The College Football Hall of Fame has released the official ballot for the 2017 class, and while the lengthy list of players and coaches is filled with All-Americans and title-winners, there are a few names that seem like great bets to make the final class when the group is announced shortly before the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Three-time All-America First Teamer Marshall Faulk (San Diego State), former Cal great Tony Gonzalez and Troy Vincent, an All-American defensive back at Wisconsin, are on the ballot for the first time this year and seem like names we will see in the hall eventually.
But two other first-timers on the ballot should be locks: Steve Spurrier and Peyton Manning.
Spurrier's retirement as South Carolina's coach triggered his immediate eligibility for the hall, and it's hard to find an argument against a Heisman Trophy winning player and title-winning coach at Florida standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the game's greats. Manning was an All-American (a requirement for inclusion on the ballot) and a Heisman runner-up. It would be equally hard to imagine the 12,000+ National Football Foundation members going out of their way to exclude one of the most notable and recognizable names in modern football from the group.
Other names to keep an eye on are some of the most notable "snubs" from last year's class. SMU running back Eric Dickerson and Texas A&M linebacker Dat Nguyen seemed ready for the tap a year ago as former players, and Danny Ford -- of Clemson and Arkansas fame -- should be another name to watch going in the 2017 cycle.
You can check out the full ballot below, with bios directly from the National Football Foundation.
2017 FBS PLAYER CANDIDATE CAPSULE BIOS
Morten Andersen, Michigan State-Placekicker-1981 First Team All-American who left MSU as the Big Ten's all-time leader in field goals (45)...Set still-standing conference record with 63-yard field goal in 1981 and was a three-time All-Big Ten performer...Led the Spartans in scoring for three seasons.
Eric Bieniemy, Colorado-Running Back- Played in two national championships, leading Buffs to 1990 national title...Unanimous First Team All-American and finished third in 1990 Heisman voting... Two-time All-Big Eight pick, still holding eight CU records.
Michael Bishop, Kansas State-Quarterback-1998 consensus First Team All-American and winner of the Davey O'Brien Award...1998 Heisman Trophy runner-up who led Cats to 1998 Big 12 North title and berth in conference championship...Set 14 conference and 34 school records and boasts longest pass play in K-State history (97 yards).
Lomas Brown, Florida-Offensive Tackle-1984 consensus First Team All-American and two-time All-SEC performer...Led Gators to three consecutive bowl berths and top 10 national final rankings in 1983 and 1984...Recipient of Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the SEC's top blocker in 1984.
Terrell Buckley, Florida State-Defensive Back-1991 unanimous First Team All-American and winner of the Thorpe Award...Led the nation in interceptions (12) and return yards (501) during final season at FSU...Seminoles' all-time leader in career interceptions (21) who returned four interceptions and three punts for touchdowns in career.
Larry Burton, Purdue-Split End-First Team All-American and Outstanding College Athlete of America in 1974 and a First Team All-Big Ten selection...Led the team in receiving in both 1973 and 1974...Named team captain and team MVP in 1974.
Keith Byars, Ohio State-Running Back-Unanimous First Team All-American and Heisman Trophy runner-up who led nation in rushing (1,764), all-purpose yards (2,441) and scoring (144) in 1984...1984 Big Ten MVP and two-time All-Big Ten selection...Ranks fifth all-time at OSU with 4,369 career all-purpose yards and 3,200 career rushing yards.
Freddie Carr, UTEP-Linebacker-1967 First Team All-American who helped UTEP to two Sun Bowl victories...Named 1967 Sun Bowl MVP...Ranks in the top 10 in numerous school records, including career tackles (410) and single-season tackles (148).
Mark Carrier, Southern California-Defensive Back-Two-time First Team All-American (1988-89) - unanimous in 1989... 1989 Jim Thorpe Award winner... Two-time First Team All-Conference selection... Led the Pac-10 in interceptions in 1989 with seven.
Matt Cavanaugh, Pittsburgh-Quarterback-1977 First Team All-American who led the Panthers to a 1976 national title...Led Pitt to three consecutive bowl wins, earning MVP honors in the 1977 Sugar and 1977 Gator bowls...Finished Pitt career ranked second all-time (behind only Tony Dorsett) with 3,916 career yards of total offense.
Trevor Cobb, Rice-Running Back-1991 consensus First Team All-American and Doak Walker Award winner...1992 Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year who finished career as the Owls' all-time leading rusher (4,948 yards)...Rushed for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons and set 17 school records.
Kerry Collins, Penn State-Quarterback-1994 consensus First Team All-American and winner of the Maxwell and Davey O'Brien awards...Led the nation in passing efficiency (172.9) as a senior and named 1994 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year...Led Lions to 12-0 record, a Big Ten title and No. 2 final ranking in 1994.
Tim Couch, Kentucky-Quarterback-1998 consensus First Team All-American who finished fourth in Heisman voting in 1998 and ninth in 1997...1998 SEC Player of the Year who led Cats to first win over Alabama in 75 years...Set seven NCAA, 14 SEC and 26 school records.
Bob Crable, Notre Dame-Linebacker-Two-time consensus First Team All-American in 1980 and 1981... Set ND records for most career tackles (521), most tackles in a season (187), most tackles in a game (26)...Led Irish to win in the 1979 Cotton Bowl.
Eric Crouch, Nebraska-Quarterback-2001 Heisman, Walter Camp and Davey O'Brien Award winner who led Huskers to 2001 national title game at the Rose Bowl...Finished career as NCAA record holder for career rushing TDs by a quarterback (59)...Led team to 42-9 record and four bowl berths.
Brad Culpepper, Florida-Defensive Tackle-1991 consensus First Team All-American and recipient of the NFFCampbell Trophy as the nation's top scholar-athlete...Two-time All-SEC selection who led Gators to first-ever SEC title in 1991...Ranks sixth all-time at Florida with 47.5 career TFL, a school record among defensive lineman.
Kenneth Davis, TCU-Running Back-1984 unanimous First Team All-American who finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting and led Frogs to first bowl in 19 seasons...Led the nation in yards per carry (7.6) and ranked second nationally in rushing yards (1,611) in 1984...1984 Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year who boasted nine 100-yard games in career.
Rich Diana, Yale-Running Back-Named a First Team All-American in 1981 and finished 10th in the Heisman Trophy voting the same year...Two-time First Team All-Ivy League selection led Bulldogs to three conference titles...Named a First Team Academic All-American and an NFF National Scholar-Athlete in 1981.
Eric Dickerson, SMU-Running Back-Named unanimous First Team All-American and finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1982...Twice named SWC Player of the Year, he holds 14 SMU records including career rushing yards (4,450).
John Didion, Oregon State-Center-Two-time All-American, earning unanimous First Team honors in 1968... Member of Oregon State team known as the "Giant Killers"... 1968 First Team All-Pac-8 selection who helped team finish in the AP Top 20 all three years of career.
Mike Dirks, Wyoming-Defensive Tackle-1967 First Team All-American who led Pokes to two bowl berths...Two-time First Team All-WAC selection and member of back-to-back WAC championship teams...Three-year starter who finished career with 210 tackles and 59 tackles for loss.
Rickey Dixon, Oklahoma-Defensive Back-1987 consensus First Team All-American and winner of the 1987 Thorpe Award...Two-time First Team All-Big Eight selection and member of 1985 National Championship team...Finished career as school leader in single-season interceptions (9) and ranked second all-time with 17 career interceptions.
D.J. Dozier, Penn State-Running Back- Named 1986 consensus First Team All-American and led PSU to perfect 12-0 season and national championship (1986)... Finished eighth in 1986 Heisman voting... First PSU back to lead the team in rushing for four consecutive seasons.
Tim Dwight, Iowa-Kick Returner/Wide Receiver-Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in 1997... First Team All-Big Ten who placed seventh in 1997 Heisman Trophy voting...Finished career as Big Ten's leader in punt return yardage (1,102).
Jumbo Elliott, Michigan-Offensive Tackle- Two-time First Team All-American (consensus-'87)... Two-time All-Big Ten First Team selection and member of 1986 Big Ten Co-Champions...Paved the way for Jamie Morris, who had three-straight 1,000-yard seasons.
Marshall Faulk, San Diego State-Running Back-Three-time First Team All-American, earning unanimous honors in 1992 and 1993...Three-time Heisman finalist (runner-up in 1992) who twice led the nation in rushing yards per game (1991, 1992)...1992 WAC Offensive Player of the Year who set NCAA record for yards in a single game (386).
David Fulcher, Arizona State-Defensive Back-Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in both 1984 and 1985...Three-time All-Pac-10 selection who led ASU to 1985 Holiday Bowl berth...Recorded 14 interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, and 286 tackles in career.
Moe Gardner, Illinois-Defensive Tackle-Two-time First Team All-American (unanimous-'89, consensus-'90)...1990 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and 1989 Big Ten Lineman of the Year...Three-time First Team All-Conference pick and set school record for career TFL (57).
Kirk Gibson, Michigan State-Wide Receiver-Named First Team All-American, led Big Ten in receiving in league play and helped the Spartans to a Big Ten Co-Championship and a No.12 national ranking in 1978...Played MLB for 17 seasons.
Tony Gonzalez, California-Tight End-1996 consensus First Team All-American and First Team All-Pac-10 selection...Holds Cal record for receptions in a bowl game (9 in 1996 Aloha Bowl)...Posted 89 receptions for 1,302 yards and eight touchdowns during career.
Dan Hampton, Arkansas-Defensive Tackle-1978 First Team All-American and two-time All-SWC selection...Named 1978 Houston Post Outstanding Player of the Year in the SWC, recording 18 TFL during his senior campaign...Helped Hogs beat No. 19 Georgia in 1976 Cotton Bowl and No. 2 Oklahoma in 1978 Orange Bowl.
Jason Hanson, Washington State-Placekicker-Two-time First Team All-American, earning unanimous honors in 1989...Holds numerous NCAA, conference and school records, including longest field goal without a tee (62 yards) and career field goals of 40 yards or more (39)...Four-time All-Pac-10 selection and 1991 NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
Byron Hanspard, Texas Tech-Running Back-1996 unanimous First Team All-American and recipient of the Doak Walker Award...Tech's all-time leader in rushing (4,219) who tied NCAA record by reaching 1,000-yard mark by fifth game of 1996 season...Three-time All-Big 12 selection, helping Red Raiders to first Cotton Bowl since 1938.
Craig Heyward, Pittsburgh-Running Back-1987 consensus First Team All-American who led the nation in rushing his final season and finished fifth in Heisman voting...Left Pitt as the second-leading rusher in school history (behind only Tony Dorsett) with 3,086 career rushing yards...Rushed for at least 100 yards in every game of 1987 season.
Torry Holt, N.C. State-Wide Receiver-1998 consensus First Team All-American who was the only receiver in the top 10 of the 1998 Heisman Trophy voting...1998 ACC Player of the Year who earned First Team All-Conference honors as a receiver and punt returner...NC State's all-time leader in receiving (3,379) and all-purpose yards (1,979).
Dana Howard, Illinois-Linebacker-Two-time First Team All-American, earning unanimous honors as a senior...1994 Butkus Award winner and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year...School's all-time leading tackler (595) who led team in tackles each year of career.
Ken Huff, North Carolina-Offensive Guard-1974 consensus First Team All-American and First Team All-Conference selection...Recipient of the Jacob's Blocking Trophy as the ACC's best offensive lineman in 1974...Team captain who helped UNC set school total offense records and finish fifth nationally in 1974.
Bobby Humphrey, Alabama-Running Back-Named First Team All-American in 1987...Led Tide to victories in Aloha Bowl and two Sun Bowls...Named UPI Offensive Player of the Year in 1987...Ended career with 4,958 all-purpose yards and 40 TDs.
Raghib Ismail, Notre Dame-Wide Receiver-Two-time First Team All-American earning consensus honors in 1989 and unanimous laurels in 1990...Walter Camp Player of the Year and Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1990...Led ND to national championship at the Fiesta Bowl and two Orange Bowls.
Ernie Jennings, Air Force-Wide Receiver-1970 consensus First Team All-American, finishing eighth in 1970 Heisman Trophy voting...Led Air Force to 1971 Sugar Bowl berth... Holds every single-season and career receiving record at Air Force.
E.J. Junior, Alabama-Defensive End-1980 unanimous First Team All-American and member of two national championship teams (1978, 1979)...Three-time First Team All-SEC selection and 1980 SEC Lineman of the Year, who led Tide to two conference titles...Member of fabled goal-line stand defense vs. Penn State in 1979 Sugar Bowl.
Matt Leinart, Southern California-Quarterback-Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in 2004...2004 Heisman Trophy winner who led Trojans to three consecutive national championship games (2003-05), winning back-to-back AP titles in 2003 and 2004...Two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year who boasted three 3,000-yard passing seasons.
Ray Lewis, Miami (Fla.)-Linebacker-1995 First Team All-American and Butkus Award runner-up...Led Canes to Fiesta and Orange bowl appearances and ranks sixth all-time at Miami with 388 career tackles...Two-time First Team All-Big East performer who twice led the league in tackles.
Peyton Manning, Tennessee-Quarterback-1997 consensus First Team All-American and Heisman Trophy runner-up who won the NFF Campbell Trophy and the Maxwell and Davey O'Brien awards...Three-time All-SEC selection and 1997 SEC Player of the Year while guiding Vols to SEC title...Tennessee's all-time leader in wins (39), passing yards (11,201) and TD passes (89) among others.
Buddy McClinton, Auburn-Defensive Back-Three-time All-American who earned consensus First Team honors in 1969... Auburn's all-time leader in interceptions (18) and holds record for interceptions in a season (9 in 1969)... Set SEC career interception record (18).
Bob McKay, Texas-Offensive Tackle-1969 consensus First Team All-American who helped Longhorns to national championship and unbeaten season at Cotton Bowl in senior season...Member of two SWC championship teams and 1969 all-conference selection.
Mark Messner, Michigan-Defensive Tackle-1988 unanimous First Team All-American who was a Lombardi Award finalist...1988 Big Ten Player of the Year and four-time First Team All-Big Ten selection...Led Wolverines to four bowl berths and named MVP of 1985 Fiesta Bowl.
Dat Nguyen, Texas A&M-Linebacker-1998 unanimous First Team All-American and winner of both the Bednarik Award and Lombardi Trophy as a senior...1998 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Cotton Bowl MVP...Started 51 consecutive games and only player in Aggie history to lead team in tackles four seasons in a row.
Ken Norton Jr., UCLA-Linebacker-1987 First Team All-American, leading Bruins to four consecutive bowl wins... Member of the 1985 conference championship team... Led team in tackles in 1986 (106) and in 1987 (125) and ranks sixth in school history with 339 career tackles.
Phil Olsen, Utah State-Defensive End-1969 consensus First Team All-American...1969 team captain and Utah State Athlete of the Year...Selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl...Brother of College Football Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen.
Leslie O'Neal, Oklahoma State-Defensive Tackle-Two-time First Team All-American, earning unanimous honors in 1985...Three-time All-Big Eight selection and 1984 Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year, who led Pokes to three-straight bowl berths...Left OSU as school leader in career sacks (34), career TFL (47) and single-season sacks (16).
Jim Otis, Ohio State-Fullback-Named consensus First Team All-American in 1969...Member of the 1968 National Championship team...Named First Team All-Big Ten conference in 1969 and led the Buckeyes to two conference titles...Led the team in rushing three times.
Paul Palmer, Temple-Running Back-1986 unanimous First Team All-American...Led the nation in rushing yards (1,866), rushing yards per game (169.6) and all-purpose yards (2,633) in 1986... Set 23 school records and was named ECAC Player of the Year in 1986.
Jake Plummer, Arizona State-Quarterback-1996 First Team All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year...Led 1996 team to an undefeated regular season and first Rose Bowl appearance since 1986...Four-year starter and two-time ASU MVP who threw for more than 2,000 yards in three consecutive seasons (8,827 career passing yards).
Anthony Poindexter, Virginia-Defensive Back-Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in 1998...Three-time All-ACC pick and 1998 ACC Defensive Player of the Year...Holds five school records and finished career with 342 tackles and 12 interceptions.
Troy Polamalu, Southern California-Defensive Back-Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in 2002...Two-time First Team All-Pac-10 selection and finalist for the Thorpe Award as a senior...Two-year captain and 2001 USC MVP, who led Trojans to two bowl berths and a share of the 2002 Pac-10 title.
Antwaan Randle El, Indiana-Quarterback-2001 First Team consensus All-American...First player in FBS history to pass for 6,000 yards and rush for 3,000 yards in career...Rushed for more yards than any QB in FBS history upon conclusion of career.
Simeon Rice, Illinois-Linebacker-Two-time First Team All-American and three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection...Holds conference and school record for career sacks (44.5) and Illini record for career tackles for loss (69)...Set school record for single-season sacks (16).
Ron Rivera, California-Linebacker-1983 consensus First Team All-American...Lombardi Award finalist in 1983 and named East-West Shrine Game Most Valuable Player...Selected as Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 1983...Led team in tackles from 1981-83.
Mike Ruth, Boston College-Nose Guard-1985 consensus First Team All-American and Outland Trophy winner...Three-time All-East and All-ECAC selection...Member of three bowl teams and recorded 344 career tackles, including 29 sacks.
Rashaan Salaam, Colorado-Tailback-1994 unanimous First Team All-American and Heisman Trophy winner...1994 Walter Camp Player of the Year and Doak Walker Award recipient... 1994 Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year who led nation in rushing, scoring and all-purpose yards.
Lucius Sanford, Georgia Tech-Linebacker-Named First Team All-America in 1977...A three-time First Team All-Conference selection, he led Georgia Tech in tackles in 1975 (121) and 1976 (117)...Named to the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame and the school's All-Time Team in 1991.
Larry Seivers, Tennessee-Wide Receiver-Two-time consensus First Team All-American in 1975 and 1976...Two-time First Team All-SEC selection...Currently ranks sixth in Tennessee history in career reception yardage (1,924) and seventh in career receptions (117).
Bob Stein, Minnesota-Defensive End-1967 First Team All-American...Two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection who led Gophers to co-share of the 1967 Big Ten title...1969 NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
Matt Stinchcomb, Georgia-Offensive Tackle-Two-time First Team All-America selection (consensus-'98)...Two-time First Team All-SEC and 1998 recipient of Jacobs Blocking Trophy...1998 NFF William V. Campbell Trophyrecipient and NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
Aaron Taylor, Notre Dame-Offensive Tackle-Two-time First Team All-American, earning consensus honors in '92 and unanimous in '93... 1993 Lombardi Award winner and named College Interior Lineman of the Year by Touchdown Club of Columbus (Ohio)...Led Irish to four bowl games.
Andre Tippett, Iowa-Defensive End-1981 consensus First Team All-American who led Hawkeyes to 1982 Rose Bowl berth, theirfirst bowl game since 1959...Two-time First Team All-Big Ten performer, leading Iowa to 1981 Big Ten championship...Holds Iowa record for TFL yardage (153 yards/20 TFL).
Brian Urlacher, New Mexico-Defensive Back-1999 consensus First Team All-American and finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award...Led the nation in tackles (178) as a junior and named 1999 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year...1999 UNM Male Athlete of the Year who ranks fourth all-time in school history with 442 career tackles.
Troy Vincent, Wisconsin-Defensive Back-1991 First Team All-American and runner-up for the 1991 Thorpe Award...Two-time All-Big Ten selection and 1991 Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Year...Finished career as Wisconsin's leader in punt return yards (773) and passes defended (31).
Jackie Walker, Tennessee-Linebacker-1970 and '71 First Team All-American...Set NCAA record for career interceptions returned for TD by a linebacker (5)... Two-time First Team All-SEC selection who helped Vols to 1969 SEC Championship.
Lorenzo White, Michigan State-Running Back-Two-time First Team All-American, earning unanimous ('85) and consensus ('87) honors...Led State to 1987 Big Ten title and Rose Bowl win...Led nation in rushing (1985), first MSU player to lead team in rushing four-straight seasons.
Zach Wiegert, Nebraska-Offensive Tackle-1994 unanimous First Team All-American and winner of the Outland Trophy...Led Huskers to 1994 National Championship and 1993 National Championship game appearance...Three-time All-Big Eight selection who led Nebraska to league titles every year of career.
Steve Wisniewski, Penn State-Offensive Guard-1988 First Team All-American...Member of 1986 12-0 national championship team...Helped Blair Thomas rush for 1,414 yards and 11 touchdowns in 1987 and D.J. Dozier attain First Team All-America honors in 1986.
Al Worley, Washington-Defensive Back-1968 consensus First Team All-American who holds NCAA record for single-season interceptions (14)...1968 First Team All-Pac-8 selection who held conference record for interceptions in a game (4)...1968 team co-captain and University of Washington Athlete of the Year.
Marc Zeno, Tulane-Wide Receiver-1987 First Team All-American who broke the NCAA Division I record for career receiving yards (3,725)...Led team in receiving three-straight years and holds nearly every school receiving record, including career receptions (236) and 100-yard games (17)...Two-time First Team All-South Independent selection.
2017 FBS COACH CANDIDATE CAPSULE BIOS
Jim Carlen-West Virginia (1966-69), Texas Tech (1970-74), South Carolina (1975-81)-Led teams to eight bowl games and 13 winning seasons in 16 years as head coach...1973 National Coach of the Year...Three-time Southwest Conference Coach of the Year... Coached Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers at South Carolina.
Pete Cawthon Sr.-Austin College [Texas] (1923-27), Texas Tech (1930-40)-Led Tech to four Border Conference titles in 11 seasons at the helm...Led 1938 team to 10-0 regular season and the school's first-ever Cotton Bowl appearance...Boasts highest win percentage (69.3) among Tech coaches with terms of three years or more.
Danny Ford-Clemson (1978-89), Arkansas (1993-97)-Led Tigers toperfect 12-0 season andnational title in 1981...Won five ACC championships and twice named conference coach of the year...Boasts four of the top five winningest seasons in school history and set Clemson record with 41 consecutive weeks in AP Top 20...Led Arkansas to first SEC West title in 1995.
Billy Jack Murphy-Memphis (1958-71)-All-time winningest coach in Memphis history...Had 11 winning seasons and retired as the 15th winningest coach in the nation...Member of the Memphis Hall of Fame and Mississippi State Hall of Fame.
Darryl Rogers-Cal State East Bay [formerly Cal State Hayward] (1965), Fresno State (1966-72), San Jose State (1973-75), Michigan State (1976-79), Arizona State (1980-84)-Took Fresno State to two bowl games...Achieved an unprecedented national ranking at San Jose State...Was Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1977 and National Coach of the Year by Sporting News in 1978...Won the Big Ten title in 1978.
Steve Spurrier-Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-01), South Carolina (2005-15)-Winningest head coach in both University of Florida and University of South Carolina history, ranking second all-time in wins in SEC annals...Led Gators to 1996 National Championship and six SEC titles...Posted seven conference championships, nine conference coach of the year honors and 21 bowl appearances in 26-year career.