The 2019 College Football Hall of Fame ballot for the 2020 class has been released highlighted by Julius Peppers, Josh Heupel, Roy Williams, James Laurinaitis, and other legends to choose from.
Ranking All Players On The 2020 Hall of Fame Ballot
The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the names on the 2020 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, including 76 players and five coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision.
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?
Really … who were the best of the all-time best players? Welcome to a ranking of all player FBS nominees and coaches based on how much they deserve to be in. 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 2020 class, the player had to have finished his career by 1970.
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.
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.
All player bullet points taken from the National Football Foundation footballfoundation.org.
76. 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.
75. Marvin Harrison, Syracuse, Kick Returner/Wide Receiver
– 1995 First Team All-American as a kick returner and 1995 Big East Special Teams Player of the Year
– Three-time All-Big East selection who set a conference record with a 94-yard punt return for a TD in 1995
– Left Syracuse as the school’s all-time receiving leader (2,718 yards).
74. Ed McCaffrey, Stanford, Wide Receiver
-1990 First Team All-American and two-time Stanford MVP
-1990 First Team All-Pac-10 receiver who led the Cardinal in receiving yards three-of-four years
-Ranks in the top 10 all-time at Stanford with 146 career receptions and 2,333 career receiving yards.
73. 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.
72. Mike Hass, Oregon State, Wide Receiver
– 2005 First Team All-American and recipient of the 2005 Biletnikoff Award
– Two-time First Team All-Pac-10 selection and first receiver in league history with three 1,000-yard receiving seasons
– Led the nation with 139.9 receiving ypg (2005) and holds virtually every Oregon State receiving record.
71. Gregg Carr, Auburn, Linebacker
– 1984 consensus First Team All-American and NFF National Scholar-Athlete
– Three-time First Team All-SEC selection and 1984 SEC Lineman of the Year
– Twice led Auburn in tackles, helping the Tigers to the 1983 SEC title and three consecutive bowl wins.
70. Marco Coleman, Georgia Tech, Linebacker
-1991 First Team All-America pick
-Two-time First Team All-ACC, leading Jackets to the national championship and an 11-0-1 record in 1990
-28 career sacks rank 14th all-time in ACC history.
69. 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.
68. Chris Ward, Ohio State, Offensive Tackle
-Two-time First Team All-American (consensus-’76, unanimous-’77)
-Three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection who helped Buckeyes to at least a share of four conference titles
-Blocked for Archie Griffin during second Heisman Trophy-winning campaign.
67. Flozell Adams, Michigan State, Offensive Tackle
-1997 First Team All-American and Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year
– Three-time All-Big Ten performer who helped Spartans to three consecutive bowl appearances
– Helped running backs rush for more than 100 yards in 21 games throughout career and allowed only two QB sacks in 1997 season.
66. 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.
65. 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.
64. Michael Westbrook, Colorado, Wide Receiver
– 1994 consensus First Team All-American who led Buffs to four bowl berths and four top 20 finishes
– Two-time All-Big Eight performer, leading CU to a share of the 1991 league title
– Still holds eight school records and caught a 64-yard game-winning pass in the 1994 “Miracle at Michigan.”
63. Aaron Beasley, West Virginia, Defensive Back
– 1995 consensus First Team All-American led the nation in INTs (10) in 1994
– Two-time First Team All-Big East selection who led WVU to an undefeated regular season and a 1993 Big East title
– 19 career INTs and holds two of the top five single-season PBU performances in Mountaineer history.
62. 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.
61. Kevin Carter, Florida, Defensive End
– 1994 consensus First Team All-American who led the Gators to four-straight bowl games
– Three-time All-SEC performer who helped Florida to SEC titles in 1991, 1993 and 1994
– Ranks in the top 10 all-time at Florida with 21.8 sacks and 42.5 TFL in career.
60. Cade McNown, UCLA, Quarterback
-1998 Consensus First Team All-American and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award recipient
-1998 Pac-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year who led UCLA to consecutive Pac-10 titles in 1997 (shared) and 1998-Holds numerous school records.
59. 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.
58. 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.
57. Jerome Brown, Miami, Defensive Tackle
– 1986 unanimous First Team All-American and finalist for both the Outland and Lombardi trophies as senior
– Helped Canes to four consecutive New Year’s Day bowl games
– Ranks 10th in school history with 21 career sacks.
56. Dallas Clark, Iowa, Tight End
– 2002 unanimous First Team All-American and winner of the Mackey Award as the nation’s best tight end
– Two-time All-Big Ten selection who helped Iowa to a share of the 2002 Big Ten title and its first-ever 11-win season (2002)
– Holds record for longest pass reception in school history (95 yards).
55. 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.