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Cal Football

Cal Trio On 2023 College Football Hall Of Fame Ballot

June 6, 2022
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IRVING, Texas – Tony Gonzalez, Marshawn Lynch and Ron Rivera are on the 2023 ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame announced Monday by the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame. The Cal trio is looking to join 22 Golden Bears already enshrined in the esteemed Hall with Steve Bartkowski's induction in the Class of 2012 the most recent.

"It's an enormous honor to just be on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot considering more than 5.54 million people have played college football and only 1,056 players have been inducted," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "The Hall's requirement of being a first-team All-American creates a much smaller pool of about 1500 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 we look forward to announcing the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame class early next year."

Below are notes on each member of the trio, as well as criteria for Hall of Fame consideration.
 
Tony Gonzalez, TE (Cal, 1994-96)
– Consensus first-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 selection in his final collegiate season in 1996 when he had career highs of 46 receptions for 699 yards receiving and five touchdown catches
– Shares Cal's single-game bowl record for most receptions with nine in the 1996 Aloha Bowl vs. Navy
– A two-sport standout at Cal who also starred in basketball and helped the Bears to the Sweet 16 of the 1997 NCAA Tournament– A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the NFL's 2000s All-Decade Team who played in the league for 17 seasons and ranks among the all-time regular-season leaders in receptions (3rd, 1325), receiving yards (6th, 15127) and receiving touchdowns (8th, 111)
– A member of the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame's class of 2015
 
Marshawn Lynch, RB (Cal, 2004-06)
– First-team All-American, Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Pac-10 selection in his final collegiate season as a 2006 junior when he rushed for 1356 yards and led Cal to a share of the conference title
– Cal's all-time leader with 17 games of 100 or more yards rushing, while his 3230 career rushing yards rank second in school history, his 29 rushing touchdowns tied for third and his 4574 all-purpose yards fourth
– The only player in Cal history with two seasons ranking in the school's top 10 for single-season rushing yards with 1356 in 2006 (5th) and 1246 in 2005 (7th)
– Helped Cal post a 28-9 overall record during his career including an 18-7 mark in Pac-10 games
– Led Cal to a single-season school-record-tying 10 wins during both his 2004 freshman and 2006 junior campaigns with the 2004 team recording Cal's first 10-win season since 1991 also finishing No. 9 in the final AP Top 25 while the 2006 squad was Cal's first Pac-10 co-champions since 1975 and ranked No. 14 in the final AP poll
– Set Cal's single-game bowl records with 194 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the ground when he was named the 2005 Las Vegas Bowl Co-MVP
– Elected in the first round (No. 12 overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills and played 12 NFL seasons with Buffalo (2007-10), Seattle (2010-15, '19) and Oakland (2017-18)
– A member of the NFL 2010's All-Decade team who captured Super Bowl XLVIII with Seattle following the 2013 campaign and was a first-team All-Pro selection for the Seahawks in 2012
– A member of the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame's class of 2021
 
Ron Rivera, LB (Cal, 1980-83)
– Consensus first-team All-American, Lombardi Award finalist, East-West Shrine Game MVP and Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year as a 1983 senior
– Led Cal in tackles for each of his final three seasons (1981-83), finished his career as the school's all-time record-holder with 336 tackles and still ranks sixth on the career list
– Had a successful nine-year NFL playing career with the Chicago Bears (1984-92) including a victory in Super Bowl XX to cap the 1985 season
– Has coached in the NFL since 1997 and is entering his third season as the head coach of the Washington Commanders in 2022 after spending eight-plus seasons as the Carolina Panthers' head coach (2011-19)
– Two-time NFC champion as a coach (2006, '15)
– AP NFL Coach of the Year (2013, '15)
– Winner of the George Halas Award (2022) given to an NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes adversity to succeed after making a full recovery from cancer diagnosed in 2020
– A member of the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame's class of 1994
 
The 2023 ballot was emailed Monday to the more than 12000 NFF members and current College Football Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF's Honors Court, which will deliberate and select the class. The Honors Court, chaired by NFF Board Member and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Griffin from Ohio State, includes an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletic administrators, Hall of Famers and members of the media.

"Having a ballot and a voice in the selection of the College Football Hall of Fame inductees is one of the most cherished NFF member benefits," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, a 1989 College Football Hall of Fame inductee from Mississippi. "There is no group more knowledgeable or passionate about college football than our membership, and the tradition of the ballot helps us engage them in the lofty responsibility of selecting those who have reached the pinnacle of achievement in our sport."

The 2023 voting deadline is June 30. If you would like to become a member and receive this year's ballot, please visit caringcent.org/nff/membership or contact NFF Director of Membership Ron Dilatush at rdilatush@footballfoundation.com. The online voting system for the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot is powered by TicketManager.

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 officially be 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.
 
College Football Hall Of Fame Criteria
– 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.

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