Former Falcon Ernie Jennings among College Football Hall of Fame nominees
March 5, 2013
The National Football Foundation (NFF) announced today the names of 77 players and five coaches who comprise the 2013 Football Bowl Subdivision Ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.
"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 Ole Miss. "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."
Jennings was a consensus first-team All-American in 1970 and finished eighth the Heisman Trophy voting. He led the Falcons to the 1971 Sugar Bowl and holds every single-season and career receiving record at Air Force. Jennings caught 148 passes for 2,392 yards for 28 touchdowns in his career. In 1970, Jennings set single-season records with 74 catches for 1,289 yards and 17 touchdowns. He is also among the top kickoff returners in school history, notching 43 returns for 1,053 yards for a 25.5 average. He is second in school history with 3,848 career all-purpose yards.
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 14-member NFF Honors Court includes an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletics directors, conference commissioners, Hall of Famers and members of the media.
"It's an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 4.92 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 1,500 individuals who are even eligible to be on the ballot, so being in today's group of 77 names means an individual is truly among the greatest to ever have played the game, and we are proud to announce their names today."
The FBS Hall of Fame Class will be announced live in New York City during a noon press conference on May 7 from the NASDAQ OMX Market Site and inducted at the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner December 10, 2013 at the landmark Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.
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; 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 4.92 million individuals who have played college football since Princeton first battled Rutgers on November 6, 1869, only 918 players have earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, or less than .0002 percent of those who have played the game during the past 144 years. From the coaching ranks, 200 individuals have achieved Hall of Fame distinction.