On the legendary 1951 USF football team were 10 men who would play in the NFL. Three of them – Ollie Matson, Gino Marchetti and Bob St. Clair – eventually were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a record for one college team.
But the best player on that team, Marchetti and others insist, didn’t play a down in the NFL.
“I’ve said it about a hundred times,” Marchetti said Monday. “Burl Toler was the best. He had everything an athlete should have: He loved the game, he was fast and he was the best tackler I’ve ever seen. He would have been a hell of an NFL linebacker.”
Mr. Toler was the No. 1 draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, but blew out his knee playing against the defending NFL champion Los Angeles Rams in the College All-Star Game in Chicago.