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Venderkelen Named Top Player of College All-Star Victory over Packers

Aug. 3, 1963 - Ron Vanderkelen, the take-charge guy whose quarterbacking of the All-Stars was so great coach Otto Graham didn’t dare call on Heisman Trophy winner Terry Baker or Sonny Gibbs, was named top player of last night’s 20-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field in Chicago. In confirming the wisdom of Coach Graham’s decision to go virtually all way with the Wisconsin star, the writers covering the All-Star upset win gave Vanderkelen 38 first-place votes and a wide margin over 14 other members of the squad. Second in the balloting was big Bob Jencks of Miami (Ohio), who kicked two field goals and caught several of the Badger passer’s remarkably sharp tosses. Vanderkelen threw the ball 11 times and completed 9 for 141 yards, a remarkable performance against the great defense of the Packers. The two throws dropped were in the hands of his receivers. On three occasions, no less than three Packer defenders surrounded the receivers and still couldn’t stop the completions, so sharp was Ron’s throwing. Coach Graham apologized, but didn’t need to, for failing to use the two fine quarterbacks that belong to the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys. “It was a tossup who would start at quarterback,” Graham said. “All four are good. Vanderkelen won the job the last few days. He and Glynn Griffing (Mississippi) did so well I didn’t have a chance to use the others.” Vanderkelen was bypassed by every NFL team in the 1963 draft and was drafted in the 21st round of the 1963 AFL draft by the New York Jets. He entered into a contract with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent. Coach Norm Van Brocklin of the Vikings was understandably enthusiastic over Ron’s performance. “Vandy did a tremendous job and will help us this season,” said Van Brocklin. “He confirmed everything we thought about him.” The Badger quarterback’s performance at Soldier Field last night makes his great last-quarter leadership of vanquished Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl against the victorious Trojans the more understandable.


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