Earlier today, the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame announced the Football Bowl Subdivision class of 2013, and former Buckeye Orlando Pace will one of the 12 First-Team All-America players and two legendary coaches that will be inducted at the 56th National Football Foundation annual awards dinner on December 10, 2013 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.
Pace, a 6-foot-7, 325-pound offensive tackle from Sandusky, Ohio, played at Ohio State under former head coach John Cooper from 1994-96. Starting as a true freshman in the season-opener against Rice, Pace was named the 1994 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
From there, Pace won several more awards including being named a consesnus First-Team All-American in 1995 and 1996, and won the Lombardi Award for the best college lineman or linebacker in both years, as well.
Following his junior year, Pace garnered even more accolades winning the Outland Trophy for the best college football interior lineman, the Jim Parker Trophy given yearly to the top collegiate offensive lineman, and was named the UPI Lineman of the Year following the 1996 season. Pace also finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting that season behind Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel, Iowa State running back Troy Davis, and Arizona State quarterback Jake Plummer.
Of course, we all know that Pace and his Buckeyes got the best of Plummer and his Sun Devils when Ohio State defeated Arizona State, 20-17, in the 1997 Rose Bowl.
Pace was known as the “Pancake Man” because he would knock defensive players flat on his back following a “pancake block.”
Leaving Columbus after his junior year, Pace was the No. 1 overall selection by the St. Louis Rams in the 1997 NFL Draft.
Once a professional, he continued to dominate as a player. In eight seasons with the Rams, Pace was named to the Pro Bowl seven times (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005), and was a five-time All-Pro (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004).
During the 1999 season, Pace was the starting left tackle protecting the blind side for quarterback Kurt Warner as the Rams went on to defeat the Tennessee Titans, 23-16, in Super Bowl XXXIV at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
In 2009, Pace signed with the Chicago Bears and started the first 11 games before a groin injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season. The Bears later released Pace in March of 2010.
Interesting note, there currently isn’t a physical building that houses the College Football Hall of Fame. Unlike the Pro Football Hall of Fame that has been at the same location in Canton, Ohio, since its inception in 1963, the College version has been located several places.
Originally slated to be near the Rutgers campus in New Jersey and the site of the first college football game, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame opened near Kings Island amusement park north of Cincinnati in 1972.
The College Football Hall of Fame lasted 22 years at that location in Kings Mills, Ohio, before moving in 1995 to downtown South Bend, Indiana. That location closed at the end of 2012. A new College Football Hall of Fame is set to open near Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta next year.
2013 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS
· TED BROWN – TB, North Carolina State (1975-78)
· TEDY BRUSCHI – DE, Arizona (1992-95)
· RON DAYNE – RB, Wisconsin (1996-99)
· TOMMIE FRAZIER – QB, Nebraska (1992-95)
· JERRY GRAY – DB, Texas (1981-84)
· STEVE MEILINGER* – E, Kentucky (1951-53)
· ORLANDO PACE – OT, Ohio State (1994-96)
· ROD SHOATE (deceased) – LB, Oklahoma (1972-74)
· PERCY SNOW – LB, Michigan State (1986-89)
· VINNY TESTAVERDE – QB, Miami, Fla. (1982, 1984-86)
· DON TRULL – QB, Baylor (1961-63)
· DANNY WUERFFEL – QB, Florida (1993-96)
* Selection from the FBS Veterans Committee
· WAYNE HARDIN – 118-74-5 (61.2%); Navy (1959-64) and Temple (1970-82)
· BILL McCARTNEY – 93-55-5 (62.4%); Colorado (1982-94)