Former Wisconsin Badgers running back and all-time great Ron Dayne was a unanimous decision to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December. One of the greatest running backs to ever play the game, Dayne absolutely deserves the incredible honor.
“There are a lot of guys that played this game and no one did what he did,” Wisconsin Director of Athletics and former Badgers head coach Barry Alvarez said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “And he was durable.”
Dayne is the 13th member from the University of Wisconsin to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He will also be the third running back in the school’s history to receive the honor. Alan Ameche, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1954, and Pat Harder are the other two backs to accomplish the feat.
In 1996, Dayne became the 10th player in college football history to rush for 2,000 yards. In that same year, he set the Division 1 freshman rushing record after he ran for 1,863 yards (not including Copper Bowl game). His biggest season by far occurred in 1999. To kick off the year, he won the 1999 Rose Bowl MVP Award while he was still a junior. He then went on to win the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and Doak Walker Award, along with every other Player of the Year honor as a senior. He also was the MVP of the Big Ten Conference and was awarded the 2000 Rose Bowl MVP.
During the time Dayne left school, he held an incredible 48 school records, according to UWBadgers.com. He also became the fourth player in NCAA history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in four straight seasons. However, the most unbelievable accomplishment he ever achieved is one many probably do not know about. In 29 of Dayne’s 43 career starts, he rushed for more yards than what the opposing team was able to gain on the ground.
Dayne single-handedly destroyed opposing defenses. Watching lineman, linebackers and defensive backs attempt to take Dayne down brought so much joy to Badgers fans from 1996-99. The fact that players actually believed they could tackle him high, or one-on-one for that matter, is a joke in itself.
The New Jersey native had his No. 33 retired in 2007. He was inducted into the University of Wisconsin Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009 and then was finally voted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 2011. The only post-college football accomplishment left was the College Football Hall of Fame. Obviously, it was only a matter of time until it happened, but the good news is in seventh months he will join 1,132 other members.
Even though his NFL career was less than stellar, his legacy will live on forever in Wisconsin football history.
Dayne finished his career with 7,125 yards and 71 touchdowns on 1,220 carries.