The 2018 College Football Hall of Fame ballot was sent out June 1, and one of the first things I always do when receiving it is check the number of Denver Broncos connections.
This year there are eight former Broncos — plus one Broncos draft pick — among the numbers.
There are a total of 75 players and six coaches from the football bowl subdivision, and there are 98 more players from divisional ranks.
That may seem like a lot, but consider that 5.19 million players have played college football, with just 987 inducted thus far.
As National Football Foundation President Steve Hatchell says, "Being in this elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to ever have played the game."
I am always very proud to have a vote, and I agree wholeheartedly with NFF Chairman Archie Manning when he says that "having a ballot and a voice in the selection of inductees is one of the most cherished NFF member benefits."
The College Football Hall of Fame, which runs in conjunction with the NFF, has selected the nominees for this year's class. Plenty have Broncos connections.
Billy Thompson is one of the "divisional player" candidates for his great career at Maryland State (now Maryland-Eastern Shore). B.T., of course, is in the Broncos Ring of Fame but was a College All-American in 1968 before coming to Denver.
Alphabetically, the others are:
- Terrell Buckley, Florida State and a Bronco in 2000.
- Ed McCaffrey, Stanford and a great wide receiver (1995-2003) on two of our world championship teams.
- Shawn Moore, Virginia and a Broncos quarterback from 1991-93.
- Phil Olsen, Utah State and a defensive tackle for us in 1975-76.
- Jake Plummer, Arizona State and our starting quarterback from 2003-06.
- Tyrone Poole, Fort Valley State and a Denver defensive back in 2002.
- Simeon Rice, Illinois and a Bronco in 2007.
I mentioned that there is also a Bronco draftee on the ballot, that being Rick Leach, the Michigan quarterback who told me he would sign with us — unless he drafted in baseball by the Detroit Tigers. Which, is what happened, and that's why Leach never played for the Broncos.
Of course, Peyton Manning is a member of this year's class, with the banquet to be held in December at the New York Hilton.
Congratulations and best of luck on this tremendous honor to every former Broncos player in the voting for the College Football Hall of Fame class of 2018.