Another great class entering the Hall
Published 10:37 am Wednesday, April 7, 2004
Whenever I receive the names of the future inductees of the College Football Hall of Fame I am always amazed at the names on that list.
Tuesday afternoon those names arrived and it was yet another stellar class of Division I-A players.
While I marvel at the names on the list it also reminds me just how old I really am.
I remember some of these guys playing in college and almost all of them playing in the National Football League.
This year's list of inductees includes Tony Casillas of Oklahoma, Ray Guy of Southern Mississippi, Joe Kapp of California, James Mandich of Michigan, Lydell Mitchell of Penn State, Tracy Rocker of Auburn, Jack Tatum of Ohio Sate, Andre Ware of Houston and Charles White of USC.
Also on the list are Bob P. Anderson of Army, Frank Emanuel of Tennessee, Wayne Harris of Arkansas and coaches LaVell Edwards of BYU and George Welsh, who coached at both Navy and Virginia.
Of all the names on that list, I remember Joe Kapp and Jack Tatum the most.
Two tougher football players you will never find.
Kapp seemed to get beat up every Sunday for the Minnesota Vikings, but always seemed to get up, stagger back to the huddle and take the next snap.
On a team that was known more for its defense with the "Purple People Eaters," Kapp stood out for the Vikings.
And what can you say about Tatum?
Playing for the Raiders, Tatum was as hard a hitting defensive back as you will find.
Many people remember Ronnie Lott as being one of the hardest hitters in the NFL, but let me tell you, he was nothing compared to Tatum.
Tatum will be best remembered for being part of the "Immaculate Reception."
Many still believe that the ball didn't hit Tatum first before being caught just inches off the artificial turf by Franco Harris.
Oakland fans have long stood by the belief that it hit Steelers' running back Frenchy Fuqua.
Regardless, the "Immaculate Reception" will go down as perhaps the greatest single play in NFL history and Tatum will always be a part of that moment.
The 2004 class of the College Football Hall of Fame will be inducted at the 47th annual awards dinner in New York on Dec. 7.
The group will then be officially enshrined in August of 2005 in South Bend, Ind.
If you ever get a chance to attend the enshrinement ceremonies at the Hall of Fame in South Bend, do so.
I have been to several of them, although not in the past few years.
Not only do you get to see some of the legends of the game, but more than likely will get a chance to meet them in person and at least shake their hands.
It is also a great way to keep the history of this great game alive by taking your sons and daughters and letting them see first hand these great players.
Scott Novak is sports editor of the Dowagiac Daily News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org