June 1, 2016
Three former University of Notre Dame football all-stars – linebacker Bob Crable, wide receiver/kick returner Raghib Ismail and offensive tackle Aaron Taylor – appear on the 2017 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 ballot will be emailed this week to the more than 12,000 members of the NFF and current College Hall of Famers whose votes will be recorded and submitted to the NFF honors court, which deliberates and is responsible for selecting the class. Archie Griffin, an NFF board member and former two-time Heisman Trophy winner from Ohio State, chairs the honors court, a 17-member panel.
The Hall of Fame class will be announced Jan. 6, 2017, in conjunction with the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship Game in Tampa, Florida, inducted at the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame’s Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 5, 2017, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City-and later immortalized at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been chosen first-team All-America by a major/national selector as recognized and utilized by the NCAA for its consensus All-America teams, played their last year of intercollegiate football at least 10 years prior, played within the last 50 years and be retired from playing professional football.
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.
Here are details on the three former Irish players on the ballot:
* Bob Crable – Linebacker – 1980 and 1981 consensus first-team All-American … Irish captain in 1980 and 1981 … still holds Notre Dame records for most tackles in a career (521), season (187 in 1979) and game (26 vs. Clemson in 1979) … his 26 tackles in a game remain an NCAA FBS record-tying effort … had 24 tackles vs. South Carolina and 20 vs. Purdue and Navy in 1979 … made 19 tackles each versus Michigan, Georgia Tech and Alabama in 1980 … blocked a last-second Michigan field-goal try in 1979 to preserve an Irish win … recovered a fumble that led to an Irish touchdown in Cotton Bowl comeback win over Houston following 1978 season … played on Notre Dame teams that played in 1979 Cotton Bowl and 1981 Sugar Bowl (led Irish with 10 tackles against top-rated and unbeaten Georgia) … played in 1982 Hula Bowl.
* Raghib Ismail – Wide Receiver – Two-time first-team All-American, earning consensus honors in 1989 and unanimous honors in 1990 … Walter Camp Player of the Year and The Sporting News College Player of the Year in 1990 … Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1990 … led Notre Dame to 1989 Fiesta Bowl versus unbeaten West Virginia and two Orange Bowls against top-rated Colorado squads … set NCAA record by twice returning two kickoffs for TDs in a single game (Rice 1988, Michigan 1989) … finished with 4,187 all-purpose yards … led the nation in kickoff returns as a freshman in 1988 with 36.1-yard average … helped Irish to 1988 consensus national championship … MVP of 1990 Orange Bowl and one of 10 finalists for 1990 Sullivan Award (as only finalist from college football) … had six career kick returns for TDs … his 22.0-yard average per reception remains a Notre Dame career mark.
* Aaron Taylor – Offensive tackle – Unanimous first-team All-America selection in 1993 as a senior offensive tackle after earning consensus honors as junior in 1992 as offensive guard … winner of the ’93 Lombardi Award and was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy … also a Lombardi finalist as junior in ’92 … received Notre Dame Lineman of the Year Award from Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame in ’93 … voted by teammates as the recipient of Nick Pietrosante Award, which is given to the player who best exemplifies courage, dedication and pride of the late All- America fullback … captain of the team his senior season, starting 30 straight games to end his career … member of the 1994 Hula Bowl team … drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft, playing on a team that won the Super Bowl in 1997 … played for the San Diego Chargers in 1998 and 1999 before retiring from professional football … analyst for the CBS Sports Network.
This is Crable’s sixth time on the ballot (also in 2007, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015), it’s Ismail’s fifth straight appearance-and it’s Taylor’s second appearance (also in 2013).
Crable was nominated in 2007, Ismail in 2008 and Taylor in 2008. Other current and active Notre Dame nominees are Mark Bavaro, 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 and Michael Stonebreaker.
Notre Dame has 45 former players and six former coaches already enshrined in the Hall of Fame, providing more inductees than any other institution. The most recent addition is Irish wide receiver Thom Gatewood, who was inducted in December 2015.
— ND —