This Day in College Football History – January 5th

Warrick Dunn (born January 5, 1975) is a former running back who played for twelve seasons. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12th overall in the 1997 NFL Draft, after playing college football at Florida State. Dunn was named AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1997 and earned three Pro Bowl selections in his career. After his playing career, Dunn took a minority stake in the Falcons’ ownership group led by Arthur Blank. At Catholic High in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Dunn played quarterback, cornerback, and running back. During his sophomore year he helped lead Catholic High to the state 4A championship game for the first time in its history. He was an All-America honorable mention selection by USA Today as a senior. On January 7, 1993, Dunn’s mother, Betty Smothers, an off-duty police officer escorting a businesswoman to a bank to make a night deposit, was ambushed and killed by armed robbers. Three men were sent to prison for the murder, and two remain on death row. Dunn, two days after his 18th birthday, became the head of his family and raised his siblings. Dunn met with one of the convicted men at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in 2007.

Dunn enjoyed a successful college career at Florida State University, graduating in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in information studies. He holds several Florida State rushing records including the marks for most career rushing yards (3,959) and most rushing yards in a season (1,418) set in 1995. Dunn is the only Seminole to rush for over 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. He was a three time All-ACC selection. Dunn’s jersey, along with those of other Seminoles players such as Fred Biletnikoff, Ron Sellers, Ron Simmons, Charlie Ward, Deion Sanders, and Chris Weinke, has been retired by the university. His number (28) may still be worn by Seminole players (it is now worn by Nigel Terrell), but his jersey will be displayed in the Moore Athletic Center at FSU. He also won a National Championship in 1993 with Florida State.

Warrick Dunn was also an accomplished track and field star, named as an Associated Press All-American as a member of Florida State’s Men’s 4x100m relay team. Dunn competed on the Seminoles’ Track & Field team as a sprinter during all four years he was enrolled at Florida State. His personal best in the 100 meters is 10.3 seconds.  Dunn was selected in the first round of the 1997 NFL Draft with the 12th overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his rookie season Dunn made an immediate impact for the Buccaneers squad. As the year finished he was selected to the NFC Pro Bowl team and was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year. Dunn spent the next four years of his career in Tampa Bay where he was named to the Pro Bowl twice (1997, 2000).

A free agent in the 2002 offseason, Dunn signed with the Atlanta Falcons. Once again, he made a positive impact on his team with 9 total TDs and in that year, he led the league with a 5.4 yards per carry average. Dunn scored the most rushing touchdowns in his career, 9, in the 2004 season despite splitting carries with T.J. Duckett and also led the team in rushing with 1,106 yards. Having led his team in rushing yards again in 2005, Dunn was named the NFC’s Pro Bowl team, marking his third selection to the team. For his career, Dunn has only missed 10 games and has a total of 2,256 carries for 9,461 yards 43 touchdowns and a 4.2 average. Dunn finished his first 10 seasons with over 1,000 combined rushing and receiving yards. During the 2007 season, with Falcons starting quarterback Byron Leftwich out with a high ankle sprain, Dunn served as the third string emergency quarterback behind Joey Harrington and Chris Redman, a position he played in high school. On March 3, 2008, the Falcons released Dunn per his request. This came a day after the Falcons signed former San Diego Chargers backup running back Michael Turner. On December 17, 2009 he became a minority owner of the Atlanta Falcons.

Dunn established the Homes for the Holidays (HFTH) program in 1997, and started Warrick Dunn Charities (WDC) in 2002 as a way to grow programs and services. The HFTH program rewards single-parent families for reaching first-time homeownership. HFTH recipient families are chosen through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity affiliates and WDC with complete home furnishings and down-payment assistance. As of July 2012, HFTH has assisted over 115 single parents and over 300 dependents in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Tampa and Tallahassee. By providing families with a positive home environment, WDC believes that children can thrive educationally, socially and economically. Dunn’s achievements have been recognized over the years. He received a Giant Steps Award in civic leadership from former President Bill Clinton for his program. In 2005, Dunn was presented with the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award; named after the Chicago Bears running back who died in 1999, the award is the only NFL award that recognizes a player for his community service as well as for his excellence on the field. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Dunn challenged all NFL players, except for those who play for the New Orleans Saints, to donate at least $5,000 to the effort. The effort received over $5 million in contributions. In 2007, Dunn, along with Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Jeff Gordon, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Andrea Jaeger, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mario Lemieux, Alonzo Mourning and Cal Ripken, Jr., founded Athletes for Hope, a charitable organization that helps professional athletes, sports industry professionals and fans get involved in charitable causes. For his exceptional involvement on and off the field, Dunn was awarded with the 2009 Bart Starr Award. He also received a Jefferson Award for Outstanding Athlete in Service and Philanthropy in 2011.

Tracy Ham (born January 5, 1965) is a retired Canadian Football League quarterback for the Edmonton Eskimos, Toronto Argonauts, Baltimore Stallions, and the Montreal Alouettes. He was known for his abilities as a dual threat quarterback. In his college career with Georgia Southern he became the first quarterback to rush for 3,000 yards and pass for 5,000 yards in a career. After his college days he signed with the Edmonton Eskimos in 1987 serving as the third string quarterback behind Matt Dunigan and Damon Allen and was a member of their Grey Cup winning team that season. With the departure of Dunigan to the BC Lions and injuries to Allen, Ham established himself the their new starting quarterback. He passed for 2840 yards and ran for another 628. In 1989 he won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player Award in leading the Eskimos to a 16-2 record, throwing for 4366 yards on 268 completions out of 517 attempts with 30 touchdowns to 18 interceptions. Plus Ham became the first CFL passer to rush for over 1000 yards with 1005 on 125 carries and with 10 touchdowns. Unfortunately for the Eskimos they lost the division final to the 9-9 Saskatchewan Roughriders, who went on to win the Grey Cup.

In 1990 Ham added another 1000 yard rushing season with 1096 and passed for 4286 yards leading the Eskimos to the Grey Cup. However the team was handily beaten by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 55-10. The next year Ham ran for 998 yards and passed for 3862. Ham endured an injury plagued season in 1992 but played well enough to pass for 3655 yards and to run for 655. He moved on to the Toronto Argonauts for 1993 and suffered through a 3-15 record. He threw for only 2147 yards and ran for 605, struggling to adapt to the Run & Shoot offense. With the CFL expanding into the United States, Ham joined the Baltimore team in 1994. He gained his last plus 4000 yard passing season with 4348 and ran for 613 yards. Ham led the team, not yet named the Stallions, to the Grey Cup, where they were defeated by the Lions. Finally, in 1995, Ham led the Stallions to the only Grey Cup win by a US-based team in a 37-20 defeat of the Calgary Stampeders; he won Grey Cup MVP honours for his efforts. In the regular season he passed for only 3357 yards and ran for 610. With the demise of the US-based teams, the core of the Stallions franchise was transferred to Montreal where they became the third incarnation of the Alouettes. The team’s offense was geared to the running attack, especially when Mike Pringle returned from the NFL midway through the 1996 season. Ham would spend two seasons as the clear-cut starting quarterback, but in 1998 he began to share passing duties with Anthony Calvillo and he retired after the 1999 season. In his career from 1987 to 1999 Ham accumulated 40,534 passing yards which currently ranks seventh all-time. He threw 4943 times with 2670 completions, 164 interceptions and 284 touchdowns. His 8043 rushing yards presently puts him in tenth all time and second among quarterbacks, behind only Damon Allen. He tallied 1059 carries with 62 touchdowns. In 2007 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and in 2010 into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

 

 

Hube Wagner (January 5, 1891 – March 1 1979) was a football player who played college football at the University of Pittsburgh from 1910 until 1913. Prior to arriving at Pitt, Wagner had been hailed by the media for being one of Pennsylvania’s most versatile football players while performing at Monaca High School. He soon made Pitt’s varsity squad as a freshman, playing end. That season Pitt posted a 9-0 record. Because of Hube’s ability to play virtually any position, Pitt’s coach Joe Thompson developed him into a utility player. Although Wagner was primarily used as an end, Thompson used him at every other position except quarterback. In 1913, Wagner captained the Pitt team and received All-American honors. After graduation he became a prominent surgeon in Pittsburgh until his retirement in 1975. Hube served twelve years on Pitt’s Board of Trustees. In 1915 he was recruited by Jack Cusack, the manager of the Canton Bulldogs to play for the Bulldogs against their rivals the Massillon Tigers. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1973.

 

Arnold Tucker (born January 5, 1924) is a retired United States Air Force officer who graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1947. While lettering twice in football, Tucker was a part of three national championship squads (1944, 1945, 1946) on the gridiron. He earned first team all-America honors in 1946 after garnering second team laurels in 1945. After serving as Army’s starting quarterback in 1945 and 1946, Tucker finished fifth in the 1946 Heisman Trophy balloting in 1946, behind teammates Glenn Davis and Felix “Doc” Blanchard among others. During his two years as a starter, Tucker guided the Black Knights to a combined 18-0-1 record, while Army went 27-0-1 during his three years as a team member. Tucker passed for 618 yards and nine touchdowns in 1946 and also registered a school-record eight interceptions as a defensive back that year. He still shares the single-season Academy record for interceptions and stands second on Army’s career list with 11. Tucker, who was selected to participate in the 1947 College All-star Game played in Chicago, also returned punts and kickoffs for the Black Knights.

Tucker lettered twice and served as team captain during his senior year on the basketball team. LTC Tucker retired from the US Air Force after a distinguished career in 1974. A former University of Miami and Army star, Tucker played at Miami High in his youth and was a legend there. He won the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation’s best amateur athlete in 1947 and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He currently resides in the Miami area.

 

 

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