One of Brigham Young University’s favorite sons came back to the setting of his gridiron success Saturday as legendary Cougar quarterback Ty Detmer was honored with a National Football Foundation Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute as part of the induction class of 2012.
The ceremony was jointly sponsored by the NFF and the College Football Hall of Fame and was televised live by ABC as part of the BYU vs. Oregon State game.
Detmer’s wife and four daughters accompanied him for the formal presentation, made after alumni players had been introduced and were still on the field as part of the Homecoming festivities.
In typical Detmer fashion, he responded to the standing ovation he received with a brief but succinct statement. “There’s no better place to play college football than LaVell Edwards Stadium,” he said. “Thanks for your support. Go Cougars!”
With a Heisman Trophy, a Maxwell Award, two Davey O'Brien Awards and 59 NCAA records, Detmer left BYU as one of the best quarterbacks in college football history. He played from 1988-91.
“There aren’t many more accomplished players in the history of college football than Ty Detmer,” said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. “He just about did everything as a Cougar that a college quarterback can do.
“He is a truly deserving member of the College Football Hall of Fame. It’s a thrill to honor him in front of the BYU faithful,” he added.
Interviewed after the ceremony, Detmer said, “This is a great honor. I was fortunate to come to Provo to play with Coach Edwards and a lot of great teammates. This award belongs just as much to them.”
He added that it is “always humbling” to return to Provo. “For my kids to see how people treat you for the way you played here, that’s very special,” he said.
Twice named a consensus All-American, Detmer won national player of the year awards from organizations such as UPI, CBS, Scripps Howard and the U.S. Sports Academy.
His 15,031 career passing yards and 121 touchdowns were NCAA bests at the time, and the gunslinger still holds nine NCAA records.
A three-time First Team All-WAC performer, Detmer led Edwards' teams to three conference championships, four bowl games, three AP top 25 finishes, a 28-21 win over top-ranked and defending national champion Miami on Sept. 8, 1990 and a 37-13-2 overall record.
The NCAA Today's Top VI Award recipient still holds 10 school records, including the season and career marks for total offense, passing yards and 400-yard games.
Detmer becomes the sixth BYU player to be inducted, following (chronological with year of induction) Gordon Hudson (2009), Steve Young (2001), Jim McMahon (1998), Marc Wilson (1996) and Gifford Nielsen (1994).
Edwards also entered the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
Including the 2012 FBS class, only 918 players and 200 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly five million people who have played or coached the game during the past 144 years.
In other words, only two ten-thousandths of one percent (.0002) of those who have set foot on the gridiron in the United States have earned the distinction, so Detmer is joining a very select company.
Beky Beaton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.