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Former Irish TE Dave Casper named to College Football Hall of Fame

May 15, 2012, 6:03 PM EDT

Casper, D (head)

Long before Anthony Fasano, John Carlson, Kyle Rudolph, and Tyler Eifert were making Notre Dame a tight end factory, former Irish great Dave Casper earned All-American status on his way to a 1973 National Championship. From there, the 6-foot-3, 245-pound former Irish star joined the Oakland Raiders on his way to a professional career that ended with his enshrinement in Canton, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The five-time All-Pro, and member of the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1970s is now being honored for his work back in South Bend, as the College Football Hall of Fame announced that Casper will be inducted in the 2012 class, a part of 14 former players and three coaches to be inducted at the 55th annual awards dinner this December at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Here’s more on Casper’s impressive career, courtesy of Notre Dame’s official release:

Born in Bemidji, Minn., Casper played his first three years of high school football at St. Edward Central Catholic High School in Elgin, Ill., and his senior campaign at Chilton High School in Chilton, Wis. His Chilton team in 1969 outscored its opponents 363-0.

The 6-3, 243-pound Irish tight end served as co-captain of the 1973 Notre Dame team that finished 11-0 and won the national title on a consensus basis after a 24-23 victory over top-rated and unbeaten Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. He caught three passes for 75 yards in that contest.

Casper played his first two seasons at offensive left tackle in 1971 and ’72 (he started final four games as a sophomore, then won honorable mention All-America honors in 1972 from Associated Press), then switched to tight end as a senior. Former Irish coach Ara Parseghian called Casper the best athlete he ever coached.

Casper finished with 21 career catches for 335 yards and four touchdowns, with all but two of those receptions coming in his senior campaign in ’73. He was a participant in the 1974 College All-Star Game and the Hula Bowl. Selected Notre Dame’s offensive MVP in ’73, he also played earlier in his Notre Dame career as a linebacker, defensive tackle and split end.

In 1973, Casper earned first-team All-America recognition from United Press International, the American Football Coaches Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, Football Writers Association of America and the Walter Camp Football Foundation – plus second-team honors from AP. In 2003 the Walter Camp Football Foundation named him its Alumnus of the Year.

A standout in the classroom, Casper earned postgraduate scholarships from the NCAA and the National Football Foundation after the 1973 season. The NCAA presented him its prestigious Silver Anniversary Award in 1999 for career achievements. With a 3.6 grade-point average, he earned first-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 1973 (following second-team notice in ’72)–then in 1993 he was chosen to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame.

Casper joins George Connor, Paul Hornung, Wayne Millner, and Alan Page among former Irish standouts that are members of both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is the 44th former Irish player to be inducted in the collegiate hall and among 50 players and coaches to have been a part of the Irish football program.

  1. bernhtp - May 15, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    Notre Dame has had many truly great tight ends. I was fortunate to go to school with a couple of the very best: Dave Casper and Ken MacAfee.

    • 9irish - May 15, 2012 at 10:19 PM

      I remember both of them, too, but I was a kid. I remember Ken MacAfee came in like THIRD in the Heisman voting in 77 or 78. Casper was a legendary nemesis with the Raiders….”the ghost to the post”

      By the way, what’s this I hear about them moving the Hall of Fame out of South Bend??

      • bernhtp - May 15, 2012 at 11:27 PM

        It’s moving to Atlanta next year. It has little draw except for ND football weekends. People come to Notre Dame, not to South Bend.

      • 9irish - May 16, 2012 at 12:35 AM

        First time I ever went to it, it was in Kings Island (Cincinnatti), OH. They need to make up their damn minds. I heard that though, moving it to SEC country, warmer weather, more people passing through. Don’t like the loss of symbolism, however.

      • herringbonesports - May 16, 2012 at 7:22 PM

        I’m a day late on this, but I have to say after visiting the HOF for the first time during Spring Game weekend I can totally understand the need to ship it out. It’s terribly out of date, poorly organized for flow, and just all around disappointing.

        I believe the Atlanta move isn’t until 2014 though and it will be in an area with multiple other museums, which should be nice for a rise in attendance.

        The worst of the CFB HOF is that center room with the highlight reel that was cut in 1993 and never changed.There are about 25 ND highlights, 20 MEMPHIS highlights and zero of Tennessee, UCLA, LSU, and many other programs. Unreal.

      • 9irish - May 16, 2012 at 9:24 PM

        I can see that, but I haven’t been to it in awhile. Most don’t even know it’s there anyway. Still trying to figure out how it started out in King’s Island, OH. Went to that in like 1985. Progress, I guess.

  2. mikes1160 - May 16, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    At the ’74 Blue-Gold game, I sat right behind Casper as he watched the game with his girlfriend. After about a quarter, he whispered something to her and left abruptly. She then said to a friend, “It’s too upsetting for him.”

    Congrats Dave.

    • herringbonesports - May 16, 2012 at 7:23 PM

      Great stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  3. 1historian - May 18, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Leon Hart was pretty good too. The last lineman to win the Heisman.

    • 9irish - May 18, 2012 at 6:57 PM

      the guy was a monster. Most of us can’t even fathom how they played on both sides of the ball then, so that is a very good point.

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