The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced the names on the 2018 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, including 75 players and six coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision. Nine of those are from Big 12 institutions.
"It's an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 5.19 million people have played college football and only 987 players have been inducted," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "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. So being in today's elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to ever have played the game, and we are extremely proud to announce their names. We look forward to revealing the 2018 Class prior to the CFP National Championship in Atlanta, the esteemed home of the College Football Hall of Fame."
The ballot was emailed today 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 Courts, which will deliberate and select the class. The FBS Honors Court, chaired by NFF Board Member and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Griffin from Ohio State, and the Divisional Honors Court, chaired by former Marshall head coach, longtime athletics director and NFF Board Member Jack Lengyel, include an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletic administrators, Hall of Famers and members of the media.
The announcement of the 2018 Class will be made Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Atlanta. The city is serving as the host for the CFP National Championship, which will be played later that day at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Some of the inductees will be on site during the announcement to represent the class and share their thoughts on being elected. The Jan. 8 announcement will be televised live, and specific viewing information will be available as the date draws near. A few inductees will also participate in the pregame festivities and the coin toss before the championship game.
The 2018 class will officially be inducted during the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 4, 2018, at the New York Hilton Midtown. The inductees will be permanently enshrined at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta later that December and honored on the field during the 14th Annual National Hall of Fame Salute during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. They will also be honored at their respective schools at an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the 2018 season.
The criteria for Hall of Fame consideration include:
- First and foremost, a player must have received First-Team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise their consensus All-America teams.
- A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation's Honors Courts 10 full seasons after his final year of intercollegiate football played.
- While each nominee's football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post-football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and his fellow man, with love of his country. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether or not the candidate earned a college degree.
- Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years.* For example, to be eligible for the 2018 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1968 or thereafter. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.
- A coach becomes eligible three full seasons after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.
*Players who do not comply with the 50-year rule may still be eligible for consideration by the Football Bowl Subdivision and Divisional Veterans Committees.
Once nominated for consideration, all player candidates are submitted to one of eight District Screening Committees, depending on their school's geographic location, which conducts a vote to determine who will appear on the ballot and represent their respective districts. Each year, approximately 15 candidates, who are not selected for the Hall of Fame, will be named automatic holdovers and will bypass the district screening process and automatically appear on the ballot the following year. Additionally, the Veterans Committee may make recommendations to the Honors Court for exceptions that allow for the induction of players who played more than 50 years ago.
Of the 5.19 million individuals who have played college football since Princeton first battled Rutgers on Nov. 6, 1869, only 987 players, including the 2017 class, have earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, or less than two ten-thousandths (.0002) of one percent of those who have played the game during the past 149 years. From the coaching ranks, 214 individuals have achieved Hall of Fame distinction.
Players from Big 12 Schools
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 while throwing for 2,844 yards and 23 TDs and rushing for 748 yards and 14 TDs in 1998 championship season.
Kenneth Davis, Texas Christian-Running Back-1984 unanimous First Team All-American who finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting and led Frogs to first bowl in 19 seasons...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.
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.
Martín Gramática, Kansas State-Placekicker-Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in 1997...1997 Lou Groza Award winner and two-time First Team All-Big 12 selection...Set NCAA record with a 65-yard field goal (without a tee) and holds 22 scoring records at K-State.
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.
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).
Coaches from Big 12 Schools
Mack Brown-Appalachian State (1983), Tulane (1985-87), North Carolina (1988-97), Texas (1998-2013)-Led teams to 20 consecutive winning seasons (1990-2009) and had most overall wins (225) nationally from 1990-2013... Guided Tar Heels to a 21-3 record during last two seasons at UNC...Led Texas to the 2005 National Championship, two Big 12 titles and to 162 consecutive weeks ranked in the AP poll (2000-10).
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.
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.