February 8: Former Heisman winner Smith born on this date


Former Harvard Consensus All-American Everett Lake was born on this date in 1871.

Lake was selected to the 1891 All-America team as a back in his final season of play before later embarking on a career in politics. He eventually rose to become the 67th Governor of Connecticut from January 5, 1921, to January 3, 1923.

Lake passed away on September 26, 1948, at the age of 77.


Minnesota - Bruce SmithFormer Minnesota Heisman Trophy winner Bruce Smith was born on this date in 1920.

Smith played three years for the Golden Gophers from 1939-1941 leading the team to consecutive national titles in his final two campaigns. He also won the Heisman at the conclusion of the 1941 season ending a brilliant career for the Gophers.

He was then drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 13th round of the 1942 NFL Draft with the 119th overall pick with the understanding that he was first headed off to serve as a Navy fighter pilot in World War II. Upon his return from the war, he played three full seasons with the Packers and part of a fourth before finishing his final season with the Los Angeles Rams.

Smith was diagnosed with terminal cancer in the spring of 1967 and ultimately passed away that summer on August 28. To date, he remains Minnesota’s only winner of the Heisman Trophy, and he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1972.


Doc Fenton was a star quarterback for LSU from 1907-1909, ultimately earning selection to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971. He led the 1908 Tigers to an unbeaten 10-0 campaign which was later designated as a national championship season by the National Championship Foundation.

Despite living to the age of 80 years old, Fenton would miss out on his Hall of Fame selection passing away on this date in 1968 three years before the honor was bestowed.


Former Stanford tackle Bob “Horse” Reynolds passed away on this date in 1994 at the age of 79.

Reynolds played for the Cardinal from 1933-1935 leading his team to the Rose Bowl three consecutive years and playing the full 60 minutes in each game. He was an All-American during his final season and was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1961.

After a brief two-year career with the NFL’s Detroit Lions in 1937-1938, Reynolds entered the entertainment industry eventually partnering with movie icon Gene Autry in the ownership of a radio station, and eventually, even as a part-time owner of the California Angels baseball team. He also had part ownership for several years in the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams.


Former Alabama linebacker and 1988 Butkus Award winner Derrick Thomas passed away on this date in 2000 after an automobile accident approximately two weeks prior to his death. Thomas was reportedly driving at an unsafe speed of more than 100 miles per hour on his way to catch a flight from the Kansas City International Airport to St. Louis for the NFC Championship Game. Thomas and a passenger were ejected, but Thomas survived for more than two weeks despite being paralyzed from the chest down. His passenger was killed instantly. Thomas then succumbed on this date as a result of a pulmonary embolism.

Prior to his death, Thomas had played 11 years for the Kansas City Chiefs developing into one of the league’s most-feared pass rushing specialists. He was a three-time All-Pro and was posthumously elected to both the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.


 

 

 

 

 

 

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