Linebacker Bob Crable (1978-81), receiver/tailback/return man Raghib “Rocket” Ismail (1988-90) and offensive lineman Aaron Taylor (1990-93) were three of the 77 nominees on the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame ballot, but the former Notre Dame All-Americans weren’t among the 12 selected in this year’s class that was announced on Tuesday.
The electrifying Raghib “Rocket” Ismail was a triple threat as a receiver, return man and running back.
The dozen were, alphabetically, North Carolina State running back Ted Brown (1975-78), Arizona defensive end Tedy Bruschi (1992-95), Wisconsin tailback Ron Dayne (1996-99), Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier (1992-95), Texas defensive back Jerry Gray (1981-84), Kentucky end Steve Meilinger (1951-53), Ohio State offensive tackle Orlando Pace (1994-96), Oklahoma linebacker Rod Shoate (1972-74), Michigan State linebacker Percy Snow, Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde (1982-86), Baylor quarterback Don Trull (1961-63) and Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel (1993-96).
To be eligible, a player must have been named first-team All-America by an NCAA recognized source (thereby making Joe Montana, an Associated Press honorable mention choice in 1978, ineligible), not played a college game in at least 10 years and can no longer be playing in the pros.
Here is our top five (or six) eligible Notre Dame players not in the Hall:
1. Raghib “Rocket” Ismail (1988-90)
Ismail became the first Notre Dame player to eclipse 1,000 career yards in three different categories: rushing, receiving and returns. The 1990 Walter Camp Award winner averaged 7.7 yards per carry, holds the Irish career record for yards per catch (22.0) and had six returns for scores.
2. Luther Bradley (1973, 1975-77)
A freshman safety for the 1973 national champs and an All-America cornerback on the 1977 national champs, Bradley started all 46 games. He also received some first-team All-America recognition as a junior and as a sophomore. His 17 career interceptions are the school record.
3. Bob Crable (1978-81)
Of the 16 two-time consensus All-Americans ever at Notre Dame, Crable is one of four not yet in the Hall with his school-record 521 stops. The others are cornerback Todd Lyght (1989-90), linebacker Michael Stonebreaker (1988 and 1990) and offensive lineman Aaron Taylor (1992-93).
4. Bob Golic (1975-78)
Second to Crable in tackles (479), he was an AP and UPI second-team All-American for the 1977 national champs at middle linebacker and nose guard, and a consensus All-America pick in 1978 at middle linebacker. He was powerful enough to line up at nose, yet fluid enough to play linebacker.
5. George Kunz (1966-68) & Aaron Taylor (1990-93)
Consensus All-American offensive tackle Kunz, also a tight end in his career, was the No. 2 overall pick in the 1969 NFL Draft (behind O.J. Simpson). A two-time consensus All-American, Taylor lined up at both guard and tackle for the Irish and was the 1993 Lombardi Award recipient.
National title quarterbacks Terry Hanratty, Tom Clements and Tony Rice also are not in the Hall. Other luminaries not on the ballot were 1971 Lombardi Award winner Walt Patulski, two-time All-American lineman Steve Niehaus (1974-75), and wide receivers Jim Seymour (1966-68) and Tom Gatewood (1969-71).