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Mike Utley on the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame ballot

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The former Cougar offensive lineman, NFL 3rd round pick and WSU hall of famer is on the ballot for next year's College Football Hall of Fame class.

WSU Athletic Communications

Former WSU guard Mike Utley is up for election in the College Football Hall of Fame. If he's inducted, he'll join 6 other Cougars in the hall including Rueben Mayes, "Babe" Hollingbery and William "Lone Star" Dietz.

Mike Utley came to Pullman as part of Jim Walden's 1985 recruiting class. He achieved a lot of success at WSU including leading the team to an Aloha Bowl victory in 1988, the team's first bowl win since the 1916 Rose Bowl. Utley was named the MVP of the game and went on to be named first team All-American, at the time, he was the second Cougar to be named consensus all-american. Even now, he's one of five WSU players to have that honor.

Utley went on to be drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1989 in the 3rd round. His NFL career was hampered by injuries and it came to an end in 1991 when, during a game against the Rams, Utley injured his spine and became mostly paralyzed from the chest down.

After his time in the NFL and his rehabilitation from his injury, Utley started the Mike Utley Foundation. The organization provides support to families of those impacted by paralysis and funds research efforts to try and cure it. Utley also inducted into the WSU Hall of Fame in 2004 and named the Walter Camp man of the year in 2006. Utley talked about his life, especially his time at WSU in a great TEDx video that I've link to here.

Utley is joined by an impressive list of candidates including Tim Couch, Eric Dickerson, Matt Leinart, Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, Rod Woodson and many more. The full list is available here. The final list of inductees will be announced in January before the college football national championship game and they will participate in the coin flip before the big game itself.

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Football

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A great look at the celebration of life held for the legendary WSU baseball coach over the weekend.