2014 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot Released: Latest Details and Reaction

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2014 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot Released: Latest Details and Reaction
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 College Football Hall of Fame ballot was announced Thursday, and there are a handful of legendary names on the list.    

According to a press release from the National Football Foundation, the organization has disseminated a 75-player, six-coach Football Bowl Subdivision ballot and an 87-player, 26-coach ballot from the divisional ranks.

Stars like Brian Bosworth, Derrick Thomas, Tim Couch, Eric Crouch, Eric Dickerson, Keyshawn Johnson, Ray Lewis, Cade McNown, Simeon Rice, Warren Sapp, Sterling Sharpe, LaDainian Tomlinson, Ricky Williams and many more are all vying to be enshrined with the Class of 2014.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It’s going to be tough for the 12,000 NFF members and current Hall members that make up the voting body to narrow down their choices. It will be even harder for the NFF Honors Court to make the final decision on who makes the cut.

There are simply so many worthy players on the ballot that some elite players are inevitably going to be snubbed. However, NFF President and CEO Steven J. Hatchell explained why even being listed on the ballot is a great achievement, via the press release:

It’s an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 4.99 million people have played college football. The Hall’s requirement of being a First-Team All-American creates a much smaller pool of only 1,500 individuals who are even eligible to be on the ballot, so being in today’s elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to ever have played the game.

With a facility opening in Atlanta later this year, the crop of talent to be enshrined in the shiny new building may be one of the best ever.

Let’s take a look at the every FBS player and coach on the ballot, highlight the complete eligibility requirements and point out what folks around the web are saying about this announcement:

2014 Football Bowl Subdivision Player Ballot
Name Position School
Trev Alberts LB Nebraska
Eric Bieniemy RB Colorado
Dre Bly DB North Carolina
Tony Boselli OT USC
Brian Bosworth LB Oklahoma
Bob Breunig LB Arizona State
Jerome Brown DT Miami
Ruben Brown OT Pitt
Larry Burton WR Purdue
Dave Butz DT Purdue
Freddie Carr LB UTEP
Mark Carrier S USC
Wes Chandler WR Florida
Shane Conlan LB Penn State
Tim Couch QB Kentucky
Tom Cousineau LB Ohio State
Bob Crable LB Notre Dame
Paul Crane C/LB Alabama
Eric Crouch QB Nebraska
Randall Cunningham QB/P UNLV
Troy Davis RB Iowa State
Eric Dickerson RB SMU
Mike Dirks DT Wyoming
D.J. Dozier RB Penn State
Tim Dwight WR/Returner Iowa
Jumbo Elliott OT Michigan
William Fuller DT North Carolina
Thom Gatewood WR Notre Dame
Willie Gault WR Tennessee
Kirk Gibson WR Michigan State
Charlie Gogolak K Princeton
Joe Hamilton QB Georgia Tech
Al Harris DE Arizona State
Dana Howard LB Illinois
Randy Hughes DB Oklahoma
Bobby Humphrey RB Alabama
Raghib Ismail WR Notre Dame
Roy Jefferson WR Utah
Ernie Jennings WR Air Force
Keyshawn Johnson WR USC
Clinton Jones RB Michigan State
Lincoln Kennedy OT Washington
Tim Krumrie DT Wisconsin
Greg Lewis RB Washington
Jesse Lewis DT Oregon State
Ray Lewis LB Miami
Robert Lytle RB Michigan
Bob McKay OT Texas
Cade McNown QB UCLA
Mark Messner DL Michigan
Darrin Nelson RB Stanford
Ken Norton Jr LB UCLA
Tom Nowatzke FB Indiana
Jim Otis FB Ohio State
Paul Palmer RB Temple
Antwaan Randle El QB Indiana
Simeon Rice LB Illinois
Ron Rivera LB Cal
Willie Roaf OL Louisiana Tech
Mike Ruth NG Boston College
Rashaan Salaam RB Colorado
Warren Sapp DT Miami
John Sciarra QB UCLA
Larry Seivers WR Tennessee
Sterling Sharpe WR South Carolina
Art Still DE Kentucky
Derrick Thomas LB Alabama
Zach Thomas LB Texas Tech
LaDainian Tomlinson RB TCU
Jackie Walker LB Tennessee
Wesley Walls TE Mississippi
Lorenzo White RB Michigan State
Clarence Williams RB Washington State
Ricky Williams RB Texas
Steve Wisniewski OG Penn State

National Football Foundation

2014 Football Bowl Subdivision Coaches Ballot
Name Teams
Mike Belotti Chico State, Oregon
Jim Carlen West Virginia, Texas Tech, South Carolina
Pete Cawthon Texas Tech
Danny Ford Clemson, Arkansas
Billy Jack Murphy Memphis
Darryl Rogers Cal State-Hayward, Fresno State, San Jose State, Michigan State, Arizona State

National Football Foundation

 

*Complete ballot can be found via the National Football Foundation.

 

Eligibility

There is an extremely limited amount of players that are even eligible to make the College Football Hall of Fame, largely due to stringent requirements. The NFF press release provides a breakdown:

To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been named a First Team All-American by a major/national selector as recognized and utilized by the NCAA for their consensus All-America teams; played their last year of intercollegiate football at least 10 years prior; played within the last 50 years and cannot be currently playing professional football. Coaches must have coached a minimum of 10 years and 100 games as a head coach; won at least 60 percent of their games; and be retired from coaching for at least three years. If a coach is retired and over the age of 70, there is no waiting period. If he is over the age of 75, he is eligible as an active coach. In both cases, the candidate’s post-football record as a citizen may also be weighed.

The NFF noted that just .0002 percent of those that have played college football in the last 145 years have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, a mere 934 out of the 4.99 million players to have ever played in college.

While the club is exclusive, some supremely talented collegiate stars have been barred from entrance.

Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com pointed out that Joe Montana would never be a Hall of Famer unless the requirements change:

The NFF election process is arcane and confusing. Based on current rules, Notre Dame's Joe Montana will never be in the College Football Hall of Fame. He was never an All-American on a team recognized by the NCAA. If that sounds outrageous, consider that at one time hall of famers had to actually graduate.

Regardless, there are a ton of great candidates to choose from this year, and the 2014 Class should be one of the Hall’s best yet. Let’s take a look at some of the top-tier talent up for enshrinement.

 

Notable Players

Eric Dickerson, RB, SMU

Associated Press

Dickerson put together a special career during his time at Southern Methodist University.

He was a unanimous First-Team All-American and came in third during the Heisman Trophy voting in 1982, was the SWC Player of the Year on two occasions and holds numerous Mustangs records that still stand today, including most career rushing yards with 4,450.

Dickerson’s junior and senior seasons were two of the most memorable in college history. He rushed for 1,428 yards and 19 touchdowns in 1981 (his junior year) and followed that up with a 1,617-yard, 17-score outing in his final SMU campaign.

Matt Park said that Dickerson, who went on to have an immensely successful professional career, has to be a shoo-in to make the 2014 Class:

Due to his incredible body of work with the Mustangs, it’s hard to picture a College Football Hall of Fame without the Sealy, Texas, native.

 

Derrick Thomas, LB, Alabama

Allen Steele/Getty Images

Thomas was an absolute nightmare for offensive coordinators to deal with during his time with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The star linebacker was a unanimous First-Team All-American in 1988 and also won the Butkus Award and was named the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year during the same season.

He helped the Tide roll to four straight bowl appearances and set the NCAA career sack record with 52. His total of 74 tackles for loss also ranks amongst the top in that statistical category.

It shocked Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated when he saw Thomas’ name on the ballot, as he figured that the superstar would have already been enshrined:

Regardless, it is better late than never for D.T. The Miami native was a clear standout during his time in Tuscaloosa and he should be forever remembered within the hallowed grounds of the College Football Hall of Fame.

 

Brian Bosworth, LB, Oklahoma

Anonymous/Associated Press

Bosworth had to wait 14 long years since the time he was eligible to finally get put on the ballot. It’s been a long time coming, but that has not diminished the superstar linebacker’s collegiate achievements one bit.

The Sooners product was a two-time consensus All-American in 1985 and 1986, also winning the Butkus Award in each of those seasons. His defensive prowess helped Oklahoma to three straight Orange Bowl appearances and the 1985 national championship.

Bosworth holds the Sooner record for most tackles in a game with 22 and led the team in that category from 1984 through 1986.

Will Bosworth make the Hall of Fame this year?

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Don’t expect “The Boz” to be too excited about this, however, as he told Dodd he didn’t want to be part of the Hall of Fame back in 2012: "I don't need to be part of some club. To me, the last thing I want to do is be reminded I'm not playing anymore. It crushes me."

Regardless, voters should still elect to enshrine Bosworth to the Hall of Fame. He’s as worthy a candidate as any of the 75 on the ballot, and his tenure with Oklahoma was historically memorable.

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