Former USC wide receiver Hal Bedsole was announced today as a member of the Class of 2012 for the College Football Hall of Fame.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” Bedsole said. “There are so many guys who have played college football and to think that only 900 of them are in the Hall of Fame, it’s kind of a big deal.”
Bedsole played on the 1962 national title team at USC -- the first of four national championships under head coach John McKay. A one-time high school and junior college quarterback, Bedsole was moved to wide receiver under McKay and, at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, he offered a rare combination of size and athleticism that simply wasn’t found in those days.
“When I found out about this award, Coach McKay was the first person I thought of,” Bedsole said. “When he recruited me, he told me right away that I would need to change positions. I had never caught a pass in my life and it was frightening to me because I didn’t know if I could do it. The fact that I got inducted into the Hall of Fame tells me I must have succeed.”
Bedsole was part of one of the most memorable Rose Bowl games in history, a 42-37 USC victory over Wisconsin in 1963. The Trojans came into the game as the No. 1 ranked team in the country and built an early 42-14 lead -- including a pair of touchdown receptions from Bedsole -- but had to hold off a furious fourth quarter charge from the Badgers.
“It was an honor to play in that game,” Bedsole said. “We thought we were going to win and we got out to a big lead but lost momentum and they came back. We won the game and the national title but a lot of people treated it like we lost so that was a little frustrating.”
Bedsole was inducted into the USC Hall of Fame in 2001 and still holds the USC record for highest average per catch (20.94). He set USC single-season receiving records during his consensus All-America 1962 campaign, corralling 33 passes for 827 yards and 11 touchdowns. Bedsole was drafted as a tight end in the second round of the 1964 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings.
“The fact that there are only 30 USC players in the College Football Hall of Fame makes it very emotional,” Bedsole said. “You’re talking about one of the great football heritages of all time. I remember when Sam Cunningham got inducted, he was presented at halftime of a USC game with a jacket that only College Football Hall of Famers got to wear so I guess I will be getting one of those too.”
The 2012 College Football Hall of Fame class will be inducted at the 55th National Football Foundation Awards Dinner on Dec. 4 in New York City.