The College Football Hall of Fame ballot was delivered today to eligible voters. Dave Congrove, the owner of CollegeFootballPoll.com and creator of the Congrove Computer Rankings (began 1993), is a voter for numerous individual awards and the Hall of Fame.
After studying the ballot, he wasted little no time in returning his selections.
"It was quite easy to do as there are players I have voted for over the previous two years that did not get in, and I firmly believe that most of them will, if not all of them will. My only new choice this year was Stanford QB Andrew Luck, a no-brainer selection who should easily garner enough votes to get acceptance in his inaugural year of eligibility.
Members of the National Football Foundation, as well as athletics directors, coaches and members of CoSIDA are responsible for the final vote induction into the Hall of Fame:
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 years 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 fellow man. 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 2014 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1964 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 years 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 that do not comply with the 50-year rule may still be eligible for consideration by the Football Bowl Subdivision and Divisional Honors Review Committees, which examine unique cases.
The 2022 class will be announced early next year with more specific details to come regarding where and when.
Voters can select up to 12 bowl subdivision players from a list of 78, and 2 FBS coaches from among 7 candidates. Voters may also select 4 'divisional players" out of 99 possibles 2 'divisional coaches' from a list of 33.
Here are Congrove's 12 selections for FBS player:
Champ Bailey, DB, Georgia. The 1998 Nagurski winner also returned kicks and played wide receiver. He became a 12-time Pro Bowl selection in the NFL and was a 2019 NFL H-O-F inductee.
Dan Hampton, DT, Arkansas. This 1978 First Team All-American amassed 237 tackles in 3 seasons as a starter with 32 TFL's. He played his entire 12-year NFL career with the Chicago Bears. "The Danimal" was enshrined in the NFL Hall-Of-Fame in 2002.
Marvin Harrison, WR, Syracuse. He became all-time receiving leader for the Orange with over 2,700 yards, but was named First Team All-American in 1995 as a returner. His 13 NFL seasons were spent entirely with he Indianapolis Colts and is a 2016 NFL Hall Of Fame inductee.
Marvin Jones, LB, Florida State. Jones was a two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in 1991 and unanimous honors in 1992 He won the 1992 Butkus and Lombardi awards, and was named the 1992 Sporting News Defensive Player of the Year. He played all 11 of his NFL seasons with the New York Jets where "Shade Tree" collected Pro Bowl honors in 2000 with 133 tackles, and he eclipsed himself the following season with 135.
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford. His NFL career was cut short by injuries, but he still managed to throw for 23,671 yards with 171 TD's in just 6 seasons - all with Indianapolis - while being named to 4 Pro Bowl teams. In college, Luck was a 2-time Heisman finalist and a 2-time First Team All-American. In 3 years with the Cardinal, his teams went 31-7 as he threw for 9,430 yards and 82 TD"s against just 22 INT's.
Corey Moore, LB, Virginia Tech. Moore was the epitome of a fantastic college player whose skills simply didn't transition to the NFL. He helped lead the Hokies to the national championship game in the 1999 season when he captured the Lombardi and Nagurski awards as college football's best defensive player, and was a unanimous First Team All-American.
Ken Norton, Jr., LB, UCLA. The son of a one-time World Champion Heavyweight boxer, the high school running back was converted to Linebacker by the Bruins and he wreaked havoc at that position for 4 seasons as he registered 339 tackles. The 1987 First Team All-American would go on to become a 3-time Super Bowl champion and a 3-time pro bowler before turning his attention to coaching at rival USC in 2004. He has been an NFL assistant since 2010.
Julius Peppers, DE, North Carolina. Peppers was a 2001 unanimous First Team All-American and winner of the 2001 Bednarik and Lombardi awards before spending 16 seasons in the NFL where he accumulated 159.5 sacks, 21 fumble recoveries and 11 INT's. He owns the NFL record for most forced fumbles with 55.
Antwaan Randle El, QB, Indiana. He played QB for the Hoosiers but did anything and everything to help his teams. He was a First Team All-American in 2001 when he threw for 1,664 yards and 9 TD's, ran for just under 1,000 yards and 8 TD's, caught 4 passes, returned 16 punts, and also served as the punter 8 times. That versatility served him well as he began his NFL career with 91 consecutive starts as a return man, receiver and occasional QB. He spent last season as an assistant coach with the Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Bucs.
Ron Rivera, LB, California. The 1983 First Team All-American finished his career in Berkeley with school records of 22 sacks and 336 tackles (since broken). He would then spend 9 seasons with the Chicago Bears as a linebacker and on special teams. He was been the head coach of the Carolina Panthers from 2010-2019 and became head coach of the Washington Football Team last season.
Troy Vincent, DB, Wisconsin - The 1991 First Team All-American finished his career as Wisconsin’s leader in punt return yards (773) and passes defended (31). He went on to spend 15 seasons in the NFL where his accolades include the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2002.
Steve Wisneiwski, OG, Penn State - The 1988 First Team All-American was a member of the undefeated 1986 national championship team (12-0) when he also helped D.J. Dozier attain First Team All-America honors. The following year, he helped clear the path for Blair Thomas who rushed for 1,414 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Here are Congrove's 2 selections for FBS coach:
Larry Blakeney - It's a fourth straight year I have voted for Blakeney. Rudy Hubbard and Bob Stoops were admitted last year (I voted for Stoops when I voted for Blakeney and Stoops. Otherwise, Darryl Rogers has joined Blakeney on my list every year since 2019, following my selections of Frank Beamer and Mack Brown in 2018 who were both admitted on their first ballot.
Why Blakeney? He spent 24 seasons at Troy and retired with a record of 178-113-1, including a 77-39 in the Sun Belt. He began his career by transitioning the Trojans from glory in D2 to dominance in the FCS, and then on to success at the FBS level. His teams captured 8 conference titles, made 7 seven FCS playoff appearances in his first 8 seasons, and then made 4 bowl trips after the step-up to the FBS with victories in 2006 and 2010. He came to Troy after 14 seasons as an offense assistant at Auburn.
Darryl Rogers - His record may not stand out as he was 129-84-7 in 20 seasons at the college ranks. But he climbed the ladder at every opportunity, but his head coach beginnings with Cal State Hayward in 1965 to his five seasons at Arizona State (37-18-1) from 1980-1984. In between Hayward and ASU, he took Fresno State to two bowl games and achieved an unprecedented national ranking at San Jose State. Then it was on to Michigan State where he was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1977, followed by National Coach of the Year honors by The Sporting News in 1978 when his team split the Big Ten title with rival Michigan (despite beating Michigan 24-15).
He left the Sun Devils to become the head coach of the Detroit Lions where he was famously quoted as asking reporters, "What do you have to do to get fired around here?"
Here are Congrove's 4 selections for Divisional Player:
Vincent Brown, LB, MVSU - "The Undertaker" was a 1987 First Team All-American selection who led the entire NCAA in tackles in 1986 and 1987, set NCAA All-Divisions record with 570 career tackles, was a two-time All-SWAC selection, and led MVSU in tackles his last three seasons.
Blake Elliott, WR, St. John's (MN) - Two-time First Team All-American and winner of the 2003 Gagliardi Trophy…Two-time MIAC Player of the Year who holds NCAA All-Divisions record of 47 consecutive games with a reception…Led SJU to 2003 DIII national title and owns 29 school records.
Bob Gaddis, WR, MVSU - 1974 First Team All-American and Pittsburgh Courier National Receiver of the Year…Named 1970 NAIA Freshman of the Year en route to twice leading the NAIA in yards per catch (1971-72)…Three-time All-SWAC selection led conference in yards per catch all four years.
Joe Skladany, LB, Lafayette - Named First Team All-American in 1981…Four-year starter who never missed a game…Boasts school records for career tackles (532) and blocked kicks in a season (3)…Team captain and two-time Team MVP who led nation’s second-ranked defense in 1981.
(Editor's note: Two of the four selections for FCS players went to Mississippi Valley State with Bob Gaddis starring in Itta Bena in the 70's, and Vincent Brown following suit in the mid-1980's. In between, Jerry Rice became the most-famous player to hail from the Delta Devils and actually played with Brown when the latter was an incoming freshman.
Here are Congrove's 2 selections for Divisional Coach:
John Luckhardt, Washington & Jefferson (PA) (1982-98), California (PA) (2002-11) - Led teams to 14 conference titles and 16 NCAA playoff appearances…Led W&J to Stagg Bowl in 1992 and ’94 and named national runner-up both seasons…1992 AFCA DIII Coach of the Year and all-time winningest coach at W&J and Cal.
Lou Wacker, Emory & Henry (VA) (1982-2004) - Most wins in Emory & Henry history, leading the Wasps to five NCAA playoff appearances…11 ODAC titles, including six-of-seven from 1994-00…Boasted a 37-game home winning streak from 1991-98.