By Chuck Pool (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Trevor Cobb, who shredded the Rice football rushing record book during a stellar four-year career with the Owls, is among 76 Football Bowl Subdivision players who appear on the2016 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, which was announced by the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
The ballot was emailed this week to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF's Honors Courts, which deliberate and select the class. The FBS Honors Court, chaired by former ACC Commissioner and NCAA president and NFF Director Emeritus Gene Corrigan, and the Divisional Honors Court, chaired by former Marshall head coach, longtime athletics director and NFF Board Member Jack Lengyel, include an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletic administrators, Hall of Famers and members of the media.
To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been named a First Team All-American by a major/national selector as recognized and utilized by the NCAA for their consensus All-America teams; played their last year of intercollegiate football at least 10 years prior; played within the last 50 years and cannot be currently playing professional football. Coaches must have coached a minimum of 10 years and 100 games as a head coach; won at least 60 percent of their games; and be retired from coaching for at least three years. If a coach is retired and over the age of 70, there is no waiting period. If he is over the age of 75, he is eligible as an active coach. In both cases, the candidate's post-football record as a citizen may also be weighed.
Cobb became the first Owl to win one of college football's major individual awards when he received the 1991 Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back. Cobb was a consensus All-American in 1991 and went on to be named the 1992 Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He completed his ranked second on the SWC career rushing list with 4,948 yards, which ranked eight on the NCAA career list at that time and now ranks 22 in NCAA history.
He became the first Owl to rush for over 1,000 yards in three seasons and holds the top three season totals in school history, capped by his 1,692 yards in 1991 during his run to the Doak Walker Award. In addition to his yardage total, Cobb holds Rice season and career marks for rushing attempts (306/1,091), and all-purpose yards (6,512) in addition to the career mark for rushing touchdowns (38).
Cobb is one of three former Southwest Conference star running backs who appear on the 2016 ballot, joining SMU's Erick Dickerson and TCU's Kenneth Davis.
He is looking to become the seventh Rice player to earn induction into the hall and the first since Tommy Kramer was inducted in 2012. Weldon Humble was the first Owl to earn the honor with his induction in 1961 and he was followed by Froggy Williams in 1965, Bill Wallace in 1978, Dicky Maegle in 1979 and Buddy Dial in 1993. Former Rice head coach Jess Neely was inducted in 1971. Legendary coach John Heisman, who concluded his coaching career with a four-year stint at Rice from 1924-27, was inducted in 1954.
The announcement of the 2016 Class will be made Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Ariz. The hotel is serving as the official media hotel for the College Football Playoff National Championship, which will be played Jan. 11 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Several of the inductees will be on site at the press conference to represent the class and share their thoughts on the announcement. The Jan. 8 event will be televised live, and more information will be available as the date draws near. Inductees will also participate in the pregame festivities and the coin toss on Jan. 11.
The tradition of announcing the College Football Hall of Fame inductees on the Friday before the national title game does not have an impact on the induction ceremonies, which continue to take place during the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City at the Waldorf Astoria, and the 2016 Class will be inducted on Dec. 6, 2016.