March 10, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The names of three former University of Notre Dame football all-stars–linebacker Bob Crable, wide receiver Thom 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 ballot hit the mail to the more than 12,000 members of the NFF and College Hall of Fame whose votes will be recorded and submitted to the Foundation’s honors court, which deliberates and is responsible for selecting the class. Gene Corrigan, the former Notre Dame athletic director, Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner and NCAA past president, chairs the honors court, a 17-member panel.
The Hall of Fame class will be announced in May and then 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.
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 (Crable qualified for the 2014 ballot in this manner).
Here are details on the three former Irish players on the ballot:
* Bob Crable – Linebacker – 1980 and 1981 consensus first-team All-American . . . 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 . . . 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 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 Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1990 . . . led Notre Dame to a Fiesta Bowl and two Orange Bowls . . . 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 freshman in 1988 with 36.1-yard average . . . helped Irish to 1988 national championship.
* Thom Gatewood – Wide Receiver — 1970 consensus first-team All-American . . . Irish captain in 1971 . . . led 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 . . . caught six passes for 112 yards (1 TD) in 1970 Cotton Bowl vs. #1 Texas, then added 26-yard TD reception the next year in Cotton Bowl win over #1 Texas . . . finished his Notre Dame career as career leader in receiving yards (2,283) and receiving TDs (19) and single-season record-holder in receptions (77 in 1970) and receiving yards (1,123 in ’70) . . . 1971 NFF National Scholar-Athlete who also was a two-time Academic All-American and won an NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship.
This is Crable’s fourth time on the ballot (also in 2007, 2010 and 2013), it’s Ismail’s third straight appearance–and 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 already 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.