JACKSONVILLE – Tony Boselli is being honored again.
And this time, what’s special about it maybe isn’t as much what it means to him, but what it means to his family.
Boselli, the first draft selection in the Jaguars’ history, on Thursday was named to the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame, joining 13 other players and two coaches inducted in this year’s class.
“It’s a huge honor,” Boselli said shortly after the announcement Thursday afternoon. “To be recognized with the greats who played college football through the history of college football is amazing.”
Boselli, a left offensive tackle who played for the Jaguars from 1995-2001, played for Southern California from 1991-1994, starting all four seasons. He was a two-time All-America selection, in 1992 and 1994 and was named All-Pacific 10 Conference in 1992, 1993 and 1994.
“I’m not the most emotional guy,” Boselli said. “I was excited; don’t get me wrong. But my wife, my kids, my parents … they were like, ‘what a huge honor.’ Which it is. Maybe it hasn’t sunk in yet, but it’s not something you expect.
“It’s like I tell people about the Pro Football Hall of Fame, ‘I don’t think about it, because I have no control over it.’ It wasn’t like I was sitting there thinking, ‘I hope I get in.’ So when it happened, it was like, ‘What an honor.’”
A 1994 NFF National Scholar-Athlete, Boselli is the 31st player from Southern California to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.
Boselli, a two-time consensus All-American, was a Trojans’ team captain in 1994 and a finalist for the Outland Trophy and a two-time semifinalist for the Lombardi Award. He also was the 1994 Morris Trophy winner as the Pac 10’s top offensive lineman.
He helped the Trojans to three consecutive bowl appearances, including victories in the 1993 Freedom Bowl and 1995 Cotton Bowl. He was also Southern California’s Offensive Player of the Year as a freshman.
Thank you for all the nice congratulatory tweets. Very cool to be honored with the greats of college football.— Tony Boselli (@TonyBoselli) May 22, 2014
“It’s a real cool feeling,” Boselli said. “I love USC and I loved my time there. The place is very special to me, so to be honored for what I did there is fun.”
But Boselli said what makes the honor particularly special is what it meant to his wife, Angi, and their four children – Andrew, Adam, Ashli and Alexis.
“Obviously, my kids were not old enough to watch me play college football,” Boselli said. “For them to get to be a part of that part of my life and experience it and go through this process for me is a lot of fun. I think the boys maybe know now that dad was OK, at least.”
Boselli, No. 2 overall selection in the 1995 NFL Draft, was named to the Pro Bowl five times in seven seasons with the Jaguars. He was the first player inducted into the team’s Pride of the Jaguars in 2006.
Boselli was one of 14 players in the ’14 class, with the others being: North Carolina defensive back Dre Bly (1996-98), Purdue defensive tackle Dave Butz (1970-72), Penn State linebacker Shane Conlan (1983-86), Georgia Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton (1996-99), Maine linebacker John Huard (1964-66), Stanford running back Darrin Nelson (1977-78, 1980-81), Louisiana Tech offensive lineman Willie Roaf (1989-92), UCLA quarterback John Sciarra (1972-75), South Carolina wide receiver Sterling Sharpe (1983, 1985-87), McNeese State cornerback Leonard Smith (1979-82), Alabama linebacker Derrick Thomas (1985-88), Texas-Christian running back LaDainian Tomlinson (1997-2000) and Mississippi tight end Wesley Walls (1985-88).
The two coaches named this year were Mike Bellotti of Chico State (1984-1988) and Oregon (1995-2008) and Jerry Moore of North Texas (1979-80), Texas Tech (1981-85) and Appalachian State (1989-12).
“It’s not why anyone plays the game,” Boselli said. “You play to win. You play the best you can. You play for the guys and the love of the game, but it’s a pretty good by-product. And it’s a pretty nice honor that that’s the result.”