Three of the most recognizable names in University of Miami football history have been added to the 2019 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation (NFF) announced Monday.
Linebackers Ray Lewis and Dan Morgan along with former Miami Hurricanes coach Dennis Erickson are among the 76 players and six coaches to be included on the ballot.
While all three have impressive, hall-of-fame-worthy football resumes – especially at the collegiate level – it’s Morgan – not Lewis – that is probably the biggest veritable lock to earn the honor.
While Morgan didn’t have the same professional success that Lewis enjoyed, he is in the conversation of the best college linebackers in modern history.
He led the Hurricanes in tackles in three of his four seasons in Coral Gables and ended up with a program-best 532 career tackles. Morgan’s 2000 season is still one for lore. He was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year; was a unanimous All-American selection; and became the first player in college football history to win the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, and Dick Butkus Award.
Lewis’ college career is nothing to scoff at, though.
Known for his passionate pre-game speeches, intense demeanor and high-motor playmaking skills that led to two Super Bowl rings and 13 Pro Bowl selections, the 2018 NFL Hall of Fame inductee Lewis left his mark in Coral Gables.
Lewis put together a prolific two-year run with the Hurricanes in 1994 and 1995 – recording 312 total tackles in those two seasons and earning All-Big East honors both years.
If Morgan and Lewis are both voted in, they’d join six other former Miami Hurricanes players – Ted Hendricks (1987), Donald Bosseler (1990), Bennie Blades (2006), Gino Torretta (2009), Russell Maryland (2011), and Vinny Testaverde (2013) – in being enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
For Erickson, if elected he’d become the fourth former Hurricanes head football coach to the honor.
Erickson is still the University of Miami’s all-time leader in career winning percentage (.875) thanks to his 63-9 record in his six seasons of leading the Hurricanes.
He’s also the only coach in UM history to win two national championships (1989 and 1991) in addition to his being a three-time winner of the Big East Coach of the Year award.
While his time with the Canes was his most successful, Erickson did have stints at Idaho, Wyoming, Washington State, Oregon State and Arizona State – compiling a career coaching record of 179-96-1.
The 2019 College Hall of Fame class will be announced on January 7th, 2019 in Santa Clara, California.