The Class of 2017 for the College Football Hall of Fame is certainly not short on star power. The induction class, announced Monday by the College Football Hall of Fame and National Football Foundation, is headlined by Peyton Manning of Tennessee, Marshall Faulk of San Diego State, and the Head Ball Coach himself, Steve Spurrier, and also features a strong supporting cast, including Dat Nguyen of Texas A&M and Brian Urlacher of New Mexico.
There have been years that have seen the College Football Hall of Fame induction class leave out some names in puzzling fashion, but this year’s class appears to hit the nail on the head as strongly as possible. Just take a look at this induction class…
2017 COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS
BOB CRABLE – LB, Notre Dame (1978-81)
MARSHALL FAULK – RB, San Diego State (1991-93)
KIRK GIBSON – WR, Michigan State (1975-78)
MATT LEINART – QB, Southern California (2003-05)
PEYTON MANNING – QB, Tennessee (1994-97)
BOB McKAY – OT, Texas (1968-69)
DAT NGUYEN – LB, Texas A&M (1995-98)
ADRIAN PETERSON – RB, Georgia Southern (1998-2001)
MIKE RUTH – NG, Boston College (1982-85)
BRIAN URLACHER – DB, New Mexico (1996-99)
DANNY FORD – 122-59-5 (66.9%); Clemson (1978-89), Arkansas (1993-97)
LARRY KEHRES – 332-24-3 (92.9%); Mount Union (Ohio) (1986-2012)
STEVE SPURRIER – 228-89-2 (71.8%); Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-2001), South Carolina (2005-15)
In all, this induction class includes three unanimous First Team All-Americans (Faulk, Nguyen, Peterson), seven additional consensus First Team All-Americans, and four multi-year First Team All-Americans, the all-time rushing leader (Adrian Peterson, not to be confused with Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson), and six players that would go on to be first-round draft picks in the NFL spanning over five decades of college football.
The coaches have combined for 13 national championships, and Spurrier and Kehres are the all-time winningest coaches in school history at three schools (Kehres at D3 powerhouse Mount Union and Spurrier at both Florida and South Carolina).
It also includes a player that went on to be more well known for his place in baseball history than on the football field…
And how perfect is it that Steve Spurrier will go into the hall with Peyton Manning after all the battles those two had at Florida and Tennessee back in the day? Those two absolutely had to go into the hall in the same class.
There are years the College Football Hall of Fame has one or two guys that you look at and say “He was an absolute Hall of Fame player,” and then there are years like last year when you look at the list and see Randall Cunningham made the cut after all these years as a punter (OK, Derrick Brooks of Florida State was a lock). That is certainly not the case this year. A bulk of these players were obvious picks for the the Hall. Is it the best class ever? It just might be.
The College Football Hall of Fame may also be the most difficult Hall of Fame to gain entry to due to the wide number of players and strict eligibility requirements. For starters, the first requirement is being named a First Team All-America player. There are a good number of great college football players who never reached that level of accolade, even with so many All-America teams to be recognized by various outlets. Some notable players who will never be eligible and thus inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame include Joe Montana and Drew Brees. Montana is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and one day, Brees will join him. But even though they were terrific college players too, they will never be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
But this class is no fluke. This may be one of the best classes ever. It will be inducted on December 5 during a dinner event in New York, even though the CFB Hall of Fame is located in Atlanta.