Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - May 23, 2014

Sports Shorts

'HALL' FOR NELSON . . . Former Stanford football great Darrin Nelson has been selected to the 2014 College Football Hall of Fame class in an announcement made Thursday by the National Football Foundation. The 18th Stanford player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, Nelson will be honored during the National Football Foundation's annual awards dinner on Dec. 9 at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. Playing for legendary coach Bill Walsh between 1977-81, Nelson and the Cardinal introduced the "West Coast offense" that would revolutionize the game. Establishing a new vision for the running back position, Nelson was the first college football player to rush for more than 1,000 yards and catch at least 50 passes in a single season — a feat he accomplished three times at Stanford. He finished sixth in the 1981 Heisman Trophy voting and his impact is still reflected in today's game. His greater impact was on display at Stanford where he garnered Academic All-America honors and was selected as a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete. Nelson was also a record-breaking star on the track and field team and was inducted into the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame. A four-time All-Pac-10 honoree and first team All-American, Nelson rushed for 4,033 yards at Stanford, set an NCAA record with 6,885 career all-purpose yards while scoring 40 touchdowns and catching 214 passes. He graduated in 1981 and would later return to Stanford where he spent 15 years in its administration. After graduating from Stanford, Nelson went on to a very successful 11-year career in the National Football League. After being drafted seventh overall in the 1982 draft by the Minnesota Vikings, Nelson played nine seasons with the Vikings (1982-89, 1991-92) and two with the San Diego Chargers (1989-90). Nelson, who led the NFL at 4.9 yards per carry in 1987, amassed more than 7,000 yards rushing and receiving with 23 touchdowns before retiring after the 1992 season.

STANFORD WEEKEND . . . Call it championship weekend as the Stanford men's golf team begins its quest of a national title, the women's team is looking to finish among the national leaders. Several members of the Stanford women's tennis team also remain in the hunt for an individual national title in the wake of the Cardinal's Final Four appearance as a team. Stanford's baseball team is in the exact same position it was a year ago at this point in the season. A series sweep and the Cardinal will be sent somewhere for an NCAA regional appearance. Anything less and the chances become dicey. Junior Patrick Rodgers and senior Cameron Wilson, perhaps the country's best collegiate golfing duo, hope to end their careers as NCAA champs. The Cardinal takes to the links on Friday at the Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan. Rodgers, who tied Tiger Woods with his 11th career win at last week's regional tournament, declared this to be his final year before turning pro. This week, Rodgers received an exemption to play in the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic, July 7-13 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. Rodgers most recently won the prestigious Ben Hogan Award given to the "outstanding male amateur and collegiate golfer and of the year." Rodgers and Wilson, meanwhile, were named to the PING All-West Region team, as announced Thursday. The Stanford women play their final round of golf on Friday at the Tulsa Country Club. The women's tennis team rallied and fought their way into the national semifinal, only to fall to No. 7 North Carolina, 4-3, earlier this week. Kristie Ahn is the lone senior singles player who will not return.

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