IRVING, Texas – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced on Monday the names on the 2019 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, including 76 players and six coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 100 players and 32 coaches from the divisional ranks. The list also featured 7 players and 5 coaches from HBCUs.
“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 5.26 million people have played college football and only 997 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 about 1,500 individuals who are even eligible. Being in today’s elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to have ever played the game, and those actually elected to the Class will be part of a momentous year as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of college football in 2019.”
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.
“Having a ballot and a voice in the selection of the inductees is one of the most cherished NFF member benefits,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, a 1989 Hall of Fame inductee from Mississippi. “There is no group more knowledgeable or passionate about college football than our membership, and the tradition of the ballot helps us engage them in the lofty responsibility of selecting those who have reached the pinnacle of achievement in our sport.”
The announcement of the 2019 Class will be made Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. The city is serving as the host for the CFP National Championship, which will be played later that day at Levi’s Stadium. Some of the electees will be on site during the announcement to represent the class and share their thoughts on being elected. The Jan. 7 announcement will be televised live, and specific viewing information will be available as the date draws near. Several of the electees will also participate in the pregame festivities and the coin toss before the championship game.
“We cannot thank CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock and his staff enough for the opportunity to continue the tradition of announcing our Hall of Fame Class in conjunction with the National Championship,” said Hatchell. “Our presence at the title game has significantly raised the profile of the announcement, allowing us to shine a much brighter light on the accomplishments of our game’s greatest legends.”
The 2019 class will officially be inducted during the 62nd NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 10, 2019, 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 15th Annual National Hall of Fame Salute during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. They will also be honored at their respective schools with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the 2019 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 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.
*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 5.26 million individuals who have played college football since Princeton first battled Rutgers on Nov. 6, 1869, only 997 players have earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, or less than two one-hundredths of a percent (.02%) of those who have played the game during the past 149 years. From the coaching ranks, 217 individuals have achieved Hall of Fame distinction.
The 2019 voting deadline is June 22.
2019 DIVISIONAL HBCU PLAYER CANDIDATE CAPSULE BIOS
Ashley Ambrose, Mississippi Valley State-Defensive Back-1991 First Team All-American and First Team All-SWAC selection…Named SWAC Defensive Back and Return Specialist of the Year in 1991…Led nation in punt returns during senior campaign.
Vincent Brown, Mississippi Valley State-Linebacker-1987 First Team All-American, leading the NCAA in tackles in 1986 and 1987…Set NCAA All-Divisions record with 570 career tackles…Two-time All-SWAC selection who led MVSU in tackles his last three seasons.
Parnell Dickinson, Mississippi Valley State-Quarterback-1975 First Team All-American and Pittsburgh Courier National Player of the Year…Four-time All-SWAC selection and conference Player of the Year as a senior…Finished career as SWACís all-time leader in total offense (7,442 yards).
William Dillon, Virginia Union-Free Safety-Three-time First Team All-America selection (1980-82)…Tallied 16 interceptions in 1983…1983 Black College Player of the Year…Two-time First Team All-Conference selection and Player of the Year (1981-82).
Bob Gaddis, Mississippi Valley State-Wide Receiver-1974 First Team All-American and Pittsburgh Courier National Receiver of the YearÖNamed 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 the conference in yards per catch all four years.
Steve McNair, Alcorn State-Quarterback-1994 First Team All-American and the all-time passing leader (14,496) in the FCS…Finished third in 1994 Heisman Trophy voting and the only four-time SWAC Offensive Player of the Year in league history…1994 Walter Payton Award winner who led Braves to two SWAC titles and two NCAA playoff appearances.
Tyrone Poole, Fort Valley State (Ga.)-Defensive Back-First Team All-America selection in 1994…Two-time Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Defensive Player of the Year (1993-94) who led FVSU to two conference titles…Recorded 44 pass breakups and 17 interceptions, returning four for TDs.
2019 DIVISIONAL HBCU COACH CANDIDATE CAPSULE BIOS
Rudy Hubbard–Florida A&M (1974-85)-Captured back-to-back national championships, 1977 and 1978, including the inaugural NCAA Division I-AA National Title in 1978…Led A&M to back-to-back SIAC championships.
Eddie Hurt–Virginia Lynchburg (1925-28), Morgan State (1930-59)-Led Morgan State to six Black College National Championship and 14 CIAA titles…Posted 11 undefeated seasons, including the 1943 team that did not allow a score from a single opponent…From 1932-39, led Bears to 54-game streak without a loss.
Dwight Reed–Lincoln (Mo.) (1949-71)-Teams won three conference titles…Coached 93 All-Americans in four sports…The football stadium at Lincoln University was named for him.
Gideon Smith-Hampton (1921-40)-Led Pirates to 1922 Black College National Championship… Recorded four CIAA titles and two unbeaten seasons in career…Longest tenured coach in Hampton history, boasting the second-most wins all-time at the school.
Joe Taylor–Howard (1983), Virginia Union (1984-91), Hampton (1992-07), Florida A&M (2008-12)-Winningest coach in Hampton history (74%), leading Pirates to four Black College National Championships…Led teams to 10 conference titles and 10 playoff appearances throughout career…Four-time MEAC Coach of the Year.