UCF Head Football Coach Josh Heupel Headlines College Football Hall of Fame Ballot
By UCF Knights // June 18, 2020
Hall of Fame class will be announced in early 2021
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – UCF head football coach and former University of Oklahoma All-America quarterback Josh Heupel is one of the headliners on the National Football Foundation’s 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I-A) ballot announced today.
The ballot contains the names of 78 players and seven coaches vying for induction. It’s the second consecutive year Heupel has appeared on the national ballot.
Heupel, who stands 22-4 in two seasons as UCF head coach, led the Knights to the American Athletic Conference title and a New Year’s Six bowl appearance in 2018 in his first year at UCF.
He was a 2000 consensus first-team All-American and Walter Camp Player of the Year at Oklahoma. The 2000 Heisman Trophy runner-up, he led the Sooners to a national title at the 2001 Orange Bowl.
He also was the 2000 Big 12 Player of the Year and left Oklahoma with virtually every school passing record despite only playing two seasons in Norman.
Heupel is one of two former Oklahoma players on the current ballot—joining his former teammate, all-star defensive back Roy Williams.
Heupel is one of seven quarterbacks on the ballot, joining Michael Bishop (Kansas State), Matt Cavanaugh (Pittsburgh), Tim Couch (Kentucky), Ken Dorsey (Miami), Carson Palmer (USC) and Antwaan Randle El (Indiana).
Including most recent addition Rickey Dixon in 2019, Oklahoma has 22 previous Hall of Fame selections all-time.
The ballot has been 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 FBS 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.
The Hall of Fame class will be announced in early 2021 (date TBD), inducted at the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame’s Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 7, 2021, at the Hilton Midtown in New York City, honored on the field via on-campus salutes by their respective schools during the 2021 season—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, approximately 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.
Four former UCF players are among 99 on the Hall of Fame’s divisional ballot:
Bernard Ford, Wide Receiver – Named a first-team All-American and a 1987 Harlon Hill Trophy finalist, he ranks in the top 10 of 14 UCF records, including first in receiving yards in a season (1,403), all-purpose yards per game (188) and average yards per catch in career (21.8).
Ed O’Brien, Placekicker – Named 1987 first-team All-America, he is the UCF record-holder for career field goals made (50), field goals attempted (77) and longest field goal made (55 yards). O’Brien helped UCF to the 1987 NCAA Division II semifinals.
Charlie Pierce, Punter / Placekicker – Named first-team All-America, he is the career record-holder at UCF for punts (173), punt yardage (7,111) and points scored (297). Pierce helped UCF to the NCAA FCS playoffs in 1993.
David Rhodes, Wide Receiver – A 1993 first-team All-American, he holds UCF records for receptions (213), receiving yards (3,618) and receiving TD (29) in career.
The only Knight to record three seasons with at least 1,000-yards receiving, he helped the Knights to the 1993 NCAA FCS playoffs.
Divisional nominees remain on the ballot until they are inducted or until a 50-year period passes. The Divisional Honors Court is chaired by NFF board member Jack Lengyel.