The National Football Foundation announced on Tuesday, March 5, the 77 players and five coaches that will be on the 2013 Football Bowl Subdivision Ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame.
The organization's official website provided an explanation of the process in its statement:
The ballot was mailed this week to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF’s Honors Court, which deliberates and selects the class.
The class will be announced live in New York City on May 7, and it is an especially selective process to get in.
Players had to have been named as a First Team All-American during their careers, which has helped keep the Hall of Fame capacity down to 918 out of the roughly 4.92 million people that have ever played collegiate football.
Here is a look at some of the biggest names vying for a spot in South Bend. The complete list of those on the ballot can be found following the NFF's Tuesday press release.
Eric Dickerson, RB, SMU
After sharing time in his first two seasons with the Mustangs, Dickerson broke out into a superstar. As a junior, the future Los Angeles Ram bolted for 1,428 yards and 19 touchdowns—only to top it as a senior on fewer carries with 1,617 yards (seven yards per carry) and 17 scores.
That 1982 senior campaign garnered Dickerson with the required All-American status to be eligible for this induction. He finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting that year, too.
Dickerson already has a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and should be a strong candidate to double-dip.
He holds 14 records at SMU, including career rushing yards despite just two full seasons as the go-to option in the backfield. That type of production in such a limited time should warrant strong consideration, even though Dickerson is more known for his NFL single-season rushing record.
Tedy Bruschi, DE, Arizona
More of New England Patriots fame these days, the former Wildcat actually had a stellar collegiate career as a dominant pass-rusher.
Bruschi won First Team All-American honors twice, and racked up an NCAA record-tying 52 sacks in his career. He was the emotional centerpiece of the Wildcats' "Desert Swarm" defense, and his passion for the game made him a fan favorite (h/t TucsonCitizen.com).
The biggest highlight came as a sophomore, when Bruschi set the school record with 19 sacks and Arizona won the Fiesta Bowl 29-0. Bruschi was Defensive Player of the Game.
As a senior in 1995, Bruschi was named the Pac-10 conference Defensive Player of the Year, and he was also a three-time First Team All-Conference selection.
Ron Dayne, RB, Wisconsin
The NCAA's all-time leading rusher with 6,397 yards has to be a big favorite to get his Hall of Fame due this time around. That number doesn't even include bowl games, either, which amasses to over 7,000 yards.
Dayne was simply dominant as the workhorse back in the Badgers' backfield. Although he didn't live up to the hype in the pros as the No. 11 overall pick of the New York Giants, he was still among the greatest college runners ever.
His four-year career at Wisconsin featured double-digit touchdowns in each season, including a personal best 19 as a senior.
That incredible finish of 1,845 yards on 6.1 per carry led to a 1999 Heisman Trophy win, as well as the Walter Camp, Doak Walker and Maxwell awards.