Nebraska great Tommie Frazier is among 14 players and coaches who are part of the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame class. This year’s list of inductees was announced on Tuesday in New York City by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
Frazier will become the 16th Nebraska player in the College Football Hall of Fame, along with six former Cornhusker coaches. He and the other members of the 2013 Hall of Fame class will officially be inducted in New York City on Dec. 10. Frazier earned induction into the College Hall of Fame in his third year on the ballot. He is the third Husker in the past five years to be named to the Hall, joining 2009 inductee Grant Wistrom and 2011 honoree Will Shields.
Frazier is the first Nebraska quarterback to be selected for the College Football Hall of Fame. The Bradenton, Fla., native was a four-year starter at quarterback for the Huskers from 1992 to 1995, guiding Nebraska to three straight national title games in his final three seasons, including national championships in 1994 and 1995. Frazier posted a 33-3 record as a starting quarterback for the Huskers.
“This is quite an honor,” Frazier said. “You never play the game and think you are going to be in the Hall of Fame one day. You just go out and try to be the best you can be and whatever happens, happens. I was fortunate that good things happened, but it certainly was not me alone. I had great teammates and coaches that played a big part in this honor.
“If we had not won all those games and two national championships, I wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. I was surrounded by great players at every position, and many of those guys had great careers themselves. I did have the role of being a coach on the field, but the guys around me made that much easier. With the supporting cast we had on offense, many times regardless of whether I had us in the right play or wrong play, they made it work.”
Frazier joins his Nebraska head coach, Tom Osborne, in the College Football Hall of Fame. Osborne was inducted into the Hall in 1998, immediately following his retirement. Osborne said Frazier had all the characteristics of a great player and competitor.
“Tommie was an outstanding competitor,” Osborne said. “He did everything he could to win, and was a good leader by example. He expected a lot out of himself and the people around him. He was an outstanding leader and catalyst and made everyone around him better. Tommie managed the game very well, and was a natural option quarterback. He had a good sense of timing, when to pitch, when not to pitch. He had excellent balance, good speed and was very strong.
“Tommie was better prepared to start as a freshman than any quarterback we had. That’s not easy to do, but he was unusually mature and competitive. He had played at a high level in front of big crowds in high school, so going out and playing in a major college game was not intimidating to him.”
Frazier was the first true freshman ever to start at quarterback for Nebraska, taking the reins of the offense midway through the 1992 season. He went on to lead Osborne’s Huskers through one of the most dominant runs in college football history from 1993 to 1995.
Frazier completed his career with 5,476 yards of total offense, while accounting for 79 touchdowns, including 43 passing scores and another 36 on the ground.
As a freshman in 1992, Frazier led Nebraska to a Big Eight title and a trip to the Orange Bowl. A year later in 1993, Frazier engineered Nebraska to a perfect 11-0 regular season. In the Orange Bowl against Florida State, Nebraska narrowly lost out on a national championship, losing 18-16 to the Seminoles.
Frazier’s junior season in 1994 was disrupted by injury, but he returned from a seven-game absence to direct the Huskers to a come-from-behind Orange Bowl win over Miami. The 24-17 victory locked up Nebraska’s first national title in 23 seasons.
As a senior, Frazier led one of the most explosive offenses in college football history, as Nebraska steamrolled its way to a 12-0 record and a second consecutive national championship. Frazier rushed for 604 yards on 14 touchdowns on just 97 attempts, while throwing for 17 touchdowns, with only four interceptions. With Frazier at the helm, the 1995 Nebraska offense led the nation in scoring (52.4 ppg), rushing (399.8 ypg) and ranked second in total offense (556.3 ypg).
Frazier capped his remarkable career with one of the finest performances ever in a national championship game. In a 62-24 rout of Florida in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Frazier rushed 16 times for 199 yards and two touchdowns, including a memorable 75-yard scamper in the third quarter to punctuate the Nebraska victory.
As a senior, eight organizations recognized Frazier as a first-team All-American, including the AP, UPI, Walter Camp, Football Writers Association of America, American Football Quarterly, College Sports, Football Foundation and AFCA. Frazier captured the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting, received the UPI’s Player-of-the-Year and The Sporting News Offensive Player-of-the-Year awards, and was a finalist for the Davey O’Brien, Maxwell and Walter Camp Player-of-the-Year awards.
Frazier was voted as the quarterback of Nebraska’s All-Century Team and was voted as one of the 10 greatest college football players of the century according to Sport Magazine. Frazier’s jersey was retired in the fall of 1996, and he was inducted in the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1996.
Additional quotes from Tommie Frazier:
On joining Coach Osborne in the College Hall of Fame:
“It means a lot to me to join him in the College Hall of Fame. There aren’t many players that can say that. Coach Osborne took a big chance on me as a freshman in 1992. He saw something in me to give me the keys to the car, and for him to trust me with our offense meant a lot to me.”
On being the first Nebraska quarterback named to College Hall of Fame:
“There have been a lot of great Nebraska quarterbacks before me, guys like Jerry Tagge, Dave Humm, Vince Ferragamo, Turner Gill, Steve Taylor. For me to be the first of that group is a quite an honor. Turner Gill is more deserving than me to be the first Nebraska quarterback in the Hall of Fame because he taught me everything I know. Eric Crouch is also very deserving of the honor and hopefully his time will come soon.”
On support of Nebraska fans through the years:
“The support of the fans in Nebraska has been constant. The past two years when I didn’t get selected I wasn’t worried because you can only control what you can control. I appreciated all the fan support I received though. That means a lot because I wasn’t out there to play for myself. I played for the fans, my family, my coaches and my teammates.”
Quote from Liberty Head Coach Turner Gill, Frazier's position coach at Nebraska:
“Tommie was the ultimate competitor, leader and champion that I have ever coached. He demonstrated this from the first day at practice through the last football snap that he ever took at Nebraska.”