For the first time, defensive end Julius Peppers is on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame.
Players whose college careers concluded at least 10 years ago are eligible once their pro careers end. Peppers, a standout in both football and basketball at the University of North Carolina, just wrapped up his 17-year NFL career ranking fourth in league history with 159.5 sacks.
His college stats include 30.5 sacks, which ranked second in UNC history, to go with 167 tackles, 53 tackles for loss, five interceptions, five forced fumbles and 42 QB pressures. He scored three defensive touchdowns (two picks, one fumble recovery). Peppers won the Lombardi Award, given to the nation's top defensive lineman, and won the Chuck Bednarik Award for the best overall defensive player in his junior season.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, a decorated linebacker at Cal in the early 1980s, also is on the ballot along with former Panthers and University of Miami linebacker Dan Morgan. The list of 76 candidates also includes Ed McCaffrey, father of Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.
The 2020 class will be comprised of 13 college players and two college coaches and will be unveiled prior to the next national championship game. At least one of the players will come from the 101-player "divisional“ ballot, which includes former Panthers defensive back Tyrone Poole, who played at Fort Valley State.