Three former Ohio State players — including tailback Keith Byars, who finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1984 — are on the 2019 ballot released Monday for the College Football Hall of Fame administered by the National Football Foundation.
There are 100 former NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision players listed. Joining Byars from Ohio State are tackle Chris Ward and fullback Jim Otis, the latter of whom has been listed several times before.
“It's an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 5.26 million people have played college football and only 997 players have been inducted,” NFF president and CEO Steve Hatchell said in the press release. “The Hall's requirement of being a first team All-American creates a much smaller pool of about 1,500 individuals who are even eligible.
“Being in today's elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to have ever played the game, and those actually elected to the class will be part of a momentous year as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of college football in 2019.”
Former Ohio State tailback Archie Griffin, the only two-time Heisman winner and a longtime hall of fame member, is the chairman of the FBS honors court that will select the class after votes from the more than 12,000 NFF members and hall of fame members are tabulated. Former Marshall coach Jack Lengyel chairs the same committee for the divisional candidates, players and coaches from schools below the FBS level.
Here are the bios of the Ohio State candidates, which accompanied the release:
• Keith Byars, tailback: Unanimous first-team All-American and Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1984; led nation in rushing (1,764), all-purpose yards (2,441) and scoring (144) in ’84; named Big Ten MVP in ’84 and was two-time All-Big Ten selection; fifth all-time at OSU with 4,369 career all-purpose yards, including 3,200 rushing yards.
• Jim Otis, fullback: Consensus first-team All-American in 1969; member of the 1968 national championship team; first team All-Big Ten in ’69 and led the Buckeyes to two conference titles; led the team in rushing three times.
• Chris Ward, offensive tackle: Two-time first-team All-American (consensus 1976, unanimous ’77); three-time first-team All-Big Ten; helped Buckeyes to at least a share of four conference titles.