Bill Enyart is one of 23 former players and coaches to be enshrined today in the College Football Hall of Fame. But Enyart, a longtime Bend resident, will not be on hand to take part in the festivities.
The 65-year-old Enyart, who was an All-America running back at Oregon State University in the late 1960s, said Friday that he would not be attending the enshrinement ceremony, citing recent health issues that prohibited him from traveling to the event in South Bend, Ind.
“Otherwise, I wouldn't miss it,” Enyart said, “because I know it's important to represent the university.”
Enyart was named in May 2011 to the 2011 Hall of Fame class. At that time he called his selection “pretty overwhelming.”
Being named to the Hall of Fame has had Enyart on the run.
Last September, he was at OSU's Reser Stadium in Corvallis for a National Football Foundation On-Campus Salute during the Beavers' game against UCLA. In December, he took part in Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. And in early January, Enyart and other new inductees were honored on the field during pregame festivities at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
A giant of a fullback at 6 feet 3 inches and 235 pounds, Enyart's pounding style of running earned him the nickname “Earthquake” at Oregon State. The Medford High School graduate was a first-team All-America running back in 1968 and a two-time all-Pac-8 selection for the Beavers.
As a junior in 1967, Enyart was the rushing and touchdowns leader for an Oregon State team known as the “Giant Killers,” who during a four-week stretch that season won at No. 2 Purdue, tied No. 2 UCLA on the road and stunned top-ranked USC in Corvallis.
The following year as a senior, Enyart set single-season school records for rushing attempts (293), rushing yards (1,304) and touchdowns (17) — marks that stood at OSU for more than 30 years. Also that season, he set Oregon State single-game records with 50 carries and 299 yards in a win at Utah.
Enyart was chosen by the Buffalo Bills in the 1969 NFL draft (first selection of the second round, No. 27 overall). He played three professional seasons with the Bills and the Oakland Raiders before a serious knee injury forced him out of football. Currently, he is a caseworker for a state Medicaid agency in Bend.
Among other players being enshrined today are Eddie George, the 1995 Heisman Trophy winner with Ohio State, and Deion Sanders, who starred as a defensive back at Florida State from 1985 to 1988. Coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011 include Lloyd Carr of Michigan (1995-2007) and Fisher DeBerry of Air Force (1984-2006).