Garten, Russell On 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot
BOULDER — Two Colorado Buffaloes made the national ballot for the 2023 class that will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, which the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Football Hall of Fame released Monday morning.
Offensive guard Joe Garten (1987-90) and linebacker Matt Russell (1993-96) appear on the ballot for the 2023 class, which will be announced in early 2023. In all, 80 players advanced from district ballots to make up the national ballot for the 2023 class.
"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 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 we look forward to announcing the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class early next year."
Garten was a two-time first-team All-American, consensus as a junior in 1989 and unanimous as a team captain and senior in 1990, when he finished as the runner-up for the Outland Trophy. He was a member of CU's Big Eight champion teams both years and the '90 consensus national championship team. The Buffaloes were 22-2-1 those two years, rising to No. 1 in the national polls late in both seasons.
Russell won the Butkus Award his senior season in 1996 and was a consensus first-team All-American. He was twice named first-team All-Conference both in the Big Eight and Big 12 and led the Buffs to four consecutive bowl berths and two top five final national rankings (No. 3 in 1994, No. 5 in 1996). HE is CU's all-time leader in unassisted tackles (282) and ranks second in total tackles (446) in CU history.
Garten was also on the national ballot in 2022 along with Chris Hudson (cornerback, 1991-94), who just missed out on this year's national ballot, and Rashaan Salaam, who was inducted into the 2022 class. Other Buffs on the district ballot aside from Hudson are Eric Bieniemy (1987-90) and Deon Figures (cornerback, 1988-92). Along with Hudson, Biemiemy has previously advanced to the national ballot, but since he's an active coach in the NFL, he isn't eligible for selection until his coaching days are complete.
Salaam will be part of the 2022 class that will be inducted Dec. 6 at the 64th NFF Annual Awards Dinner in Las Vegas. CU's only Heisman Trophy winner, Salaam passed away on Dec. 5, 2016. He became the fourth player to rush for 2,000 yards in a season at the time when he rambled for 2,055 yards in 1994. He also claimed the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back, the Walter Camp Trophy for the national player of the year and was a unanimous first-team All-American and first-team All-Big Eight, also selected the conference's offensive player of the year.
Salaam will be the ninth CU player to be enshrined along with his coach, Bill McCartney. Other inductees are Byron White, Joe Romig, Bobby Anderson, Dick Anderson, Alfred Williams, John Wooten, Herb Orvis and Michael Westbrook.