Tebow among 1st-timers on college HOF ballot

by Ricardo Gutierrez - Nominees for the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame include first-timers Tim Tebow, Alex Smith and Ryan Leaf, and holdovers include Reggie Bush, Warrick Dunn and Ray Lewis.

Tebow among 1st-timers on college HOF ballot

Tim Tebow, Alex Smith, Ryan Leaf highlight first-time candidates on College Football Hall of Fame ballot play Tim Tebow's promise (0:59) Former Florida QB Tim Tebow recalls his famous speech, "The Promise." (0:59) 10:57 AM ET Andrea AdelsonESPN Senior Writer Close ACC reporter. Joined ESPN.com in 2010. Graduate of the University of Florida. Tim Tebow, Alex Smith and Ryan Leaf highlight the first-time candidates on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame, it was announced Monday. In all, there are 80 players and nine coaches from FBS, and 96 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks. The ballot was emailed Monday to the more than 12,000 National Football Foundation members and current Hall of Famers, who have through June 30 to vote. Those votes will then be tabulated and submitted to the NFF's Honors Court, which will select the class. The Honors Court is chaired by NFF board member and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Griffin. The newest inductees will be announced in early 2023. Tebow led Florida to two national championships and became the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy in 2007. He was a three-time SEC Offensive Player of the Year and set 28 school records during his career. Smith, the former Utah quarterback, led the Utes to their first 12-0 season in 2004 and was an All-American that year. He retired from the NFL in 2021 after returning from a devastating leg injury to be named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year in 2020. Leaf was the 1997 Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year at Washington State, leading the Cougars to their first league title in school history and first Rose Bowl berth in 67 years. Other notable names as first-time candidates: Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma linebacker Rocky Calmus, Penn State running back Ki-Jana Carter, Oregon running back LaMichael James, Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, Oklahoma defensive lineman Dewey Selmon and Memphis running back DeAngelo Williams. USC running back Reggie Bush, Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch, Florida State running back Warrick Dunn, Syracuse defensive end Dwight Freeney and Miami linebacker Ray Lewis are among holdovers from ballots in other years. Players are eligible if they are 10 full seasons removed from their final year of college football and have received first-team All-America honors by an organization recognized by the NCAA. Coaches are eligible three full seasons after retirement or immediately after retirement if they are at least 70 years old. A coach also must have been a head coach for at least 10 years and have coached at least 100 games with a winning percentage of .600 or better.