Picking The New Inductees To The College Football Hall Of Fame
It's that time of year when the College Football Hall of Fame asks for members of the media to submit their ballot for this years' inductees.
With over 40 former college football standouts eligible (and the ability to only select 11 to the Hall), there are many deserving candidates. From Jim Otis to Brian Urlacher, time has given us the best of the best. Now, I will highlight the most deserving athletes to be enshrined to immortality at the College Football Hall of Fame.
(in alphabetical order)
Keith Byers, RB, Ohio State (1982-1985)
A consensus All-American in 1984, as well as the runner-up to the Heisman Trophy, Byers torched the grass underneath of him for 1,764 yards and 22 touchdowns en route to a breakout season for the Buckeyes.
On top of that, Byers led the Buckeyes in all-purpose yards (2,441), and helped anchor the Buckeyes into a Rose Bowl berth.
Fun fact: the running back coach for Byers at Ohio State in 1984 was none other than Jim Tressel – who would head coach the Buckeyes to a title in 2003.
Here's a video of vintage Byers
Kerry Collins, QB, Penn State (1991-1994)
Collins led Penn State to a No. 2 final ranking in 1994 after thumping Oregon 38-20 in the Rose Bowl. However, due to the Big Ten and Pac-10 not belonging to the Bowl Coalition, Penn State was left out of the National Championship Game at the Orange Bowl.
Even though the Nittany Lions didn't get a shot at the title, Collins put up video game numbers in 1994 – leading all quarterbacks with 2,679 yards, and was the only quarterback that year to throw for over 2,000 yards. Collins brought home the O'Brien and Maxwell Awards, while finishing fourth in the Heisman voting in 1994.
Tom Cousineau, LB, Ohio State (1975-1978)
A two-time consensus All-American for the Buckeyes, Cousineau broke Ohio State records in 1978 for most tackles in a season (211) and tackles in a single game (29).
The lead up to the Cousineau reign of terror was his earning of the Orange Bowl MVP in 1976. From there, Cousineau plowed forward and became one of the all-time greats to ever suit up in the Scarlet and Gray.
Eric Dickerson, RB, SMU (1979-1982)
A bright spot on the Mustangs, Dickerson was instrumental in getting SMU an undefeated season in 1982. Even though the Mustangs tied Arkansas in their regular season finale, and had their national championship dreams dashed, Dickerson's body of work as part of the "Pony Express" wasn't forgotten. A consensus all-america honor, third place standing in the Heisman vote, and a Southwestern Conference title went home with Dickerson.
Dickerson was drafted second to the Los Angeles Rams in the 1983 Draft after accumulating 4,450 yards rushing for the Mustangs.
Jumbo Elliott, OT, Michigan (1984-1987)
A collegiate career that included a trip to the Fiesta Bowl and Rose Bowl, Elliott helped open up room at the line for his Wolverines. It's no wonder that Michigan's leading rusher at the time, Jamie Morris, had improved numbers each year as Elliott became more of a tour de force.
A two-time All-American, Elliott was the pancake specialist at the time, and got a Bo Schembechler team to as high as No. 2 in the country.
Kirk Gibson, WR, Michigan State (1975-1978)
Well before he was known as a prominent baseball player, and hitting one memorable home run, Gibson was a star wide receiver for Sparty.
Gibson led Michigan State in receiving for three seasons – averaging over 19 yards per catch in those seasons. The Spartans tied for a Big Ten title in 1978, the same season that Gibson earned All-American honors. On top of that, Michigan State had one of the top all-purpose offensive units in the country.
Raghib Ismail, WR, Notre Dame (1988-1990)
While finding success at track, Ismail showed even greater success at football.
A national championship in 1988, and two Orange Bowl appearances in 1989-1990, Ismail always played post season football for the Fighting Irish.
Ismail finished in the top-10 of the Heisman voting twice – coming in second in 1990 – and won the Camp Award in 1990.
A receiving juggernaut and kick return specialist, Ismail did everything needed to win the game.
Matt Leinart, QB, Southern California (2001-2005)
Where to start with Matt Leinart?
A 37-2 career starting record at USC, a Heisman trophy, a consensus All-American spot in 2004 and a dominating national championship win against Oklahoma, Leinart has to go down as one of the best quarterbacks to play for the Trojans.
Leinart orchestrated comebacks and commanded blowouts. USC dominated early in non-conference games, and found ways to win against the arch-rival, Notre Dame, in South Bend, Ind. (in a game that would be known as the "Bush Push").
Jim Otis, RB, Ohio State (1967-1969)
Adding to the lore of dominant rushers at Ohio State, Otis led the Buckeyes for three years in the rushing category. Otis helped the Scarlet and Gray to a national championship in 1968.
1969 was Otis' most dominant year – rushing for over a thousand yards and picking up consensus All-America honors. In the Ohio State history books, Otis ranks among the likes of Archie Griffin in the category for most career rushing yards.
Brian Urlacher, DL, New Mexico (1997-1999)
After spending his early days as a Lobo on the bench, Urlacher was given more playing time under new head coach Rocky Long. With a new head coach (and new defensive coaching staff), Urlacher excelled in his new defensive scheme.
A powerful 1999 season earned Urlacher the Mountain West Conference player of the year and All-American honors.
Urlacher ended his Lobos' career with over 440 tackles, three interceptions and 11 forced fumbles.
Lorenzo White, RB, Michigan State (1984-1987)
White led the Spartans in rushing for his duration in East Lansing, Mich. The breakout seasons White had were in 1985, where he scorched the ground for 2,066 yards, and in 1987, where he rushed for a little over 1,500 yards. Both those years for White earned him All-American accolades.
White helped bring home the 1987 Big Ten championship to Michigan State, the Spartans first outright Big Ten championship since 1966.