Former Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf was named to the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame ballot on Monday. The 1997 first team All-American is one of the 80 Division-1 athletes to be named to the ballot. The 2023 class will be announced early next year and will be inducted December 5, 2023 at the National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner.
Leaf led the Cougs to a conference championship and a Rose Bowl in 1997 before declaring for the NFL Draft and forgoing his final year of eligibility. He was named an All-American and Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for a conference and school record passing yards, passing touchdowns, and total offense. He would go on to finish third in Heisman voting - the highest a Cougar has finished in the Heisman race.
He would finish his career with 7,433 yards, 59 passing touchdowns, 24 interceptions, and 14 rushing touchdowns. He would go on to be drafted second overall to the San Diego Chargers and have a four year career in the NFL.
The criteria for players to make the Hall of Fame include being named a first team All-American and be 10 years removed since their final season. The NFF also takes into consideration the post-career record as a citizen. The release states “ He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community.” While Leaf 20 years ago might not have been the best citizen, we can all agree the turnaround that he has made is great for himself and for the game of football.
What an incredible honor. I’m so glad I can truly appreciate it now. The player may have deserved this some time ago, but the man didn’t. I’m very proud of the man I see in the mirror today and am incredible grateful and blessed for this recognization! #GoCougs #soberlife https://t.co/bikxWlZngi— Ryan D Leaf (@RyanDLeaf) June 6, 2022
Joining the 80 nominees are nine coaches from Division-1 as well as 96 athletes and 33 coaches from the FCS ranks. The NFF will induct roughly 12 players and a few coaches from this list.
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.
The announcement of the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be made in January 2023, with specific details to be announced in the future. During the 2023 season, each member of the Hall of Fame Class will be honored on the field at his respective school with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments.
Ryan Leaf, who led the WSU to the school’s first Rose Bowl in 67 years, is making a first appearance on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot.