB Ty Detmer (BYU, 1988-91), WR Art Monk (Syracuse, 1976-79), DB Greg Myers (Colorado State, 1992-95), OT Jonathan Ogden (UCLA, 1992-95), DT Gabe Rivera (Texas Tech, 1979-82), LB Mark Simeneau (Kansas State, 1996-99), S Scott Thomas (Air Force, 1982-85) and OG John Wooten (Colorado, 1956-58) as the 14 players to be inducted.
Former coaches Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee, 1992-08), R.C. Slocum (Texas A&M, 1989-02) and Jimmy Johnson (Oklahoma State, 1979-83 and Miami, 1984-88) will also be inducted
The 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Class will be inducted at the 55th National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 4 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
With the Vikings, Kramer compiled 24,777 career passing yards and 159 touchdowns during 14 NFL seasons. He was named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year and earned his only Pro Bowl berth during the 1986 campaign.
At Rice, he held every career and single-season school record for passing and total offense for more than 30 years, and he led the Owls in passing all four years on campus.
In the 14-member class of players to be inducted, he was one of 11 consensus first-team All-Americans and one of seven first-round draft picks.
Kramer was chosen to the Rice Athletics Hall of Fame and also the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. He earned the nickname “Two-Minute Tommy” for executing multiple late-game comebacks with the Vikings. Kramer is still active with the Rice football program, returning to campus annually for the Huddle Up football reunion and serving as the Owls’ honorary captain on numerous occasions.
Casper and Bedsole also spent time with the Vikings.
Bedsole was drafted by the Vikings and the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs in 1964 and played three seasons in Minnesota. He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001 and helped College Football Hall of Fame coach John McKay and USC win the 1962 national championship. He becomes the 30th Trojan to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
Casper played in 10 games with the Vikings in 1984, toward the end of his 11-year NFL career. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
Including the 2012 class, only 914 players and 197 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 4.86 million who have played or coached the game over the past 143 years. That’s only two one-hundredths of one percent (.0002) of the individuals who have played the game.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.