The 2017 College Football Hall of Fame ballot has been released with Peyton Manning, Matt Leinart, Steve Spurrier, and other legends to choose from.
The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the names on the 2017 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, including 75 players and six coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 95 players and 29 coaches from the divisional ranks.
So who really deserves to be in?
The massive list of nominees from the NFF is always interesting, and sometimes a bit puzzling. Even more strange is how some players aren’t automatic slam dunks.
I believe in the Danny Ocean to Linus Caldwell approach to the Hall of Fame. Either you’re in or you’re out. Right now.
A Hall of Famer should be obvious, and it’s not just about name recognition. A player’s popularity doesn’t mean he had all-timer of an impact on the sport or was one of the true greats. Perspective is needed, eras and systems have to be considered, and there should be some test of time.
NFL production doesn’t matter in any way, shape or form – this is the COLLEGE Football Hall of Fame – and other factors shouldn’t matter at all. Being worthy of the Hall should only be about what happened on the field during that player’s college career.
Really, Eric Dickerson isn’t in yet?
Who really were the best of the all-time best? Welcome to a ranking of all player FBS nominees and coaches based on how much they deserve to be in the Hall. A few things to keep in mind before going forward.
1. To set the dial to hypocrite, I might be a champion against performance enhancing drugs, and it’s my career dream to get the smoking gun needed to finally expose a few programs just begging to get tagged, but I’m letting it go when it comes to the Hall of Fame rankings.
2. I know I’m supposed to care if a player was a NFF Scholar-Athlete, but I don’t.
3. Win a Heisman, get in the Hall. That should be an automatic.
4. I don’t care if a player was given cars, cash, girls, or all of the above. Police this and you probably don’t have a College Football Hall of Fame.
5. If you have to make a case why a player deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, he probably doesn’t deserve to be in.
Not only do voters have to take into account all the different eras and all the different aspects of the game’s evolution, but there are also the rules to deal with.
According to the National Football Foundation, to shorten and sum up the criteria:
1. A player has to have been a First Team All-American on a list recognized by the NCAA. No Joe Montana.
2. He’s eligible ten years after his final year of playing.
3. Post-career citizenship is factored into the voting, and an extra boost is given to those who earned a degree. O.J. Simpson is still in.
4. Players must have played within the last 50 years. So to be eligible for the 2017 class, the player had to have finished his career by 1967.
5. A coach is eligible three years after retiring or if he’s older than 70, and active coaches are eligible after age 75. He had to be a head coach for at least ten years and had to have coaches at least 100 games with a .600 minimum winning percentage.
All player bullet points taken from the National Football Foundation footballfoundation.org.
FBS Coaches On The Ballot
6. Pete Cawthon Sr., Austin College [Texas] (1923-27), Texas Tech (1930-40)
Led Tech to four Border Conference titles in 11 seasons at the helm
Led 1938 team to 10-0 regular season and the school’s first-ever Cotton Bowl appearance
Boasts highest win percentage (69.3) among Tech coaches with terms of three years or more.
5. Jim Carlen, West Virginia (1966-69), Texas Tech (1970-74), South Carolina (1975-81)
Led teams to eight bowl games and 13 winning seasons in 16 years as head coach
1973 National Coach of the Year
Three-time Southwest Conference Coach of the Year
Coached Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers at South Carolina.
4. Billy Jack Murphy, Memphis (1958-71)
All-time winningest coach in Memphis history
Had 11 winning seasons and retired as the 15th winningest coach in the nation
Member of the Memphis Hall of Fame and Mississippi State Hall of Fame.
3. Darryl Rogers-Cal State East Bay [formerly Cal State Hayward] (1965), Fresno State (1966-72), San Jose State (1973-75), Michigan State (1976-79), Arizona State (1980-84)
Took Fresno State to two bowl games
Achieved an unprecedented national ranking at San Jose State
Was Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1977 and National Coach of the Year by Sporting News in 1978
Won the Big Ten title in 1978.
2. Danny Ford, Clemson (1978-89), Arkansas (1993-97)
Led Tigers to perfect 12-0 season and national title in 1981
Won five ACC championships and twice named conference coach of the year
Boasts four of the top five winningest seasons in school history and set Clemson record with 41 consecutive weeks in AP Top 20
Led Arkansas to first SEC West title in 1995.
1. Steve Spurrier, Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-01), South Carolina (2005-15)
Winningest head coach in both University of Florida and University of South Carolina history, ranking second all-time in wins in SEC annals
Led Gators to 1996 National Championship and six SEC titles
Posted seven conference championships, nine conference coach of the year honors and 21 bowl appearances in 26-year career.
Candidates for the Hall of the Very, Very Good
These players were fantastic talents for their respective schools, and some might consider them legends, but it’s pushing it to put them in the Hall of Fame category.
75. Freddie Carr, UTEP, Linebacker
1967 First Team All-American who helped UTEP to two Sun Bowl victories
Named 1967 Sun Bowl MVP
Ranks in the top 10 in numerous school records, including career tackles (410) and single, season tackles (148).
74. Phil Olsen, Utah State, Defensive End
1969 consensus First Team All-American
1969 team captain and Utah State Athlete of the Year
Selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl
Brother of College Football Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen.
73. Bob Stein, Minnesota, Defensive End
1967 First Team All-American
Two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection who led Gophers to co-share of the 1967 Big Ten title
1969 NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
72. Bob McKay, Texas, Offensive Tackle
1969 consensus First Team All-American who helped Longhorns to national championship and unbeaten season at Cotton Bowl in senior season
Member of two SWC championship teams and 1969 All-conference selection.
71. Kirk Gibson, Michigan State, Wide Receiver
Named First Team All-American, led Big Ten in receiving in league play and helped the Spartans to a Big Ten Co-Championship and a No. 12 national ranking in 1978
Played MLB for 17 seasons.
70. Larry Seivers, Tennessee, Wide Receiver
Two-time consensus First Team All-American in 1975 and 1976
Two-time First Team All-SEC selection
Currently ranks sixth in Tennessee history in career reception yardage (1,924) and seventh in career receptions (117).
69. Marc Zeno, Tulane, Wide Receiver
1987 First Team All-American who broke the NCAA Division I record for career receiving yards (3,725)
Led team in receiving three-straight years and holds nearly every school receiving record, including career receptions (236) and 100-yard games (17)
Two-time First Team All-South Independent selection.
68. Rich Diana, Yale, Running Back
Named a First Team All-American in 1981 and finished 10th in the Heisman Trophy voting the same year
Two-time First Team All-Ivy League selection
Named a First Team Academic All-American and an NFF National Scholar, Athlete in 1981.
67. John Didion, Oregon State, Center
Two-time All-American, earning unanimous First Team honors in 1968
Member of Oregon State team known as the “Giant Killers”
1968 First Team All-Pac-8 selection who helped team finish in the AP Top 20 all three years of career.
66. Ernie Jennings, Air Force, Wide Receiver
1970 consensus First Team All-American, finishing eighth in 1970 Heisman Trophy voting
Led Air Force to 1971 Sugar Bowl berth
Holds every single-season and career receiving record at Air Force.
65. Mike Dirks, Wyoming, Defensive Tackle
1967 First Team All-American who led Pokes to two bowl berths
Two-time First Team All-WAC selection and member of back-to- back WAC championship teams
Three-year starter who finished career with 210 tackles and 59 tackles for loss.
64. Ron Rivera, California, Linebacker
1983 consensus First Team All-American
Lombardi Award finalist in 1983 and named East-West Shrine Game Most Valuable Player
Selected as Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 1983
Led team in tackles from 1981-83.
63. Ken Huff, North Carolina, Offensive Guard
1974 consensus First Team All-American and First Team All-Conference selection
Recipient of the Jacob’s Blocking Trophy as the ACC’s best offensive lineman in 1974
Team captain who helped UNC set school total offense records and finish fifth nationally in 1974.
62. Tony Gonzalez, California, Tight End
1996 consensus First Team All-American and First Team All-Pac-10 selection
Holds Cal record for receptions in a bowl game (9 in 1996 Aloha Bowl)
Posted 89 receptions for 1,302 yards and eight touchdowns during career.
61. Bobby Humphrey, Alabama, Running Back
Named First Team All-American in 1987
Led Tide to victories in Aloha Bowl and two Sun Bowls
Named UPI Offensive Player of the Year in 1987
Ended career with 4,958 all-purpose yards and 40 TDs.
60. Ken Norton Jr., UCLA, Linebacker
1987 First Team All-American, leading Bruins to four consecutive bowl wins
Member of the 1985 conference championship team
Led team in tackles in 1986 (106) and in 1987 (125) and ranks sixth in school history with 339 career tackles.
59. Matt Stinchcomb, Georgia, Offensive Tackle
Two-time First Team All-America selection (consensus, ’98)
Two-time First Team All-SEC and 1998 recipient of Jacobs Blocking Trophy
1998 NFF William V. Campbell Trophy recipient and NFF National Scholar, Athlete.
58. Mark Messner, Michigan, Defensive Tackle
1988 unanimous First Team All-American who was a Lombardi Award finalist
1988 Big Ten Player of the Year and four-time First Team All-Big Ten selection
Led Wolverines to four bowl berths and named MVP of 1985 Fiesta Bowl.
57. Lucius Sanford, Georgia Tech, Linebacker
Named First Team All-America in 1977
A three-time First Team All-Conference selection, he led Georgia Tech in tackles in 1975 (121) and 1976 (117)
Named to the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame and the school’s All-Time Team in 1991.
56. Al Worley, Washington, Defensive Back
1968 consensus First Team All-American who holds NCAA record for single-season interceptions (14)
1968 First Team All-Pac-8 selection who held conference record for interceptions in a game (4)
1968 team co-captain and University of Washington Athlete of the Year.
55. Dan Hampton, Arkansas, Defensive Tackle
1978 First Team All-American and two-time All-SWC selection
Named 1978 Houston Post Outstanding Player of the Year in the SWC, recording 18 TFL during his senior campaign
Helped Hogs beat No. 19 Georgia in 1976 Cotton Bowl and No. 2 Oklahoma in 1978 Orange Bowl.
54. Trevor Cobb, Rice, Running Back
1991 consensus First Team All-American and Doak Walker Award winner
1992 Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year who finished career as the Owls’ all-time leading rusher (4,948 yards)
Rushed for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons and set 17 school records.
53. Larry Burton, Purdue, Split End
First Team All-American and Outstanding College Athlete of America in 1974 and a First Team All-Big Ten selection
Led the team in receiving in both 1973 and 1974
Named team captain and team MVP in 1974.
52. Matt Cavanaugh, Pittsburgh, Quarterback
1977 First Team All-American who led the Panthers to a 1976 national title
Led Pitt to three consecutive bowl wins, earning MVP honors in the 1977 Sugar and 1977 Gator bowls
Finished Pitt career ranked second all-time (behind only Tony Dorsett) with 3,916 career yards of total offense.
51. Morten Andersen, Michigan State, Placekicker
1981 First Team All-American who left MSU as the Big Ten’s all-time leader in field goals (45)
Set still-standing conference record with 63-yard field goal in 1981 and was a three-time All-Big Ten performer
Led the Spartans in scoring for three seasons.
Candidates for the Hall of Maybe
A strong case could be made that any of these players belong in the Hall of Fame discussion.
50. Ray Lewis, Miami (Fla.), Linebacker
1995 First Team All-American and Butkus Award runner-up
Led Canes to Fiesta and Orange Bowl appearances and ranks sixth all-time at Miami with 388 career tackles
Two-time First Team All-Big East performer who twice led the league in tackles.
49. Buddy McClinton, Auburn, Defensive Back
Three-time All-American who earned consensus First Team honors in 1969
Auburn’s all-time leader in interceptions (18) and holds record for interceptions in a season (9 in 1969)
Set SEC career interception record (18).
48. Tim Dwight, Iowa, Kick Returner/Wide Receiver
Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in 1997
First Team All-Big Ten who placed seventh in 1997 Heisman Trophy voting
Finished career as Big Ten’s leader in punt return yardage (1,102).
47. Jason Hanson, Washington State, Placekicker
Two-time First Team All-American, earning unanimous honors in 1989
Holds numerous NCAA, conference and school records, including longest field goal without a tee (62 yards) and career field goals of 40 yards or more (39)
Four-time All-Pac-10 selection and 1991 NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
46. Brian Urlacher, New Mexico, Defensive Back
1999 consensus First Team All-American and finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award
Led the nation in tackles (178) as a junior and named 1999 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year
1999 UNM Male Athlete of the Year who ranks fourth all-time in school history with 442 career tackles.
45. Steve Wisniewski, Penn State, Offensive Guard
1988 First Team All-American
Member of 1986 12-0 national championship team
Helped Blair Thomas rush for 1,414 yards and 11 touchdowns in 1987 and D.J. Dozier attain First Team All-America honors in 1986.
44. E.J. Junior, Alabama, Defensive End
1980 unanimous First Team All-American and member of two national championship teams (1978, 1979)
Three-time First Team All-SEC selection and 1980 SEC Lineman of the Year, who led Tide to two conference titles
Member of fabled goal, line stand defense vs. Penn State in 1979 Sugar Bowl.
43. Troy Vincent, Wisconsin, Defensive Back
1991 First Team All-American and runner-up for the 1991 Thorpe Award
Two-time All-Big Ten selection and 1991 Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Year
Finished career as Wisconsin’s leader in punt return yards (773) and passes defended (31).
42. Anthony Poindexter, Virginia, Defensive Back
Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in 1998
Three-time All-ACC pick and 1998 ACC Defensive Player of the Year
Holds five school records and finished career with 342 tackles and 12 interceptions.
41. Jackie Walker, Tennessee, Linebacker
1970 and ’71 First Team All-American
Set NCAA record for career interceptions returned for TD by a linebacker (5)
Two-time First Team All-SEC selection who helped Vols to 1969 SEC Championship.
40. Craig Heyward, Pittsburgh, Running Back
1987 consensus First Team All-American who led the nation in rushing his final season and finished fifth in Heisman voting
Left Pitt as the second-leading rusher in school history (behind only Tony Dorsett) with 3,086 career rushing yards
Rushed for at least 100 yards in every game of 1987 season.
39. Paul Palmer, Temple, Running Back
1986 unanimous First Team All-American
Led the nation in rushing yards (1,866), rushing yards per game (169.6) and All-purpose yards (2,633) in 1986
Set 23 school records and was named ECAC Player of the Year in 1986.
38. Jake Plummer, Arizona State, Quarterback
1996 First Team All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year
Led 1996 team to an undefeated regular season and first Rose Bowl appearance since 1986
Four-year starter and two-time ASU MVP who threw for more than 2,000 yards in three consecutive seasons (8,827 career passing yards).
37. Leslie O’Neal, Oklahoma State, Defensive Tackle
Two-time First Team All-American, earning unanimous honors in 1985
Three-time All-Big Eight selection and 1984 Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year, who led Pokes to three, straight bowl berths
Left OSU as school leader in career sacks (34), career TFL (47) and single, season sacks (16).
36. Torry Holt, N.C. State, Wide Receiver
1998 consensus First Team All-American who was the only receiver in the top 10 of the 1998 Heisman Trophy voting
1998 ACC Player of the Year who earned First Team All-Conference honors as a receiver and punt returner
NC State’s all-time leader in receiving (3,379) and all-purpose yards (1,979).
35. Lorenzo White, Michigan State, Running Back
Two-time First Team All-American, earning unanimous (’85) and consensus (’87) honors
Led State to 1987 Big Ten title and Rose Bowl win
Led nation in rushing (1985), first MSU player to lead team in rushing four-straight seasons.
34. Kenneth Davis, TCU, Running Back
1984 unanimous First Team All-American who finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting
Led the nation in yards per carry (7.6) and ranked second nationally in rushing yards (1,611) in 1984
1984 Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year who boasted nine 100-yard games in career.
33. Byron Hanspard, Texas Tech, Running Back
1996 unanimous First Team All-American and recipient of the Doak Walker Award
Tech’s all-time leader in rushing (4,219) who tied NCAA record by reaching 1,000, yard mark by fifth game of 1996 season
Three-time All-Big 12 selection, helping Red Raiders to first Cotton Bowl since 1938.
32. Lomas Brown, Florida, Offensive Tackle
1984 consensus First Team All-American and two-time All-SEC performer
Led Gators to three consecutive bowl berths and top 10 national final rankings in 1983 and 1984
Recipient of Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the SEC’s top blocker in 1984.
31. Jim Otis, Ohio State, Fullback
Named consensus First Team All-American in 1969
Member of the 1968 National Championship team
Named First Team All-Big Ten conference in 1969 and led the Buckeyes to two conference titles
Led the team in rushing three times.
Candidates for the Hall of Yeah, They Should Probably Be In
Yeah, fine … they should be in when all is said and done.
30. Jumbo Elliott, Michigan, Offensive Tackle
Two-time First Team All-American (consensus, ’87)
Two-time All-Big Ten First Team selection and member of 1986 Big Ten Co-Champions
Paved the way for Jamie Morris, who had three-straight 1,000-yard seasons.
29. Zach Wiegert, Nebraska, Offensive Tackle
1994 unanimous First Team All-American and winner of the Outland Trophy
Led Huskers to 1994 National Championship and 1993 National Championship game appearance
Three-time All-Big Eight selection who led Nebraska to league titles every year of career.
28. Andre Tippett, Iowa, Defensive End
1981 consensus First Team All-American who led Hawkeyes to 1982 Rose Bowl berth
Two-time First Team All-Big Ten performer, leading Iowa to 1981 Big Ten championship
Holds Iowa record for TFL yardage (153 yards/20 TFL).
27. David Fulcher, Arizona State, Defensive Back
Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in both 1984 and 1985
Three-time All-Pac-10 selection who led ASU to 1985 Holiday Bowl berth
Recorded 14 interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, and 286 tackles in career.
26. Brad Culpepper, Florida, Defensive Tackle
1991 consensus First Team All-American and recipient of the NFF Campbell Trophy as the nation’s top scholar-athlete
Two-time All-SEC selection who led Gators to first-ever SEC title in 1991
Ranks sixth all-time at Florida with 47.5 career TFL, a school record among defensive lineman.
25. Moe Gardner, Illinois, Defensive Tackle
Two-time First Team All-American (unanimous, ‘89, consensus, ’90)
1990 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and 1989 Big Ten Lineman of the Year
Three-time First Team All-Conference pick and set school record for career TFL (57).
24. Simeon Rice, Illinois, Linebacker
Two-time First Team All-American and three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection
Holds conference and school record for career sacks (44.5) and Illini record for career tackles for loss (69)
Set school record for single, season sacks (16).
23. Mark Carrier, Southern California, Defensive Back
Two-time First Team All-American (1988, 89) – unanimous in 1989
1989 Jim Thorpe Award winner
Two-time First Team All-Conference selection
Led the Pac-10 in interceptions in 1989 with seven.
22. D.J. Dozier, Penn State, Running Back
Named 1986 consensus First Team All-American and led PSU to perfect 12-0 season and national championship (1986)
Finished eighth in 1986 Heisman voting
First PSU back to lead the team in rushing for four consecutive seasons.
21. Aaron Taylor, Notre Dame, Offensive Tackle
Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in ‘92 and unanimous in ’93
1993 Lombardi Award winner and named College Interior Lineman of the Year by Touchdown Club of Columbus (Ohio)
Led Irish to four bowl games.
20. Dat Nguyen, Texas A&M, Linebacker
1998 unanimous First Team All-American and winner of both the Bednarik Award and Lombardi Trophy as a senior
1998 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Cotton Bowl MVP
Started 51 consecutive games and only player in Aggie history to lead team in tackles four seasons in a row.
19. Dana Howard, Illinois, Linebacker
Two-time First Team All-American, earning unanimous honors as a senior
1994 Butkus Award winner and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year
School’s all-time leading tackler (595) who led team in tackles each year of career.
18. Rickey Dixon, Oklahoma, Defensive Back
1987 consensus First Team All-American and winner of the 1987 Thorpe Award
Two-time First Team All-Big Eight selection and member of 1985 National Championship team
Finished career as school leader in single-season interceptions (9) and ranked second all-time with 17 career interceptions.
17. Tim Couch, Kentucky, Quarterback
1998 consensus First Team All-American who finished fourth in Heisman voting in 1998 and ninth in 1997
1998 SEC Player of the Year who led Cats to first win over Alabama in 75 years
Set seven NCAA, 14 SEC and 26 school records.
16. Kerry Collins, Penn State, Quarterback
1994 consensus First Team All-American and winner of the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien awards
Led the nation in passing efficiency (172.9) as a senior and named 1994 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year
Led Lions to 12-0 record, a Big Ten title and No. 2 final ranking in 1994.
Hall of Famers. No Debate.
Among the greatest players in college football history, or at the very least, are special enough to be in the Hall of Fame without question. Only ten get to go on the ballot, but all these players have to be in.
And before you get grouchy at this in any way, remember, this isn’t about who the most talented players were as much as it is about the most accomplished ones. You get bumped up if you win a Heisman and score extra points for taking a team to a national title.
15. Eric Bieniemy, Colorado, Running Back
Played in two national championships, leading Buffs to 1990 national title
Unanimous First Team All-American and finished third in 1990 Heisman voting
Two-time All-Big Eight pick, still holding eight CU records.
14. Mike Ruth, Boston College, Nose Guard
1985 consensus First Team All-American and Outland Trophy winner
Three-time All-East and All-ECAC selection
Member of three bowl teams and recorded 344 career tackles, including 29 sacks.
13. Bob Crable, Notre Dame, Linebacker
Two-time consensus First Team All-American in 1980 and 1981
Set ND records for most career tackles (521), most tackles in a season (187), most tackles in a game (26)
Played in 1981 Hula Bowl.
12. Antwaan Randle El, Indiana, Quarterback
2001 First Team consensus All-American
First player in FBS history to pass for 6,000 yards and rush for 3,000 yards in career
Rushed for more yards than any QB in FBS history upon conclusion of career.
11. Troy Polamalu, Southern California, Defensive Back
Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in 2002
Two-time First Team All-Pac-10 selection and finalist for the Thorpe Award as a senior
Two-year captain and 2001 USC MVP, who led Trojans to two bowl berths and a share of the 2002 Pac-10 title.
10. Keith Byars, Ohio State, Running Back
Unanimous First Team All-American and Heisman Trophy runner, up who led nation in rushing (1,764), all-purpose yards (2,441) and scoring (144) in 1984
1984 Big Ten MVP and two-time All-Big Ten selection
Ranks fifth all-time at OSU with 4,369 career all-purpose yards and 3,200 career rushing yards.
9. Michael Bishop, Kansas State, Quarterback
1998 consensus First Team All-American and winner of the Davey O’Brien Award
1998 Heisman Trophy runner-up who led Cats to 1998 Big 12 North title and berth in conference championship
Set 14 conference and 34 school records and boasts longest pass play in K-State history (97 yards).
8. Rashaan Salaam, Colorado, Tailback
1994 unanimous First Team All-American and Heisman Trophy winner
1994 Walter Camp Player of the Year and Doak Walker Award recipient
1994 Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year who led nation in rushing, scoring and All-purpose yards.
7. Terrell Buckley, Florida State, Defensive Back
1991 unanimous First Team All-American and winner of the Thorpe Award
Led the nation in interceptions (12) and return yards (501) during final season at FSU
Seminoles’ all-time leader in career interceptions (21) who returned four interceptions and three punts for touchdowns in career.
6. Eric Crouch, Nebraska, Quarterback
2001 Heisman, Walter Camp and Davey O’Brien Award winner who led Huskers to 2001 national title game
Finished career as NCAA record holder for career rushing TDs by a quarterback (59)
Led team to 42-9 record and four bowl berths.
5. Peyton Manning, Tennessee, Quarterback
1997 consensus First Team All-American and Heisman Trophy runner-up who won the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien awards and the NFF Campbell Trophy
Three-time All-SEC selection and 1997 SEC Player of the Year
Tennessee’s all-time leader in wins (39), passing yards (11,201) and TD passes (89) among others.
4. Raghib Ismail, Notre Dame, Wide Receiver
Two-time First Team All-American earning consensus honors in 1989 and unanimous laurels in 1990
Walter Camp Player of the Year and Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1990
Led ND to national championship at the Fiesta Bowl and two Orange Bowls.
3. Marshall Faulk, San Diego State, Running Back
Three-time First Team All-American, earning unanimous honors in 1992 and 1993
Three-time Heisman finalist (runner-up in 1992) who twice led the nation in rushing yards per game (1991, 1992)
1992 WAC Offensive Player of the Year who set NCAA record for yards in a single game (386).
2. Eric Dickerson, Southern Methodist, Running Back
Named unanimous First Team All-American and finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1982
Twice named SWC Player of the Year, he holds 14 SMU records including career rushing yards (4,450).
1. Matt Leinart, Southern California, Quarterback
Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in 2004
2004 Heisman Trophy winner who led Trojans to three consecutive national championship games (2003, 05), winning back-to-back AP titles in 2003 and 2004
Two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year who boasted three 3,000-yard passing seasons.