3 Vols on Hall of Fame ballot

Marvin Westwestwords

Three former Volunteers, wide receiver Willie Gault, safety Bobby Majors and linebacker Al Wilson, are on the 2021 ballot for College Football Hall of Fame consideration.

Seventy-five other players and seven coaches have been nominated. Some 12,000 voters will express their preferences. Votes will be tabulated and forwarded to the National Football Foundation Honors Court to select the honorees.

Archie Manning, a Hall of Fame standout and foundation chair, says 5.4 million men have played college football. Just over a thousand former players and 221 coaches are in the hall of fame.

“We employ a rigorous set of objective standards to identify only the most worthy candidates,” said Manning. “The criteria limits us to a pool of approximately 1,500 first-team all-Americans.”

Tennessee has 23 in the hall – tailbacks Gene McEver, Beattie Feathers, George Cafego, Hank Lauricella and John Majors; quarterbacks Bobby Dodd and Peyton Manning; center Bob Johnson; guards Herman Hickman, Bob Suffridge, Ed Molinski, Nathan Dougherty, John Michels, Steve DeLong and Chip Kell; end Bowden Wyatt.

Defensive ends Doug Atkins and Reggie White; linebackers Steve Kiner and Frank Emanuel; coaches Robert R. Neyland, Doug Dickey and Phillip Fulmer. Wyatt is a dual honoree as player and coach.

Bobby Majors was a unanimous all-American in 1971 who still holds the SEC record with 10 interceptions that season. He set school records for career punt returns (117) and punt return yardage (1,163). He played in the Sugar Bowl and Liberty Bowl.

Gault was an all-American in 1982 and a participant in three bowl games. He set six conference and 12 school punt and kickoff return records. Willie tied the NCAA record with three kick return touchdowns in 1980. He had an outstanding NFL career.

Many consider Wilson the heart and soul of the 1998 national championship team. He was a consensus first-team all-American who played on four bowl teams, all rated in the top 10. Wilson likes to recall that the Vols lost only three league games during his career.

Al was a star linebacker in the pros.

Marvin West welcomes reader comments or questions. His address is marvinwest75@gmail.com

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