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Ryan Leaf Named to 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot

Jun 6, 2022

IRVING, Texas (June 6, 2022) – Former Washington State All-American quarterback Ryan Leaf was among the 80 players and nine coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision named to the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame induction ballot, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame announced Monday. Additionally, the ballot includes 96 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks. This marks the first time Leaf has appeared on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot.
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.
Leaf spent four seasons in a Cougar uniform (1994-97) and is best known for spearheading arguably the greatest season in Cougar football history when he led the Cougars to the 1998 Rose Bowl, ending a 67-year drought in the Granddaddy of all bowl games. After starting all 11 games as a sophomore culminating with All-America honorable mention honors, Leaf put together a 1997 season unmatched in the history of the Pac-10 Conference. He set conference and school single-season records for touchdown passes, total offense and passing yards. He was the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, finished third in the Heisman Trophy race, the highest finish in school history, captured the Sammy Baugh Passer of the Year Award and was a Sporting News First-Team All-American.
Leaf led WSU to its first 10-win season since 1929 and a late rally against National Champion Michigan in the Rose Bowl ended as time expired deep in Wolverine territory. He declared for the NFL Draft following his redshirt junior season, holding three career and six single-season passing records. The No. 2 pick by the San Diego Chargers in the 1998 NFL Draft, he spent four years in the NFL before injuries cut his career short. Leaf was inducted into the Washington State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.
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.