Three former Colorado Buffaloes were among the players to make the ballot cut for the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
The list of 99 players and 33 coaches released by the National Football Foundation included tailback Eric Bieniemy (1990), defensive back Chris Hudson (1994) and running back Rashaan Salaam (1994). Bieniemy and Hudson make first-time appearances on the ballot with Salaam’s second after narrowly missing last year’s final cut.
Colorado’s Heisman winner was named a unanimous First Team All-American in 1994. The late Salaam also collected the Walter Camp Player of the Year and Doak Walker Awards that year by leading the nation in rushing, scoring and all-purpose yards. He went on to be the youngest player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards as a member of the Chicago Bears in 1995. Perhaps Salaam continues to posthumously face unjust treatment from voters as the only Heisman winner from the 1990s not in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Bieniemy, like Salaam, was a unanimous First Team All-American the year he left Boulder. He would finish third in 1990’s Heisman voting behind BYU’s Ty Detmer and Notre Dame’s Raghib “Rocket” Ismail. However, “Scooter” and the Buffs would beat “Rocket” and the Fighting Irish to claim a national championship later that year. Bieniemy still holds eight CU records including most career yards and most 100-yard games. He recently won a Super Bowl as offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs this past February.
Hudson aims to be CU’s first Thorpe Award winner to be enshrined in Atlanta. He was the second defensive back to receive the honor in 1994, two years removed from fellow winner Deon Figures. A three-time First Team All-Big Eight selection, Hudson finished his Buffs career with 141 tackles, 15 INT’s, 20 pass deflections and two touchdowns.
If Salaam or Hudson make the cut, they would join 1994 teammate Michael Westbrook (2020) in the Hall. If Bieniemy makes the cut, he would join teammate Alfred Williams (2010), along with coach Bill McCartney (2013) as a trio from CU’s 1990 national championship team. With Westbook and Williams the most recent inductees, the Buffs currently have nine players enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
The ballot will be voted on by 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers.
“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 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 announcement of the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be made in early 2021, with specific details to be determined.