Each fall 300,000 young men across the U.S. suit up for their final year of high school football. Of those seniors, about 3,000 receive scholarships to play football at a Division I-A college. Identifying the best among these athletes isn't an exact science. Example: Alabama's senior linebacker Derrick Thomas, an All-America this year, generated yawns from recruiters when he came out of South Miami High in 1985.
What has happened to the 20 or so players whom coaches and journalists deemed the class of the Class of '85? They are now seniors or, if they've been redshirted, juniors. None has won the Heisman Trophy. Only two have played on a national championship team—linebacker Quintus McDonald and kicker Kevin Mills of Penn State. The following represent a cross section of the best of the Class of '85.
Marty Lippincott (below and preceding page), a 6'5", 284-pound senior tackle at Notre Dame, is a mystery. The Maxwell Club named him the Philadelphia area's best high school football player when he played at Philly's Northeast Catholic High. The Dallas Morning News called him the sixth-best schoolboy player in the country. Lippincott recalls those heady days: "I thought of myself as a star because everyone kept telling me I was. And it's true. I was so good compared to everyone else." So how is it that he became such a bust at Notre Dame? For one thing, Lippincott thinks it's because "everybody had me as an All-America before I played a down. Now I'm going to be a senior and not letter." It takes 30 minutes of playing time in a season to win a letter; Lippincott won't come close to that this fall.
Another reason for Lippincott's failure is that when he arrived in South Bend, he was, by his own admission, "out every night drinking, then back in the dorm drinking. I'm sort of a rebel in my own time."
December 5, 1988
And he has paid the price. Lippincott has been kicked off the team three times. The first was after a team meeting in which the importance of discipline and decorum was discussed. Lippincott celebrated the end of the session by mooning his teammates. The second time was after a private meeting with coach Lou Holtz in which Holtz cautioned Lippincott repeatedly about the confidential nature of the discussion. Lippincott left the meeting and promptly told his teammates all about it. The third time Lippincott can't recall, and neither can anybody else. After each incident Lippincott's locker was cleaned out, a clear indication that he wasn't wanted back. But Lippincott kept returning, and the Irish staff kept giving him one more chance.
Lippincott started one game as a sophomore, at defensive tackle against Michigan, then was switched to offense and the second team. As a junior he started against USC at offensive tackle because of injuries to other linemen, and played briefly on both offense and defense the rest of the season.
Last summer Lippincott got into a brawl at a Chicago bar just two days before the start of practice. He found himself listed on the third team on the depth chart for the season opener against Michigan. He didn't even dress for the home game against Purdue two weeks later, nor did he make the traveling squad for the games at Michigan State and Pitt. He was so furious about not going to Michigan State that he told Holtz that he was quitting the team. But, predictably, he returned. While he has worked his way back up to third string, Lippincott sneers when asked if he has any chance of starting: "Yeah, if 50 other linemen get hurt."
On the record, the Irish coaching staff complains about Lippincott's slowness, and offensive line coach Joe Moore says, "You're only as good as your feet." But, privately, the coaches think that Lippincott is the perfect example of the overrated and undermotivated player. Lippincott has the picture: "They think I drag other people down. Holtz always says, 'If you can't be a leader, then be a follower.' He thinks I'm a leader in the wrong way. It seems like I've spent my whole career here trying to fight my way out of a ditch. I don't want to be in life like I've been in football. I don't want to start at the top, then work down."
Lippincott is mad at himself and, sometimes, mad at his coaches. Above all, he's disappointed. He admits that he has squandered his talent, and that's embarrassing to him. At times he seems to have lost perspective on his woeful career: He fantasizes that Holtz might invite him back as a fifth-year senior. That will happen when Holtz is named Pope. It's a sad spectacle, and as winter closes in on the Notre Dame campus, Lippincott is downcast. "What have I done for this team? Nothing," he says. "I'm not a very bright kid. I had a 2.0 in high school and a 2.0 at Notre Dame. I guess basically what I want to do is own my own nightclub."
Bedecked in gold chains, with a 24-carat smile to match, Oklahoma State wide receiver Hart Lee Dykes is discussing his many-splendored skills. "I don't know how good I am," he says, "but every week I do something I didn't know I'd be able to do. I'm a flashy type of guy. I'm cocky. Well, confident. I have no fear going across the middle. I like it. It gives me a chance to make a guy miss and showcase my talent. Every day I wake up with a smile on my face. With all the success I'm having, how could I be anything but happy? A lot of people would like to trade places with me."
Yes, they would, for nobody in the Class of '85 can catch the ball as well as Dykes can. As a sophomore in 1986 he had a school-record 60 receptions for an average of 13.6 yards; in '87 he beat his own record with 64 catches (average gain: 16.4 yards); this year—despite routine double coverage—he has 65 receptions (average: 17.9). "I look at two-man coverage as a challenge," says the 6'4", 220-pound Dykes. "Besides, they put two men on me and still can't stop me. And it's always more fun to go out and beat two guys."
Midway through this season Dykes sailed past former Nebraska running back Johnny Rodgers to become the Big Eight's career leader in receiving yardage (Rodgers had 2,350 yards, Dykes has 3,235). Seven times Dykes has had two touchdown receptions in a game; he has 28 altogether, a Cowboy record for receivers. "He has the rarest combination of speed, height, strength and athletic ability," says coach Pat Jones. "He's just a great hand-eye athlete."
That's routinely made plain by Dykes's incredible one-handed catches, which, of course, he doesn't mind talking about. "I do have a tendency to catch one-handed," he says. "I know how to do it because I practice it all the time, so when it happens in a game, everyone is surprised except me. I want people to go home with something to talk about."
Despite his boasting, Dykes has legions of admirers at Oklahoma State. Says Jones, "There's no telling how fast Hart can run. I guess he can run as fast as he wants. I can't complain about him in any regard. He blocks, and he plays much harder away from the ball. I like being around him." And Cowboy quarterback Mike Gundy says, "Hart is the best thing that ever happened to me. I can't imagine how a guy that strong can run that fast, can jump that high and has such soft hands."
Dykes is protective of those hands, his ticket to a front-row seat at next April's NFL draft. He has started lifting weights to add some bulk to his sleek frame, but frets about calluses. So he wears gloves in the weight room. "I try to keep my hands out of the way of everything," he says. "I try to keep them in my pockets and never near blades." He horrified himself recently when he was drilling holes in his new vanity license plate (it reads ICU-UCME) and got to thinking how easily he could have ruined his future.
It was clear long ago that young Hart Lee, who hails from Bay City, Texas, was something special; at age nine he won the national Punt, Pass and Kick competition. To help the youngster get ready for the contest, his dad, also Hart Lee ("He's named after me," explains the younger Dykes), shagged balls for him. Dykes was the only Texan on the Parade high school All-America team, and USA Today named him the offensive player of the year.
Given those credentials, it is, sadly, not surprising that the recruitment of Dykes cost a head coach and an assistant their jobs. Earlier this year, Illinois coach Mike White resigned when the NCAA revealed that a former assistant, later identified as Rick George—who left Illinois to become recruiting coordinator at Colorado in 1987—had violated NCAA rules by giving Dykes money to stay at a motel so he would be out of sight of competing schools. Oklahoma State assistant Willie Anderson was fired in early 1986 for allegedly giving Dykes, and other players, illegal incentives to sign with the Cowboys. Dykes is said to have received $5,000 in cash, a new car and monthly payments of $125 from Oklahoma State. Those charges, if proved, may soon earn the school a heavy penalty from the NCAA. When asked about the allegations, Dykes said, "It doesn't ring a bell to me."
The controversy surrounding Dykes's recruitment has overshadowed his athletic accomplishments—and probably kept him off last season's All-America team. There was no keeping him off this year, though. Dykes says, "I've always felt confident I could catch a ball. It's very easy, really. I'm a very easygoing guy. I don't want any problems. And I'd rather play football than do anything else."
Kevin Mills is a college guy of unprepossessing stature (6'1") and reasonable weight (185). On the Penn State campus, he passes for just another student. Four years ago no one would have predicted such prosaic status for Mills. After all, he had kicked a 58-yard field goal—at that time, the 10th-longest ever by a high school player—at Shore Regional High in West Long Branch, N.J.; in the same game he booted a 52-yarder. That was enough to impress Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno. Mills was the Class of '85's premier kicker, and Paterno, who signed him, had good reason to believe that he had satisfied his field goal, extra point and kickoff needs for four years to come.
But Mills hasn't kicked so much as a point after for Penn State. "That's O.K.," says the relentlessly cheerful Mills. "I never thought of myself as a football player anyway. And this has taught me a lot of lessons: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Get your education. Don't bank on football. Life is unpredictable. When one avenue is cut off, go to another."
Then Mills pauses and says, "I chose Penn State for academic reasons. Football wasn't everything to me. Just one part. An important part, but only one part." Mills has a 3.0 academic average and a perfect 4.0 in his major, business logistics. But he downplays his accomplishments in the classroom: "I find it easy to do well when I'm not devoting five or six hours a day to football."
Mills seemed to be gliding effortlessly toward a rich career in the NFL, until one snowy day in December 1985 when Penn State was preparing for the Orange Bowl. The field was slick, says Mills, who was a redshirt freshman that year, "but maybe I didn't stretch right, either." While making practice kicks, he pulled a muscle in his right groin. At the time, it seemed a minor injury.
In the spring of 1986, the muscle became more and more painful with every practice. And even though Mills drilled field goals of 40 and 29 yards in the Nittany Lions' spring intrasquad game, he knew his valuable leg was in big trouble. Despite treatment over the summer, no progress was made, and in the fall Mills glumly told the Penn State coaches, "This isn't getting better." He opted to take the year off and return, strong and healthy, in the spring of 1987.
In the spring game of that year he made good on his only field goal attempt, a 28-yarder. Congratulations flowed. But Mills knew the truth: "There was no snap in my leg and no punch on the ball."
Mills, once a 60-yard threat, found his limit at 46 yards and dwindling. The end came before the Lions' 1987 opener, against Bowling Green, when Mills kicked a ball during pre-game practice and "felt like my leg came off." While going about on crutches for more than two weeks, Mills asked himself, "Is football my life, or should I get an education?" The answer came in the dark of night when he admitted to himself, This is not in the cards.
Mills subsequently told Paterno, "I'm not going to play football. If it gets better, I'll come back out." Paterno urged him to seek more medical advice and treatment, but Mills had had enough. He said, "I'd like to give my scholarship to another player. I don't feel right keeping it." Said Paterno, "No. Keep it and finish your education."
So that's what Mills is doing. He helps coach the Lions' kickers, but otherwise he's just another Penn State undergrad, working diligently toward his degree. He says, "I wish things could have happened differently, but I'm a better person for all this. And I have so much to look forward to." But then he says softly and sadly, "All I ever wanted to do was kick just one field goal in Beaver Stadium."
"Larry Rose is nothing flashy," says Alabama coach Bill Curry. "He's only what you dream about. If I had a whole team of guys like him, we'd only need an occasional meeting and a little practice."
Rose always says "Yes, sir." Except when he says "No, sir." He never uses three words when two will do. Rose is the epitome of the blue-collar player, all but anonymous, yet, in so many unseen and unstoried ways, the heart and soul of his team. Every day Rose shows up on time, rolls up his sleeves and puts in an honest day's work. "Attitude is the most important thing," he says. "Without that, it doesn't make a hill of beans how good an athlete you are."
Rose, a 6'4", 284-pound senior offensive lineman, has good attitude in abundance. Consider, for example, that he was probably the best high school defensive lineman in the Class of '85. Rose made 172 tackles and caused 10 fumbles his senior year at Emma Sansom High in Gadsden, Ala., as a noseguard, defensive end, whatever. As long as it was defense. "But when I got here, Coach [Ray] Perkins asked me right away how I felt about playing in the offensive line," Rose says. "I said, 'That's fine.' Look, I was an 18-year-old freshman, and I wasn't about to start off my college career by not agreeing with the head coach."
No matter that playing the offensive line is considered about as glamorous as yard work. Says Rose, "Pass blocking is very hard to do. So I took the move as a compliment."
It was this positive attitude that helped make Rose a starter in every game during his freshman season; he is the only rookie to claim that distinction at Alabama since the freshman eligibility rule was reestablished in 1972. He has started every game since, except for two at the end of his sophomore year when he had an injury to his left knee.
No episode more clearly demonstrates Rose's good attitude than one that occurred last spring. After practice one day, Curry said that Rose hadn't had a very good day—and neither had most of the other players, for that matter. Curry gave the Tide the next day off. Rose went bass fishing at Lake Tuscaloosa, but he got to brooding about Curry's criticism. He couldn't stand it. He cut short his fishing trip, drove back to the coach's office, walked in and said, "I'm sorry I disappointed you. What can I do to improve?"
That's why offensive line coach Mac McWhorter says, "Rose excels because of the kind of person he is. There are lots of others faster, quicker, stronger. But it's very important to him to do the best he can do. If this country was ever invaded, I'd find Rose and jump in a foxhole with him."
All of which may or may not add up to an NFL career for Rose. Says Curry, "Larry will be in somebody's NFL camp next year, and he'll make it awful hard on them to let him go." McWhorter agrees: "He'll bite you, claw you, scratch you, whatever it takes to block you. And he'll have a great future—in something. Life is important to Larry."
Rose comes by his taciturnity and work ethic naturally. He was raised on a 250-acre farm 10 miles from Gadsden. Every morning one of his chores was to water and feed the horses, and he never overslept. "It was my responsibility," he says. On graduation day, while the rest of his high school class was leaving for a trip to Florida, Rose was baling hay. As he says, "I always had good work habits." Fun for Rose was—and is—"riding horses through the woods."
When Rose sighs and leans his head back, it's easy to see his mind drifting back to the farm and the whippoorwills and the slow, sweet life. And it's on the farm that he intends to spend his life, unless there is an NFL interruption. He's already married to the former Karen Nix and has two daughters, aged two years and six months, and when asked if he's happy, he says, "Yes, sir."
Curry laughs when conversations with Rose are recounted. "He reminds me a lot of one of my teammates on the Colts, Glenn Ressler," says Curry. "He was utterly quiet. We thought he was a statue until we saw he was breathing." Make no mistake, Rose is an exquisite example of a living, breathing college player, all show and no blow, which is an all too rare combination.
"A lot of people had big expectations for me," says Brian Davis. "They had dreams for me. I think everybody was living in a fantasy." Apparently so. Davis, a running back at Washington (Pa.) High and Parade magazine's high school Offensive Player of the Year, was supposed to step right into the lineup at Pitt—the lucky school that signed him—and become the new Tony Dorsett.
It was not to be. Davis's college career foundered when he couldn't handle the burdens of academia. Says Davis, "My problem was basically credits. I didn't have enough." Even more basically, the problem was that Davis was never a student and never pretended to be.
As a Pitt freshman he showed flashes of what might have been—rushing for 298 yards in six games—but right after that season he ran into trouble with new coach Mike Gottfried, who suspended him from spring drills because, says Davis, "I missed a couple classes and a couple workouts." When asked why he was absent, he says vaguely, "Things came up." In fact, he hardly went to class at all, which made him ineligible for the following year.
Davis didn't bother to try to regroup academically until the fall of 1987, when he enrolled at Montgomery College, a two-year school in Rockville, Md., where he earned a B and two C's, good enough to get him back into Pitt in January '88 on a provisional basis.
Last spring Davis made a final run at the books and participated in some spring practices, but he flunked out of school. "Those are the breaks sometimes," Davis says. A Pitt spokesman says, "I don't think Brian ever really liked to play football." Davis denies that, but if he truly wanted to play, why did he do so little to ensure that he would be eligible to compete? Davis says defensively, "Look, I'm not a student, and I wouldn't say I'm very intelligent. It wasn't so much that I didn't like school. I just didn't apply myself much. Not much at all."
With Davis, everything seems fuzzy. He says he decided to major in psychology because "it sounded interesting." Later he thought about switching to sociology "to go into something with children." He can't recall his exact GPA at Pitt but thinks it was about 2.0. For a while this fall Davis worked in the mail room of a bank in Gaithersburg, Md., but quit in October because, he says, "I had to wear a shirt and tie, and I wasn't into it." He has since been hired by a printing company. "I realize if I'm not playing football," he says, "I guess I'll have to go out and work for a living."
Notice that he says "if he's not playing football, which is his way of hanging on to dreams that probably won't materialize. Davis refers to his "other options" in life, declining to use the words "pro football." Yet with only parts of six games of college ball under his belt, Davis almost certainly has no shot of making the NFL. "I still have the desire to play," says Davis, who made a cameo appearance at the Cleveland Browns' training camp in July before walking away. But what about the ability? "In my mind, yes."
While Davis sometimes blames the Pitt coaches for not keeping a close enough eye on him, he invariably shifts gears and says, "I blame myself. I can't point a finger at anybody but me. It wasn't the school, it wasn't the team." Then he closes his eyes, puts his head back and says, "I'm sure there were some positive things that I learned from this experience, but I just can't think of them."
When Todd Ellis of Page High in Greensboro, N.C., announced that he had narrowed his choice of colleges to 11, the coaches of all 11 of those schools arrived at his doorstep during the same week to pay homage. "I remember when La Veil Edwards [BYU], Dick Crum [North Carolina] and Vince Dooley [Georgia! were all in my house at the same time, and my mom was going crazy trying to serve them all pie," says Ellis.
Such is the hysteria that surrounds the pursuit of a blue-chip quarterback, and in the Class of '85 Ellis was the bluest chip of all. He had led Page to three consecutive state championships. After his senior year the American Academy of Achievement, an organization based in Malibu, Calif., selected the 350 best all-around high school students in the nation and then chose the best 25 from among them to receive a Golden Plate award. Ellis got a Golden Plate.
Ellis, somewhat surprisingly, chose to attend South Carolina. North Carolina had been his first love, but he was reluctant to attend a school that is better known for its basketball program. Ellis found Stanford alluring yet intimidating, what with its being Quarterback U and 3,000 miles from home. A big plus for the Gamecocks was that Todd's father, Chuck, was planning to move the family to the Columbia area, where he had a new job, and he told Todd that he was impressed with South Carolina's program.
So frenzied was the recruiting of Ellis that when he went to the Gamecocks' spring game in 1985 as a spectator—he had signed with South Carolina scarcely two months before—he was deluged by autograph requests. Says Ellis, "I was the quarterback they never had and never thought they'd get."
All Ellis was expected to do was produce a national championship. By that lofty measure he has been a disappointment. In his first two seasons as the Gamecocks' quarterback (after a redshirt year), South Carolina was an ordinary 11-10-2. This season started well. The Gamecocks were picked to finish in the Top 20 by nearly every major poll and won their first six games, including a resounding 23-10 victory over Georgia. But reality set in hard when South Carolina was shut out first by Georgia Tech, which hadn't beaten a Division I-A team since November 1986, and two weeks later by Florida State, which trashed the Gamecocks 59-0.
South Carolina had fallen apart as a team, but Ellis was forced to bear much of the blame—mainly because he threw too many interceptions. In his three seasons Ellis has completed 39 touchdown passes to go with an appalling 64 interceptions. During one stretch this fall he was picked off 12 times in three games, including five against Virginia Tech. Says Ellis, "I was throwing when I wasn't ready." Coach Joe Morrison is more blunt: "He has made some dumb-ass throws." Worse, says Morrison, when Ellis is feeling pressured, he tips off the defense by patting the ball immediately before he throws it.
The roots of Ellis's failures are complex and not entirely of his own making. First, this year Morrison changed from a run-and-shoot offense to a multiple offense. The new scheme gave Ellis more time to throw, but that advantage was offset by the inexperience of his receivers. Second, Ellis has difficulty controlling his combative disposition; he tries to get even after, say, an interception, and that leads him to throw into the teeth of the defense. Third, Ellis is impatient, as even he admits. He says, "I don't want to rely on the defense to give me another chance. I want to score now." Which means taking foolish chances instead of waiting for the perfect opportunity to go long. Fourth, the Gamecocks have shortcomings on the offensive line.
Still, with one more year of eligibility left, the 6'3", 203-pound Ellis may break former San Diego State quarterback Todd Santos's college career record of 11,425 passing yards. So he must be doing something right. South Carolina's offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, Al Groh, says Ellis's strength "is his ability to get into the flow and be an integral part of the offense, not an independent entity. He sees the picture, and the great ones understand in pictures rather than words."
And for all the hype surrounding him, Ellis has a clear sense of his quarter-backing ability: "My style is what people want for a college quarterback. I'm coachable, I work hard every day, I do the right thing on the field, and occasionally I'll make a big play they didn't ask for. I'd say I'm at least the equal of any other quarterback in the country, but I don't overestimate my athletic ability. I think of myself more as an impact player than as a star."
"He's a better person than he is a football player, and he's one of the best football players I've ever seen," says South Carolina assistant coach Jim Washburn. Certainly Ellis has brought class, if not a national title, to the Gamecock program. Reflecting on his college career, Ellis says, "It's been a roller coaster."
Aaron Emanuel was the most heavily recruited football player in the high school class of '85. After rushing for 4,807 yards and 54 touchdowns at Quartz Hill High in Palmdale, Calif., the 6'2", 225-pound Emanuel was courted by more than 100 colleges, some of which indulged in unseemly begging. No institution debased itself more than Nebraska, which sent a chauffeur-driven white Cadillac to Emanuel's home to whisk him off on his official recruiting visit to Lincoln. The limo carried him to a nearby airport, where he boarded a private jet with Cornhusker coach Tom Osborne at his elbow. After arriving in Nebraska, Emanuel dined with Bob Kerrey, then the state's governor, and Kerrey's girlfriend at the time, actress Debra Winger. "I didn't say anything," says Emanuel. "What was a 17-year-old football player supposed to say?"
Emanuel's first love was always Southern Cal, and that's where he decided to enroll. The only question was whether, as the latest in the long line of superstar USC tailbacks, he would win one or two Heismans. Perhaps he would be the first player ever to get three. This didn't seem so preposterous in the spring of 1985. At the very least, Emanuel would be the equal of former Trojans, and Heisman winners, O.J. Simpson and Marcus Allen.
A couple of weeks ago Emanuel was relaxing in the sun outside Heritage Hall on the USC campus. "There's no better teacher than experience," Emanuel said. "It's not what happens, but what you do with what happens."
What has happened to Emanuel at Southern California is the pits. "It's been a nightmare," he said. That's being charitable. The jury is still out on what will ultimately happen to Emanuel, but he said, "I give 100 percent and let God take up the slack."
Emanuel had this time to sit and reflect because he was hurt. Again. This time it was a deep ankle sprain with temporary nerve damage, and it happened in the third game of the season, a 23-7 victory over Oklahoma, He missed five games before returning to limited action against Arizona State. Emanuel looked at his right ankle, rolled it around and said, "I have tiny ankles. They don't go with the rest of my body." He smiled and tried to make a joke. "What happened is, things got messed up in the hospital, and I ended up with the wrong ankles."
When Emanuel arrived at USC to begin his freshman year, he missed most of preseason practice with a groin pull and then missed the year's first two games because of a lower back bruise. When he was finally able to play, he became the costarter at tailback. That lasted five weeks, until a sprained left ankle put him down for three more games. At spring practice in 1986, a sore left Achilles tendon sidelined him for a while, but a month into the schedule he won the starting job. He suffered a toe injury four weeks later, and was out for the remainder of the regular season.
In the spring of 1987, Emanuel was at a party where he pinched a woman named Sharon Hatfield, a member of the Southern Cal track team. Hatfield responded by throwing beer at Emanuel. He then hit Hatfield—an instinctive reaction, he says. Emanuel was suspended from school for a year and, after being convicted of simple battery, was ordered to do 100 hours of community service. Says Trojan coach Larry Smith, "There were too many expectations when he came here, and he couldn't handle them. I pitied the poor kid."
Last January, Emanuel was readmitted to USC early as a reward for good behavior, but he missed most of spring practice while recuperating from surgery to remove torn cartilage in his left knee and to repair a broken bone in his right foot. This fall Emanuel, who had along the way gathered a reputation for being lazy, returned in amazing physical condition—the best among the backs, according to Smith. Nonetheless, he was "demoted" to fullback, whereupon Emanuel, exhibiting a newfound maturity, said simply, "I'll block."
Even buried at fourth-team fullback, Emanuel played in preseason practices, Smith says, "like a man possessed. When he came back, he seemed at peace with himself. He came back with the attitude that he was at the bottom of the barrel and that's where he belonged."
Emanuel occasionally got to run a few drills at tailback, where he was listed as third team. Then, after a strong performance at both positions against Boston College in the season opener, a 34-7 win by USC, he was rewarded with the starting tailback job. In the Trojans' first three games of the season he scored six touchdowns. Then he hurt his ankle. "I'm not injury prone," Emanuel says with a straight face.
He also says, "When I touch the ball, there's not anyone who can bring me down by himself. I can hit any hole, run around any defensive back and over any linebacker. It's like a magic feeling, and a bolt shoots through my body. I wanted to win the Heisman. I still do."
Is Emanuel close to being as good as that? Says Smith, "I don't think we know."
But we may be finding out. Two weeks ago, against UCLA, Emanuel was given the starting tailback assignment. He bulled and twisted for 113 yards and two touchdowns in the Trojans' 31-22 win. Then against Notre Dame he had 95 yards on 18 carries. Because of his year's suspension, Emanuel is one of those members of the Class of '85 who still has a year of college eligibility left. Maybe he can win a Heisman.
"I THOUGHT OF MYSELF AS A STAR BECAUSE EVERYONE TOLD ME I WAS."
"HOW COULD I BE ANYTHING BUT HAPPY? A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD TRADE PLACES WITH ME."
"THIS HAS TAUGHT ME A LOT OF LESSONS: GET YOUR EDUCATION. DON'T BANK ON FOOTBALL."
"IF THIS COUNTRY WAS EVER INVADED, I'D FIND ROSE AND JUMP IN A FOXHOLE WITH HIM."
"MY PROBLEM WAS BASICALLY CREDITS. I DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH I DIDN'T APPLY MYSELF."
"I'D HAVE TO SAY THAT I'M AT LEAST THE EQUAL OF ANY QUARTERBACK IN THE COUNTRY."
"THERE WERE TOO MANY EXPECTATIONS WHEN EMANUEL CAME HERE. I PITIED THE KID."