CHAPEL HILL — Carolina football legend Julius Peppers will be on the 2020 ballot for induction into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF announced on Monday. Peppers is looking to join six other Tar Heels in the College Hall of Fame including current head coach Mack Brown, who was inducted last December. The announcement of the 2020 Class will be made in January 2020 in the days leading up to the College Football Playoff National Championship in New Orleans.
“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot when you think that more than 5.33 million people have played college football and only 1,010 players have been inducted,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell.
“The Hall’s requirement of being a First-Team All-American creates a much smaller pool of about 1,500 individuals who are even eligible. Being in today’s elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to have ever played the game, and we look forward to announcing the 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class in January.”
Peppers played in Chapel Hill from 1999-2001 becoming one of the most disruptive defensive players the sport has ever seen. A unanimous first-team All-American in 2001, he won the Chuck Bednarik Award for the nation’s top defensive player and the Rotary Lombardi Award, which at the time was given to the nation’s top interior lineman. He finished 10th in the Heisman Trophy balloting, was a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy and was honored as Chevrolet’s Defensive Player of the Year.
“Julius Peppers is one of the greatest players to ever play the game of football at both the professional and collegiate level, so it’s no surprise to me that he would land on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot as soon as the rules allowed,” Brown said.
“We’re so proud of Julius for all that he’s accomplished and for the way he represents himself, his family and the University of North Carolina. When he’s eventually inducted, and I believe he will be, he’ll be an extremely deserving addition to this prestigious list of all-time great college football players.”
A first-team All-ACC selection in both 2000 and 2001, Peppers finished his career with 167 tackles, 30.5 sacks, 53 TFL, five INTs and five forced fumbles. He went on to be drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the first round of the NFL Draft. During his professional career, Peppers earned nine Pro Bowl selections, three first-team All-Pro honors, three second-team All-Pro recognitions and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 2000s.
Peppers has also been extremely generous philanthropically, having donated to the UNC General Alumni Association’s Light on the Hill Society Scholarship fund on two separate occasions. He was also the Panther’s 2018 NFL Man of the Year nominee.
The 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class will officially be inducted during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 8, 2020, at the New York Hilton Midtown. They will also be honored at their respective schools with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the 2020 season.
NFF Hall of Fame criteria
In order to receive for Hall of Fame consideration, players must have received First-Team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise their consensus All-America teams.
A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation’s Honors Courts 10 full seasons after his final year of intercollegiate football played.
While each nominee’s football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post-football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and his fellow man, with love of his country. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether the candidate earned a college degree.
Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years.
For example, to be eligible for the 2020 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1970 or thereafter. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.
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. He must have been a head football coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.
Nominations may only be submitted by the athletics director of a potential candidate’s collegiate institution; by the head coach or sports information director representing a dues-paying college /university; or by a dues-paying chapter of the National Football Foundation.