University of Miami

Three Canes greats, including a UM coach, on 2019 College Football Hall of Fame ballot

Inducted into the University of Miami Ring of Honor are, from left, Ray Lewis, Warren Sapp and Michael Irvin. In this Oct. 14, 2017, picture, the Hurricanes hosted Georgia Tech at Hard Rock Stadium. Lewis, who will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, was nominated for the 2019 class of the College Football Hall of Fame, it was announced on Monday, June, 4, 2018.
Inducted into the University of Miami Ring of Honor are, from left, Ray Lewis, Warren Sapp and Michael Irvin. In this Oct. 14, 2017, picture, the Hurricanes hosted Georgia Tech at Hard Rock Stadium. Lewis, who will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, was nominated for the 2019 class of the College Football Hall of Fame, it was announced on Monday, June, 4, 2018. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Former Miami Hurricanes greats are not easily forgotten.

Three of them — linebackers Ray Lewis and Dan Morgan, and former University of Miami coach Dennis Erickson — are on the ballot for the 2019 class of the College Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation and CFB Hall of Fame announced Monday.

This is Morgan's first time on the ballot, as making the college hall, no matter how amazing the player, often takes several years. Lewis has been on the ballot at least three times.

It's also two-time national champion Erickson's first time on the ballot as a coach.

Last year there were 10 former greats inducted, including Miami Hurricanes legendary safety Ed Reed. The FBS Honors Court, chaired by College Football Hall of Fame member Archie Griffin of Ohio State, is known to select a class that is diverse geographically, by conference and even by positions. The selectors often don't pick someone from a school that got selected the previous year.

More than 12,000 National Football Foundation members and current Hall of Famers send their selections to the Honors Court, and the 2019 class will be announced Jan. 7.

Some information on each Hurricanes' nominee:

Morgan: The recently hired director of player personnel for the Buffalo Bills, Morgan, 39, graduated from Coral Springs Taravella High School. In 2000, Morgan became the first player in college history to win the Butkus Award (top linebacker), Nagurski Award (defensive player of the year) and Bednarik Award (top defensive player) in the same season. He set a Miami record for tackles in a career with 532. He is in the UM Sports Hall of Fame. He was the 11th overall pick by the Carolina Panthers in the 2001 NFL Draft and played for seven seasons.

Lewis: A 1995 first-team Associated Press All-American, Lewis, 43, was a finalist for the Butkus Award and came within one vote of tying Illinois senior Kevin Hardy for the trophy. He ranks sixth all-time at Miami with 388 career tackles, and set consecutive records for solo tackles by a UM middle linebacker with 91 in 1994 and 95 in 1995. Lewis, a former Baltimore Raven, will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, class of 2018, on Aug. 4. Last October, he was inducted into the Miami Hurricanes Ring of Honor along with Warren Sapp, Michael Irvin, the late Sean Taylor and Reed. He already is in the UM Sports Hall of Fame.

"I think this group of men speaks about one thing,'' Lewis said that day at UM. And that is, whatever you want to go do in life, go do it. This moment speaks volumes about that. ... Understanding what we all represent.

"Man, I'm overwhelmed. It's like something you could never dream of as a kid but now I'm sitting here as a man sitting next to my warriors.''

Erickson: He is the only Miami coach to lead the Hurricanes to two national titles, in 1989 and 1991, and has the highest win percentage (87.5) in school history. Erickson, 71, coached at UM from 1989-94. He also coached Idaho from 1982-85 and 2006; Wyoming in 1986; Washington State in 1987-88; Oregon State from 1999-2002; and Arizona State from 2007-11. He led his teams to 12 bowl games and at least a share of seven conference titles. He is in the UM Sports Hall of Fame.

Erickson was named last month the head coach of the Salt Lake City franchise of the new Alliance of American Football, which begins play the week after the next Super Bowl. The criteria for the College Football Hall of Fame include that a coach "becomes eligible three full seasons after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age.''

Former University of Miami greats were inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame on April 18, 2017.

It remains to be seen whether his new job affects Erickson's nomination.

The other Miami Hurricanes in the College Football Hall of Fame include defensive end Ted Hendricks, running back Don Bosseler, safety Bennie Blades, quarterback Arnold Tucker, quarterback Gino Torretta, defensive tackle Russell Maryland, quarterback Vinny Testaverde, Reed and former coaches Jimmy Johnson, Jack Harding and Andy Gustafson.

Also nominated for the 2019 class are former Florida offensive tackle Lomas Brown, a 1984 consensus first-team All-American, and Florida State defensive back Terrell Buckley, a 1991 unanimous first-team All-American and winner of the Thorpe Award.

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