CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The National Football Foundation (NFF) announced today the names of 79 players and nine coaches who comprise the 2011 Football Bowl Subdivision Ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, and on the list are University of Miami greats Jimmy Johnson and Russell Maryland.
"It's an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 4.79 million people have played college football," said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. "The Hall's requirement of being a First Team All-American creates a much smaller pool of only 1,900 individuals who are even eligible to be on the ballot, so being in today's group of 79 names means an individual is truly among the greatest to ever have played the game, and we are proud to announce their names today."
Johnson owned a 52-9 record during five seasons with the Miami Hurricanes from 1984-88. His landmark achievement was the program's second National Chamionship in 1987. Johnson coached nine players to 10 All-America honors and achieved legend status in Coral Gables before leaving for the Dallas Cowboys, where he won two Super Bowls.
In 1990, Maryland registered 96 tackles and 10.5 quarterback sacks for the Hurricanes and was the first 'Cane to win the Outland Trophy as the best lineman in college. He also was a concensus All-American in 1991 and finished his collegiate career with 279 tacles, 25 tackles for loss and 20.5 sacks before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Johnson's Dallas Cowboys in the 1991 NFL draft.
Both Johnson and Maryland are proud members of the UM Sports Hall of Fame.
Miami currently has four players - Ted Hendricks (1999 inductee), Don Bosseler (1990), Bennie Blades (2006) and Gino Torretta (2009) - and two coaches - Jack Harding (1980) and Andy Gustafson (1985) - in the College Football Hall of Fame. Former 'Canes greats Jim Otto, Jim Kelly, Michael Irvin and Hendricks are all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Former Miami defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy was on the ballot for the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year.
The ballot was mailed this week 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 deliberates and selects the class. Chaired by Gene Corrigan, a former ACC Commissioner and NCAA president, the 13-member NFF Honors Court includes an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletics directors, conference commissioners, Hall of Famers and members of the media.
The FBS Hall of Fame Class will be announced live in New York City during a noon press conference and inducted at the National Football Foundation's Annual Awards Dinner on December 6, 2011 at the landmark Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The May press conference has been carried live on ESPNEWS for the past four years, and the same coverage is anticipated again this year.
To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been named a First Team All-America by a major/national selector as recognized and utilized by the NCAA for their consensus All-America teams; played their last year of intercollegiate football at least ten years prior; and played within the last 50 years and cannot be currently playing professional football. Coaches must have coached a minimum of 10 years and 100 games as a head coach; won at least 60% of their games; and be retired from coaching for at least three years. If a coach is retired and over the age of 70, there is no waiting period. If he is over the age of 75, he is eligible as an active coach. 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 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 Honors Court for exceptions that allow for the induction of players who played more than 50 years ago.
Of the 4.79 million individuals who have played college football since Princeton first battled Rutgers on November 6, 1869, only 882 players have earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. From the coaching ranks, 190 individuals have achieved Hall of Fame distinction.