Nineteen From ACC Schools Listed on College Football Hall of Fame Ballot
IRVING, Texas – Nineteen representatives from current Atlantic Coast Conference football members are included on the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame ballot, announced Monday by the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame.
“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot considering more than 5.54 million people have played college football and only 1,056 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 we look forward to announcing the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class early next year.”
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 Court, which will deliberate and select the class. The Honors Court, chaired by NFF Board Member and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Griffin from Ohio State, includes 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 College Football Hall of Fame 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 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be made in early 2023, with specific details to be announced in the future.
The 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted during the 65th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 5, 2023, and permanently immortalized at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. They will also be honored at their respective schools with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the 2023 season.
Capsules of players and coaches from a current ACC school:
Matt Cavanaugh, Pitt-Quarterback-1977 First Team All-American who led the Panthers to a 1976 national title…Led Pitt to three consecutive bowl wins, earning MVP honors in the 1977 Sugar and 1977 Gator bowls…Finished Pitt career ranked second all-time (behind only Tony Dorsett) with 3,916 career yards of total offense.
Ken Dorsey, Miami-Quarterback-2002 First Team All-American who led the Canes to back-to-back BCS Championship games, winning the national title his junior season…Two-time Big East Co-Offensive Player of the Year and 2001 Maxwell Player of the Year…Left Miami as the school record holder in career total offense and passing yards.
Warrick Dunn, Florida State-Running Back-1996 First Team All-American and 1995 Third Team All-American who led the Noles to the 1993 national title…Three-time First Team All-ACC performer led the league with 8.7 ppg in 1995…Only FSU rusher in history to gain more than 1,000 yards in three-consecutive seasons.
Dwight Freeney, Syracuse-Defensive End-2001 unanimous First Team All-American who holds the NCAA record for career sacks per game (1.61)… 2001 Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year, finishing career as the conference’s all-time leader in single-season sacks (17.5 in 2001)…Holds the Syracuse record for career TFL (50.5).
Marvin Harrison, Syracuse-Kick Returner/Wide Receiver-1995 First Team All-American as a kick returner and 1995 Big East Special Teams Player of the Year…Three-time All-Big East selection who set a conference record with a 94-yard punt return for a TD in 1995…Left Syracuse as the school’s all-time receiving leader (2,718 yards).
Craig Heyward, Pitt-Running Back-1987 consensus First Team All-American who led the nation in rushing his final season and finished fifth in Heisman voting…Left Pitt as the second-leading rusher in school history (behind only Tony Dorsett) with 3,086 career rushing yards…Rushed for at least 100 yards in every game of 1987 season.
Sebastian Janikowski, Florida State-Placekicker-Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in 1998 and unanimous accolades in 1999…Only two-time recipient of the Lou Groza Award (1998, 1999)…Helped FSU to consecutive BCS Championship appearances, winning the national title at the 2000 Sugar Bowl.
Levon Kirkland, Clemson-Linebacker-1991 consensus First Team All-American and 1990 Second Team All-American…Finalist for the 1990 Butkus Award and leader of Clemson unit that led the nation in total defense…Three-time First Team All-ACC performer and 1989 Gator Bowl MVP helped the Tigers to two conference titles.
Luke Kuechly, Boston College-Linebacker-Two-time First Team All-American (unanimous-2010, consensus-2011) won the Butkus, Nagurski and Lombardi awards in 2011…2011 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and three-time First Team All-ACC performer…All-time career leader in tackles (532 – 2nd NCAA) in BC and ACC history.
Ray Lewis, Miami-Linebacker-1995 First Team All-American and Butkus Award runner-up…Led Canes to Fiesta and Orange bowl appearances and ranks sixth all-time at Miami with 388 career tackles…Two-time First Team All-Big East performer who twice led the league in tackles.
Bryant McKinnie, Miami-Offensive Tackle-Two-time First Team All-American, earning unanimous honors in 2001…2001 Outland Trophy winner led the Canes to the 2001 national title and two Big East crowns…Two-time consensus First Team All-Big East performer did not allow a sack during entire college career.
Heath Miller, Virginia-Tight End-2004 unanimous First Team All-American and winner of the Mackey Award as the nation’s best tight end…Named a Third Team All-American in 2003 and Freshman All-American in 2002…Three-time All-ACC performer still holds UVA tight end records for career receptions (144), yards (1,703) and TDs (20).
Corey Moore, Virginia Tech-Defensive Lineman-Two-time First Team All-American (1999-unanimous) and winner of the 1999 Lombardi and Nagurski awards…Two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year led Hokies to 2000 National Championship Game…Leader of Hokies famed “Lunch Pail Defense” that led the nation in rushing defense (85.0 ypg).
Herman Moore, Virginia-Wide Receiver-1990 consensus First Team All-American who finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting…Holds the NCAA record for highest average gain per reception (22.0) with a minimum of 105 catches…1990 First Team All-ACC performer finished career as UVA’s all-time leader in receiving yards (2,504) and TD catches (27).
Julius Peppers, North Carolina-Defensive End-2001 unanimous First Team All-American and winner of the 2001 Bednarik and Lombardi awards…2001 Chevrolet Defensive Player of the Year who finished 10th in Heisman Trophy voting…Two-time First Team All-ACC selection, leading the conference in TFL (24) and sacks (15) in 2000.
Peter Warrick, Florida State-Wide Receiver-Two-time First Team All-American (consensus-1998, unanimous-1999) led FSU to a national championship at the 2000 Sugar Bowl, earning MVP honors…Two-time First Team All-ACC receiver finished career as the league’s all-time leader in receiving (3,517)…FSU’s career leader in receiving TDs (32).
Larry Coker, Miami (2001-06), UTSA (2011-15)-Posted a 60-15 record at Miami, including an astounding 35-3 record in his first three seasons…Led the Canes to consecutive BCS Championship Games, winning at the 2002 Rose Bowl and becoming the first rookie head coach to lead his team to a national title since 1948…Led Miami to three Big East crowns and orchestrated a dominant 2001 offense that set a Big East record with 475 points scored in the regular season.
Paul Johnson, Georgia Southern (1997-01), Navy (2002-07), Georgia Tech (2008-18)-Led Georgia Southern to two national championships and five SoCon titles, losing only 10 games during tenure…Led Navy to five-straight Commander-in-Chief’s trophies, boasting an 11-1 record vs. Air Force and Army…Three-time ACC Coach of the Year at Georgia Tech, posting three ACC title game and nine bowl appearances (including two BCS berths).
Mark Richt, Georgia (2001-15), Miami (2016-18)-Ranks first all-time at UGA with a 74% career winning percentage, ranking second only to Hall of Famer Vince Dooley in wins (145)…Led the Bulldogs to five SEC title games (winning in 2002, 2005), 15-straight bowl games and eight top 10 final national rankings…2017 Walter Camp Coach of the Year after leading the Canes to first division title since joining the ACC.
The criteria for Hall of Fame consideration include:
•         First and foremost, a player must have received First-Team All-America recognition by a selector that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise its 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. 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 2023 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1973 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 football coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.
•         Nominations may only be submitted by the current athletics director, head coach or sports information director (SID) of a potential candidate’s collegiate institution. Nominations may also be submitted by the president/executive director of a dues-paying chapter of the National Football Foundation.
*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. Veterans Committee candidates must still meet First Team All-America requirement.
Once nominated for consideration, all FBS 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 but received significant votes in the final selection, 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. The Honors Court annually reviews the Hall of Fame criteria to ensure a fair and streamlined process.
Of the 5.54 million individuals who have played college football since Princeton first battled Rutgers on Nov. 6, 1869, only 1,056 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 152 years. From the coaching ranks, 226 individuals have achieved Hall of Fame distinction.