There was life before J.J. Watt along the Wisconsin Badgersâ€™ defensive line. In fact, if it werenâ€™t for one man there may never have been a J.J. Watt at UW either.
Of course, weâ€™re talking about legendary defensive lineman Tim Krumrie. His legendary status in UW lore is not in doubt, but now his legendary status in the annuls of college football is no longer in doubt as well.
Krumrieâ€™s 24-year wait is over, as the College Football Hall of Â Fame announced the selection of Krumrie to the class of 2016.Â The National Football Foundation made the announcement of the 16 members â€” 14 players and two coaches â€” on Friday.Â
With his selection, Krumrie becomes the 10th Wisconsin Badger to be elected to the Hall of Fame, and the first UW defensive player to earn this honor. In total, 14 players, coaches or administrators with ties to the University of Wisconsin have been elected to the Hall of Fame.
Most recently, UW Director of Athletics and former head coach Barry Alvarez was inducted in 2010 and Heisman Trophy-winning running back Ron Dayne was enshrined in 2013.
Krumrie, much like Watt, started his career at Wisconsin as a linebacker prospect. After one season there in 1979, he was moved to nose guard and he immediately began dominating the game with the position switch. Simply put, the way the game has been played at nose guard today is direcdtly related to the way Krumrie went about his work.
Leading the Badgers in tackles in each of his four seasons, Krumrie still ranks No. 3 in UW history with 444 career stops, the most ever by a defensive lineman. His 276 solo tackles remain the Badgersâ€™ career record.
Krumrie, who never missed a start in 46 career games, was a consensus first-team All-America selection in 1981, a Walter Camp All-American in 1982 and went on to earn All-Big Ten honors three times. He helped the Badgers upset No. 1-ranked Michigan in their 1981 season opener and, in his final college game, was named Defensive MVP of the 1982 Independence Bowl after UW held Kansas State to just three points on the way to the programâ€™s first-ever bowl win.
All of it led to a chance to make a big mark at the next level. KrumrieÂ was selected in the 10th round of the 1983 NFL Draft by Cincinnati and helped lead the Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII. A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Krumrie finished his NFL career with 1,017 tackles and 34.5 sacks. He went on to spend 15 seasons in the NFL as an assistant coach with the Bengals, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.
Here is a look at all the Badgers in the College Football Hall of Fame:
â€˘ Barry Alvarez, Coach, Class of 2010
â€˘ Alan Ameche, RB, Class of 1975
â€˘ Marty Below, OL, Class of 1988
â€˘ Robert Butler, OL, Class of 1972
â€˘ Ron Dayne, RB, Class of 2013
â€˘ Pat Harder, FB, Class of 1993
â€˘ Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch, RB, Class of 1974
â€˘ Phil King, Coach, Class of 1962
â€˘ Tim Krumrie, NG, Class of 2016
â€˘ George Little, Coach, Class of 1955
â€˘ Pat Oâ€™Dea, P, Class of 1962
â€˘ Pat Richter, WR, Class of 1996
â€˘ Dave Schreiner, End, Class of 1955
â€˘ Harry Stuhldreher, Coach, Class of 1958