College Football Hall of Fame: 2 Dayton natives, 2 Buckeyes, multiple former Bengals among nominees

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Two Dayton Patterson grads and two Ohio State Buckeye greats are among the nominees for the 2024 College Football Hall of Fame class.

Chris Ward is both.

A two-time All-American offensive lineman for the Buckeyes in 1976 and ‘77, Ward blocked for Archie Griffin in Griffin’s second Heisman Trophy campaign and was a four-time Big Ten champion.

He was the No. 4 pick in the 1978 NFL Draft and played 100 pro games for the Jets and Saints.

Joining him on the ballot this year is Marco Coleman, a 1988 Patterson grad who went on to be a first-team All-American and Butkus Award finalist as a linebacker at Georgia Tech. He was a two-time first-team All-ACC pick and ranks fourth all-time in Yellow Jackets history with 50.0 tackles for loss and 27.5 sacks in his career.

Coleman went on to play 14 seasons in the NFL, and he is in his second stint as defensive line coach at Georgia Tech.

The other Ohio State nominee this year is James Laurinaitis.

A linebacker who grew up in Minnesota, Laurinaitis was a three-time All-American and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in his four years at Ohio State (2005-08). He won the Butkus Award in ‘07 and the Nagurski Award in 2006.

He spent eight years in the NFL, all but one with the Rams, and is in his first season as a member of the coaching staff at Ohio State.

Ohio State has had 27 men inducted into the CFB HOF as players, including running backs Keith Byars of Roth High School and Bob Ferguson of Troy, while Clifton native Woody Hayes is among the Buckeyes’ coaching representatives.

Former Bengals Ki-Jana Carter (Penn State), Eric Bieniemy (Colorado), Peter Warrick (Florida State), Justin Smith (Missouri), Takeo Spikes (Auburn) and Garrison Hearst (Georgia) are also among players from FBS schools to be on the 2023 nominee list along with Ashley Ambrose of (Mississippi Valley State) from the FCS.

Players must have been first-team All-Americans to be eligible for the College Football Hall of Fame, 10 years removed from their last college game and no longer active in the pros.

All members of the National Football Foundation vote on the ballot, but ultimately the class is selected by the NFF Honors Court, which Griffin chairs.

Former Ohio State assistant coaches Mark Dantonio and Larry Coker are also on the ballot this year for their work as head coaches elsewhere.

The 2024 inductees will be announced early next year.

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