Ohio State football: James Laurinaitis joins Keith Byars, Chris Ward on hall of fame ballot

Bill Rabinowitz
Linebacker James Laurinaitis won the 2006 Nagurski and 2007 Butkus awards. [Dispatch file photo]

Three former Ohio State players — running back Keith Byars, linebacker James Laurinaitis and offensive tackle Chris Ward — are among 76 players on the 2020 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Byars and Ward have been candidates multiple times. Laurinaitis is on the ballot for the first time.

Byars was a unanimous first-team All-American and Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1984. He ran for 1,764 yards that season. He ranks fifth all-time at Ohio State with 3,200 career rushing yards.

Laurinaitis was a three-time first-team All-American from 2006-2008 and two-time Big Ten defensive player of the year in helping the Buckeyes reach the BCS championship game in 2006 and ‘07. He also won the 2006 Nagurski and 2007 Butkus awards.

Ward was a two-time first-team All-American in 1976 and ’77. He was a three-time first-team conference pick and helped the Buckeyes to at least a share of four Big Ten titles.

The ballot was emailed Monday to more than 12,000 members of the National Football Foundation as well as Hall of Famers. The NFF’s Honors Court, chaired by Ohio State two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, will select the inductees.

The announcement of the 2020 class will be made in January, shortly before the College Football Playoff championship game.


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