Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press file, 2002

Tedy Bruschi won three Super Bowls, but he is especially proud of his college and prep years.

Former Roseville standout Bruschi earns College Football Hall of Fame nod

Published: Wednesday, May. 8, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 - 9:53 pm

If only the package included more: a quarterback, and then a scramble and a spirited pursuit across the front lawn. For old times' sake.

Tedy Bruschi last week received a commemorative football at his Massachusetts home, sans an attached passer, to signify his latest achievement. The Roseville High School graduate will be one of 12 former players and two coaches inducted Dec. 10 into the College Football Hall of Fame in New York.

The news was formally announced Tuesday by the National Football Foundation.

Bruschi tied an NCAA record with 52 career sacks as a hard-charging All-America defensive end for the Arizona Wildcats in the early 1990s.

"And, you know, I would've had that sack with that football at the house," Bruschi joked by phone Tuesday afternoon. "It's beyond words what this means. (Fellow inductee) Danny Wuerffel asked me, 'Wow, 52 sacks? Holy cow.' People are shocked by that total.

"I guess, looking back on it, it was a lot. I was just trying get to the quarterback each time. Had so much fun."

Bruschi had a remarkable penchant for turning a game – or a season – mostly without even touching the ball. He did it at Roseville in 1989 and 1990, having gone from a timid freshman, who was unsure what hips pads were, or what position to play, to a dominant performer.

Bruschi controlled the line of scrimmage for Roseville, knocking down ball carriers, making sacks and blocking kicks and punts. Bruschi had what his Roseville coaches Bob Jellison and Larry Cunha deemed "a special motor."

Bruschi was named The Bee's No. 1 all-time prep player for a top 100 list published in 2000. During Bruschi's senior season, Jellison mailed Arizona coach Dick Tomey a highlight tape, attaching a note: "You've got to watch this Bruschi kid. Biggest heart you ever saw."

Despite Bruschi's smaller size – 6-foot-1, 225 pounds – for a linebacker, Tomey offered a scholarship. The coach stopped practice during Bruschi's first summer-session contact drill to scold his senior offensive linemen, saying, "You're going to let a freshman kick your butt like this?"

Bruschi started as a freshman in 1991, a season cut short by injury.

He was a second-team All-American in 1993, a consensus selection in 1994 and a unanimous pick in 1995 when he competed at 235 pounds.

Bruschi went on to win three Super Bowls as a 245-pound linebacker in 13 seasons with the New England Patriots. He is now an NFL analyst for ESPN.

"I always had a simple philosophy and attitude: do your best," Bruschi said. "My whole career, very proud. I'm especially proud of those five years at Arizona and the four years at Roseville. The coaches I had at Roseville and Dick Tomey, those were my formative years, when I needed coaches and mentors to teach me the game and what hard work was all about, how to be a better person. I owe them a lot."

Said Cunha, "I'm proud and happy for Tedy. As a football player, he was fantastic, but even more impressive is how he is as a human being. He's the perfect example of a leader and role model."

Bruschi is married to his college sweetheart, Heidi. They have three sons - T.J., 12, Rex, 11 and Dante, 8. Bruschi said his wife rolls her eyes whenever he recalls his Roseville and Arizona playing days. The Bee's All-Time Top 100 prep football list, with Bruschi's name at No. 1, is framed in his home.

"My wife just shakes her head," Bruschi said.

The other player inductees are: Wuerffel, Florida; Tommie Frazier, Nebraska; Ron Dayne, Wisconsin; Vinny Testaverde, Miami; Ted Brown, North Carolina State; Jerry Gray, Texas; Steve Meilinger, Kentucky; Orlando Pace, Ohio State; Rod Shoate, Oklahoma; Percy Snow, Michigan State; Don Trull, Baylor.

The coaches are Wayne Hardin, Navy and Temple, and Bill McCartney, Colorado.

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