Football Hall of Fame ballot heavy on Irish

South Bend Tribune
ND Insider

SOUTH BEND — Three former Notre Dame standouts — linebacker Bob Crable, wide receiver Tom Gatewood and wide receiver/kick returner Raghib Ismail — appear on the 2014 National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I-A) ballot.

The ballot contains names of 75 players and six coaches vying for induction.

The Hall of Fame class will be announced in May and inducted at the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame’s 57th Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 9 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Coaches must be out of the college coaching profession for at least three years, coached a minimum of 10 years and 100 games as a head coach, not be coaching on the professional level and have won at least 60 percent of their games. In both cases, the candidate’s post-football record as a citizen may also be weighed.

Once nominated for consideration, all player candidates are submitted to one of eight district screening committees, depending on their geographic location, which conducts a vote to determine who appears on the ballot and represents their respective districts. Each year, 15 candidates not selected for the Hall of Fame are named automatic holdovers and bypass the district screening process and automatically appear on the ballot the following year (Crable qualified for the 2014 ballot in this manner).

A 1980 and 1981 consensus first-team All-American, Crable holds school records for most career tackles (521), season (187 in 1979) and game (26 vs. Clemson in 1979).

A two-time first-team All-American earning consensus honors in 1989 and unanimous honors in 1990, Ismail was the Walter Camp Player of the Year and Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1990.

Gatewood was a 1970 consensus first-team All-American. He led the team in receiving three straight years — with 47 for 743 (8 TDs) in 1969, 77 for 1,123 (7 TDs) in 1970 and 33 for 417 (4 TDs) in 1971.

This is Crable’s fourth time on the ballot (also in 2007, 2010 and 2013), it’s Ismail’s third straight appearance. It’s Gatewood’s first time on the ballot.

Crable was first nominated in 2007, Gatewood in 2007 and Ismail in 2008. Other current and active Notre Dame nominees are Pete Demmerle, Larry DiNardo, Dave Duerson, Nick Eddy, Vagas Ferguson, Bob Golic, Terry Hanratty, Dave Huffman, George Kunz, Todd Lyght, Mike McCoy, Walt Patulski, John Scully, Jim Seymour, Michael Stonebreaker and Aaron Taylor.

Notre Dame has 44 former players and six former coaches enshrined in the Hall of Fame, providing more inductees than any other institution. The most recent addition is tight end Dave Casper, who was inducted in 2012 and enshrined in August 2013 in Atlanta where the new Hall of Fame is currently under construction.

Also on the ballot is former Michigan City Elston and Indiana University standout Tom Nowatzke, who played in Super Bowl V for the Baltimore Colts.

Other notable Big Ten players on the ballot include Michigan’s Jumbo Elliott, Rob Lytle and Mark Messner, Michigan State’s Kirk Gibson, Clinton Jones and Lorenzo White, Purdue’s Larry Burton and Dave Butz and Indiana’s Antwaan Randle El.

•Other players: Trev Alberts, Nebraska; Eric Bieniemy, Colorado; Dre Bly, North Carolina; Tony Boselli, Southern California; Brian Bosworth, Oklahoma

Bob Breunig, Arizona State; Jerome Brown, Miami; Ruben Brown, Pittsburgh; Freddie Carr, Texas-El Paso; Mark Carrier, Southern California

Wes Chandler, Florida; Shane Conlan, Penn State; Tim Couch, Kentucky-Quarterback; Tom Cousineau, Ohio State; Paul Crane, Alabama

Eric Crouch, Nebraska; Randall Cunningham, UNLV; Troy Davis, Iowa State; Eric Dickerson, Southern Methodist; Mike Dirks, Wyoming

D.J. Dozier, Penn State; Tim Dwight, Iowa; William Fuller, North Carolina; Willie Gault, Tennessee; Charlie Gogolak, Princeton

Joe Hamilton, Georgia Tech; Al Harris, Arizona State; Dana Howard, Illinois; Randy Hughes, Oklahoma; Bobby Humphrey, Alabama

Roy Jefferson, Utah; Ernie Jennings, Air Force; Keyshawn Johnson, Southern California; Lincoln Kennedy, Washington; Tim Krumrie, Wisconsin

Greg Lewis, Washington; Jess Lewis, Oregon State; Ray Lewis, Miami (Fla.); Bob McKay, Texas; Cade McNown, UCLA

Darrin Nelson, Stanford; Ken Norton Jr., UCLA; Jim Otis, Ohio State; Paul Palmer, Temple; Simeon Rice, Illinois

Ron Rivera, California; Willie Roaf, Louisiana Tech; Mike Ruth, Boston College; Rashaan Salaam, Colorado; Warren Sapp, Miami (Fla.)

John Sciarra, UCLA; Larry Seivers, Tennessee; Sterling Sharpe, South Carolina; Art Still, Kentucky; Derrick Thomas, Alabama

Zach Thomas, Texas Tech; LaDainian Tomlinson, TCU; Jackie Walker, Tennessee; Wesley Walls, Mississippi; Clarence Williams, Washington State

Ricky Williams, Texas; Steve Wisniewski, Penn State

•Coaches: Mike Bellotti, Chico State (Calif.) (1984-88), Oregon (1995-2008); Jim Carlen, West Virginia (1966-69), Texas Tech (1970-74), South Carolina (1975-1981); Pete Cawthon Sr., Texas Tech (1930-40); Danny Ford, Clemson (1978-1989), Arkansas (1993-97); Billy Jack Murphy, Memphis (1958-71)

Darryl Rogers, Cal State-Hayward (1965), Fresno State (1966-72), San Jose State (1973-75), Michigan State (1976-79), Arizona State (1980-84)

Former Notre Dame football player Raghib "Rocket" Ismail  is among three former Irish players whose names appear on the 2014 National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I-A) ballot. (AP Photo/JOE RAYMOND)