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May 7, 2013
It has been a long time coming, but the College Football Hall of Fame finally announced Tuesday it will induct former Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel. The honor makes Wuerffel the seventh Florida player and the 10th former Gator to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Former coaches Charles Bachman, Ray Graves and Doug Dickey have also received the honor.
"Being at such a different point in my life, the ability to reflect, to experience it and to really think about what this means, is really unique," Wuerffel said. "I'm thankful to know that it didn't happen 10 years ago or five years ago. That really makes this special."
Wuerffel is a little more than 16 years removed from being the Heisman Trophy winner who brought Florida its first national championship. When asked to compare the two honors, he couldn't. One seemed too long ago.
Regardless of how long ago it was, the accomplishments cannot be washed away. Wuerffel was the only quarterback in college football history to start at quarterback for a conference champion in four consecutive seasons. He was Florida's second Heisman Trophy winner and the first player to win the Draddy Trophy - given annually to the best academic athlete - and eventually be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
"He is one of the best ever to put on a Gator uniform and will be always remembered as such," UF athletic director Jeremy Foley said. "He will be remembered just as much, if not more, for the type of individual he is - he is truly a great person."
Wuerffel threw for 3,625 yards and 39 touchdowns as a senior. For a comparison, the Gators have passed for 38 touchdowns in the past three seasons combined. In his final two collegiate games, Wuerffel passed for a total 701 yards and nine touchdowns against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and Florida State in the Sugar Bowl.
In the years since his playing days, he has come and gone from the NFL and NFL Europe, worked for Desire Street Ministries in New Orleans, helped restore the city after Hurricane Katrina and been diagnosed Guillan-Barre syndrome, a nervous system disorder in 2013. Wuerffel said he is about "90 percent" healthy right now but it has been a rough two years.
"Life throws a lot of punches and a lot of curveballs," Wuerffel said. "When we get too attached to our plans or our expectations, life can be really tough. You simply can't control it."
Through it all, Wuerffel has remained closely connected to Florida football. He will be inducted on December 10 in New York City at the Waldorf Astoria as one of 14 new members.
"I can't thank the Gator Nation enough," Wuerffel said. "It is great to be a Florida Gator. ? I'm very thankful that I'm a Gator."