Tony Gonzalez, who played football and basketball at California before embarking on a long career as a premier NFL tight end, is on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot for the first time.
Gonzalez spent 12 seasons with the Chiefs (1997-2008) and his 910 career receptions are a franchise best. He finished his career with the Atlanta Falcons before retiring in 2013 with NFL records for career receptions (1,325) and yards (15,127) for a tight end.
At Cal, Gonzalez was named All-America, a requirement for Hall of Fame ballot eligibility. After his final football season in 1996, a season in which he caught 44 passes and five touchdowns,s Gonzalez appeared in 28 basketball games, averaging 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds.
Also among the 75 players on the ballot is former Kansas State quarterback Michael Bishop, who finished second in the Heisman Trophy race and won the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback in 1998.
The ballot also includes current Chiefs running backs coach Eric Bienemy, the former Colorado running back who finished third in the 1990 Heisman Trophy balloting and helped lead the Buffaloes to a national championship that season.
The Hall of Fame class will be announced on Jan. 6, 2017 in Tampa, Fla., site of the College Football Playoff national championship game on Jan. 10.
There are 95 players and 29 coaches on a divisional ballot for those who didn’t compete in Divison I. That list includes former Northwest Missouri State receiver Tony Miles, who helped the Bearcats to national titles in 1998-99 is on that list. Quarterback Chris Hegg of Truman State (formerly Northeast Missouri State) and offensive tackle Terron Jackson of Missouri Southern State also are on the ballot.
Former Lincoln (Mo.) coach Dwight Reed (1949-71) is a divisional coach candidate.