When the National Football Foundation put out the nominees for their 2019 Hall of Fame Ballot Monday afternoon it was lengthy, but we immediately honed in on a group of players that surprised us that they were not already in the Hall.
First, you must take into account not only criteria, but when someone is eligible to be put in, before leveling any questions and criticisms.
From the NFF press release announcing the list, here is that criteria:
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 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 2019 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1969 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.
So, with that taken int0 account. Here are several names that still have us scratching out head:
Ray Lewis (above): First team All American in 1995 and arguably one of the two or three greatest tacklers that the Miami Hurricanes have had (and that’s saying something). His last two years he was the most dominant defensive player in Big East East Conference and Miami went to the Fiesta Bowl and the Orange Bowl.
Now, the third criteria above is obviously a hold up, as Lewis was involved and charged with double homicide in a stabbing incident at the Superbowl in Atlanta in January of 2000. However, he maintained his innocence and was acquitted of all charges. Lewis was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in January on his first year of eligibility and will be inducted in Canton in July.
It’s hard to believe he’s not gotten in the college version to this point.
Eric Dickerson: A First Team All American and the old Southwest Conference Player of the year is also still SMU’s all time leading rusher and arguably one of the two or three greatest college running backs of 1980’s. He went on to Hall of Fame NFL career and was inducted almost 20 years ago (1999) in Canton.
Again, there was major scandal involving paying of players (including Dickerson) at SMU and they eventually received the NCAA Death Penalty for the football program. That’s a blotch, for sure.
However, it’s been 30 years. Dickerson deserves in the college hall at this point.
Raghib “Rocket” Ismail: A Two time All American at Notre Dame and largely regarded as the greatest kick returner in modern college football history. He was the Walter Camp National Player of the Year and then, runner of for the Heisman in 1990. Ismail was part of Notre Dame’s National Title in 1988 and then played for the title, again in 1990 in the Orange Bowl.
While he doesn’t have staggering receiving stats, he was one of the most dangerous open field players in the 40 years of the game. It’s hard to believe with “Notre Dame” next to his name that he’s not in. But it’s been more than 25 years since he played college football. He deserves it.
And finally, we may be a little more biased on this one but,
Terrell Buckley: 1991 Unanimous All American at FSU. Won the newly created (at that time) Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back. Led the NCAA that year with 12 interceptions, and finished with a Noles record 21 in his career that still stands today.
Buckley, out of the mold of Deion Sanders, was also an awesome punt returner, too and finished his career with seven total INT and Punt runback TDs in his career.
He only dominated for one great season, but FSU was a dominant program in the era that he played and “T Buck” was a great player in a what was an elite program every year for two decades.
He deserves a strong look.
Voting will continue among the thousands of those who are eligible from the National Football Foundation through June 22nd. Then, there will be an update on finalists, etc.
We have to believe that a couple of those names above will get the call next January to go to Atlanta and the CFP Hall of Fame home.
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