ATLANTA (AP) — It’s been nearly 20 years, and Tommie Frazier is still trading jabs with Danny Wuerffel.
The former quarterbacks at Nebraska and Florida have plenty of goodwill for each other, too, as they’re enshrined Tuesday night in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Frazier and Wuerffel joined 10 former players and two coaches who make up last year’s hall of fame class.
Frazier led Nebraska to consecutive unbeaten national title seasons in 1994-95. He finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting as a senior.
Wuerffel won the 1996 Heisman and led the Gators to a national championship that season. The year before, Frazier led Nebraska to a lopsided victory over Florida in the title game matchup at the Fiesta Bowl.
“You play against some of these guys, or you have established friendships, and when it comes to university against university,” Frazier said, “you have so much pride for your school.”
Wuerffel said the “rivalry” with Frazier goes back to their prep days in the Sunshine State. He played at Fort Walton (Fla.) High. Frazier went to Manatee High in Bradenton.
For Wuerffel, who lives a few miles from downtown Atlanta and is executive director of a ministry that helps revitalize impoverished urban neighborhoods, the back-and-forth banter is constant.
He’s a Gator living in Georgia Bulldog country, and is a resident of a city that likes to bill itself as the new heart of college football.
The Hall of Fame relocated from South Bend, Indiana, and opened near Centennial Olympic Park in August. Just a couple blocks away, the Georgia Dome annually hosts the Southeastern Conference championship game, the Peach Bowl and an annual early season game between high profile programs.
Atlanta also is bidding to host the 2018 national title game at the Falcons’ new billion-dollar stadium, which is currently under construction.
“Getting enshrined not only in the Hall, but the fact that it’s in this community, is one of those things that transcends the sport,” Wuerffel said. “People may hate Florida and not like (coach Steve) Spurrier or me, but they’re going to honor you for what you did and brought to college football. That’s cool.”
The 2013 class includes Heisman winners Vinny Testaverde and Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne. Testaverde was not scheduled to attend the enshrinement ceremony.
Tailback Ted Brown of North Carolina State, offensive tackle Orlando Pace of Ohio State, defensive end Tedy Bruschi of Arizona, Texas defensive back Jerry Gray, Oklahoma linebacker Rod Shoate, Michigan State linebacker Percy Snow, Baylor quarterback Don Trull and Kentucky’s Steve Meilinger, who played offense and defense under coach Bear Bryant, are also getting enshrined.
The two coaches are Bill McCartney of Colorado and Wayne Hardin of Navy and Temple.
Dayne, drafted 11th overall by the New York Giants in 2000, retired from the NFL after playing in 2007 with Houston. He works for Wisconsin’s alumni association and returned to school a year and a half ago to complete his degree.
“It’s pretty easy,” Dayne said. “It’s not hard. I thought it might be difficult at first, but it wasn’t really hard.”
Though he’s taking classes with kids a generation younger, Dayne gets the occasional autograph request. But the NCAA’s career-leading rusher has certain stipulations.
“Only at the end of the year or at Christmas time or something like that,” Dayne said.
Brown, who still holds Atlantic Coast Conference records for yards rushing and touchdowns, lives in Minnesota after getting drafted in the first round of 1979 and playing eight seasons for the Vikings.
Working as a juvenile probation officer in St. Paul, Brown was delighted to be inducted with 2013 class — even if the honor came several years, or decades, later than he thought it would.
“I don’t think my stats changed that much over the years, but sometimes patience is a virtue,” Brown said with a smile. “You have to wait your turn. It’s better to be inducted at some point than never to be inducted at all.”
The wait was also a long one for Frazier, who lives in Omaha, Nebraska, and works as an entrepreneur and a fundraiser.
“All the credit goes to my teammates and coaches,” Frazier said. “It says that I played the game the right way and was able to do things to land myself in the Hall of Fame. This class represents way less than 1 percent of the guys who ever played the game. It’s pretty special.”
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.