Football

Tim Couch Named to 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot

by Susan Lax

Former Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch has been named to the 2023 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today. Couch is one of 80 players and nine coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 96 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks.

A storied name of the Kentucky program, Couch, was the team’s quarterback from 1996-98. After giving up his senior season of eligibility, he was drafted as the No. 1 pick by Cleveland in the 1999 NFL Draft. In 1998, the junior quarterback was named a first-team All-American and consensus Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. Couch completed 400 of 553 passes for 4,275 yards and 36 touchdowns and led the nation in pass completions while ranked second in completion percentage, passing yardage and touchdown passes, and fourth in total offense. After guiding the Wildcats to the Outback Bowl, UK’s first New Year’s Day bowl appearance in 47 years, Couch finished fourth in Heisman Trophy balloting. He was also a finalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award as a junior and sophomore. His breakout sophomore campaign featured 363 of 547 passes completed for 3,884 yards and 37 touchdowns while leading the nation in pass attempts, completions, yardage, and completion percentage. Also during his sophomore year, Couch earned second-team All-SEC honors and finished ninth in Heisman voting. He played in seven games as a true freshman, with two starts. Career wise, Couch completed 795 passes on 1,184 attempts for 8,435 yards and 74 touchdowns. The legend ended his career with seven NCAA records, 14 SEC records, and 26 school records.

Couch, also a standout at Leslie County High School in Hyden, Kentucky, was inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame in 2021.

The announcement of the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be made in early 2023, with specific details to be announced in the future.
 
The 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted during the 65th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 5, 2023, and permanently immortalized at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. They will also be honored at their respective schools with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the 2023 season.
 
The criteria for Hall of Fame consideration include:
 

  • First and foremost, a player must have received First-Team All-America recognition by a selector that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise its consensus All-America teams.
  • A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation’s Honors Courts 10 full seasons after his final year of intercollegiate football played.
  • While each nominee’s football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post-football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether the candidate earned a college degree.
  • Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years.* For example, to be eligible for the 2023 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1973 or thereafter. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.
  • A coach becomes eligible three full seasons after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head football coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.
  • Nominations may only be submitted by the current athletics director, head coach or sports information director (SID) of a potential candidate’s collegiate institution. Nominations may also be submitted by the president/executive director of a dues-paying chapter of the National Football Foundation.

 *Players who do not comply with the 50-year rule may still be eligible for consideration by the Football Bowl Subdivision and Divisional Veterans Committees. Veterans Committee candidates must still meet First Team All-America requirement.
 
 Once nominated for consideration, all FBS player candidates are submitted to one of eight District Screening Committees, depending on their school’s geographic location, which conducts a vote to determine who will appear on the ballot and represent their respective districts. Each year, approximately 15 candidates, who are not selected for the Hall of Fame but received significant votes in the final selection, will be named automatic holdovers and will bypass the district screening process and automatically appear on the ballot the following year. Additionally, the Veterans Committee may make recommendations to the Honors Court for exceptions that allow for the induction of players who played more than 50 years ago. The Honors Court annually reviews the Hall of Fame criteria to ensure a fair and streamlined process.
 
Of the 5.54 million individuals who have played college football since Princeton first battled Rutgers on Nov. 6, 1869, only 1,056 players have earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, or less than two one-hundredths of a percent (.02%) of those who have played the game during the past 152 years. From the coaching ranks, 226 individuals have achieved Hall of Fame distinction.
 

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