The 2021 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame was released Tuesday and some of the names on there could make this year's class one of the best in recent memory. Any player up for induction must have been a First team All-American during his college career and have played his final collegiate season at least 10 years ago.
Everybody knows about the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but the College Football Hall of Fame is where it's at for me. And it's an amazing building and experience in Atlanta for anybody who gets a chance to visit. I highly recommend it.
With that said, let's look at the best names on this year's ballot.
Ray Lewis, Miami LB
Nobody is going to deny that Ray Lewis was an outstanding football player both in college and certainly in the NFL, but I am intrigued by some language in the National Football Foundation's criteria for consideration.
NFF — 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.
I guess we'll wait and see on that one.
Champ Bailey, Georgia DB
Champ Bailey was just a damn ballplayer who got after it. He probably should have finished higher than seventh in the 1998 Heisman voting after putting up a season which included winning the Nagurski Trophy as the nation's best defensive player in addition to more than 700 receiving yards and five touchdown catches.
Tony Gonzalez, Cal TE
Imagine thinking Tony Gonzalez is not the greatest tight end of all-time. Absolutely could not be me.
His college numbers weren't actually all that staggering — 1,302 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in three seasons, albeit a different era of college football — so it will be interesting to see if his professional accomplishments weigh heavily and push him over the edge.
Al Wilson, Tennessee LB
Al Wilson was one of the baddest motherfuckers to ever play college football. Tennessee definitely does not win the national championship in 1998 without Wilson anchoring that defense. He simply let everyone know he was there to break your spirit.
He had a very productive NFL career, as well, but the College Football Hall of Fame is made for guys like Wilson.
Kevin Faulk, LSU RB
I wish I was around to watch SEC football in the 90s, mostly because Tennessee was kicking everybody's ass, but also because guys like Kevin Faulk look like so much fun to watch. He put up more than 5,000 yards from scrimmage and 50 total touchdowns in his career and was the first ever LSU running back to average 100 yards per game over an entire career.
Other notable names on this year's ballot:
— Carson Palmer, USC QB
— Dwight Freeney, Syracuse DL
— Julius Peppers, North Carolina DL
— Roy Williams, Oklahoma DB