THE FLATS – Legendary Georgia Tech linebacker Lucius Sanford is one of 78 major college football players on the 2021 ballot for induction to the College Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation (NFF) announced on Tuesday. If selected as a member of the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021, Sanford would become Georgia Tech’s 20th all-time inductee.
Sanford was selected from a pool of hundreds of nominees to be included on the 2021 ballot, which includes just 78 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) players, seven FBS coaches and 132 players and coaches from college football’s other divisional ranks. The ballot has been emailed to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers, whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF’s Honors Courts, which will deliberate and select the class. The FBS Honors Court, chaired by NFF Board Member and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Griffin from Ohio State, includes an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletics administrators, Hall of Famers and members of the media.
“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot when you think that more than 5.4 million people have played college football and only 1,027 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 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class presented by ETT early next year.”
Sanford played linebacker at Georgia Tech from 1974-77. He was a three-time all-South Independent selection and earned first-team all-America honors as a senior in 1977. A four-year starter and two-year team captain, he led Georgia Tech in tackles in each of his final three seasons and finished his career as the program’s all-time leading tackler with 433. His 433 career tackles stood as Tech’s record for 14 years and still ranks fourth in the school’s all-time annals.
He was selected by the Buffalo Bills with the 89th overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft and went on to enjoy a 10-year career with the Bills (1978-86) and Cleveland Browns (1987). He played before tackles became an official NFL statistic but recorded more than 100 tackles in each of his first four NFL seasons. He started the second game of his rookie season at outside linebacker and remained a starter for nine of his 10 NFL seasons.
Sanford, who graduated from Georgia Tech in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial management and pursued an MBA while playing in the NFL, spent nine years in the financial services industry after the conclusion of his football career, working for Merrill Lynch, Chase Manhattan and Equitable. He joined the Georgia Tech Athletic Association staff in 1998 and currently serves as the executive director of Tech’s Letterwinners Association.
The College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021 will be announced in early 2021 and will be inducted on Dec. 7, 2021 as part of the 64th NFF Honors Dinner in New York.
Sixteen former Georgia Tech student-athletes and three former coaches of the Yellow Jackets are already inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame, which is located less than one mile from Tech’s midtown Atlanta campus. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson became Tech’s most recent College Football Hall of Famer when he was inducted in 2018.
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