Beran, Woodhead enter state's Football Hall of Fame

Con Marshall
Staff Writer

Two Chadron State College greats, Casey Beran and Danny Woodhead, were inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame Friday night in Lincoln.
Four Cornhuskers also were inducted. The crowd filled the West Stadium Club of Memorial Stadium to near-capacity.
Both Beran and Woodhead said they enjoyed their college careers at Chadron State immensely and tried to turn the spotlight on others when they spoke after videos of their football highlight were shown.
Now an orthopedic surgeon in Omaha, Beran thanked his parents, Jim and Janice, and Chadron State coaches and teammates for their leadership and support. Now, he said his wife, Molly, is his primary confidant.
Beran also noted that he might not have achieved as much in football at Chadron State if he hadn’t injured his knee during what he called “my first junior year.”
That was in 1997. Since he had played just six quarters before he was hurt, he received a medical redshirt and still had two seasons remaining. While recovering from surgery, he said became committed to working harder than ever so he could make the most of his career.
The farm boy from Sargent became Chadron State’s first football player to earn both All-American and Academic All-American honors. He completed his career with 35 quarterback sacks, 32.5 other tackles for minus yardage and caused seven fumbles from his defensive end position. He also scored 11 touchdowns after switching to fullback when the Eagles approached the goal line.
Woodhead also paid tribute to his parents, Mark and Annette, and praised his wife, Stacia, particularly now that he’s retired from playing nine years of pro football. That’s because, he said with a mischievous grin, “She takes care of the kids a lot and I get to play golf a lot.”
Both couples have four children.
In particular, Woodhead gave kudos to his CSC teammates, especially the offensive linemen.
“They made me look better than I was,” he said. “I just ran through the holes they opened. They deserve the credit.”
Those “holes” helped Woodhead become college football’s all-time leading rusher with 7,962 yards, score 109 touchdowns and win two Harlon Hill Awards as Division II’s best player.
He also was the recipient of the Draddy Award as Division II’s outstanding football scholar-athlete his senior year in 2007.
While the media often points out that Woodhead was overlooked by major college coaches, Woodhead said, “I wouldn’t go back and change a thing about my college career.”
“I’m so glad Brad Smith wasn’t afraid to give a scholarship to a small running back from North Platte, Neb.,” Woodhead noted. “I also liked my teachers and the whole college experience that I had.”
In closing, Woodhead thanked long-time UNL football coach and later athletic director Tom Osborne, also a family friend, for his assistance.
“He let me come to Lincoln for my pro day so the scouts could see me,” Woodhead recalled. “If it wasn’t for that, I might not be here tonight.”
Chadron State now has seven representatives in the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame. The others are Ross Armstrong, LaVerne McKelvey, Dub Miller, Lonnie Wickard and Brad Fults.