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Eric Dickerson, Warren Sapp among CFB HOF candidates

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Eric Dickerson, Keyshawn Johnson, Ray Lewis and NFL Network's Warren Sapp are among the 193 candidates on the 2015 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

There are 75 players and six coaches from the FBS ranks and 87 players and 25 coaches from the small-school ranks on the ballot.

Joining Sapp, Dickerson, Lewis and Johnson as FBS candidates are Brian Bosworth, Randall Cunningham, Kirk Gibson (a star at Michigan State before choosing baseball), Cade McNown, Zach Thomas, Ricky Williams and Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who was a star linebacker at California. Among the candidates in the small-school group are former NFL players Marlin Briscoe, Mark Cotney and Don Griffin, as well as Gary Wichard, a former high-profile agent. The entire list of the 193 candidates is here.

The announcement of the 2015 class will be made Jan. 9, in advance of the Jan. 12 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

From the National Football Foundation website: "To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been named a first-team All-American by a major/national selector as recognized and utilized by the NCAA for their consensus All-America teams; played their last year of intercollegiate football at least 10 years prior; played within the last 50 years and cannot be currently playing professional football. Coaches must have coached a minimum of 10 years and 100 games as a head coach; won at least 60 percent of their games; and be retired from coaching for at least three years. If a coach is retired and over the age of 70, there is no waiting period. If he is over the age of 75, he is eligible as an active coach. In both cases, the candidate's post-football record as a citizen may also be weighed."

Our top six candidates (keeping in mind this is the College Football Hall of Fame):

Take a look at the great players, coaches and teams that have shaped the history of college football.
LB Brian Bosworth, Oklahoma
Career: 1984-86
Why him: He was a two-time consensus All-American selection and won the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker in 1985 and '86. His "The Boz" persona antagonized a lot of people, but he remains one of the best college linebackers of the past four decades. He was a first-round pick in the 1987 NFL Supplemental Draft.

» Dirty Dozen: Bosworth among 12 most disliked CFB players

LB Tom Cousineau, Ohio State
Career: 1975-78
Why him: He was a three-time All-Big Ten selection and a two-time consensus All-American. Cousineau holds six school records and his 572 career tackles ranks second on the Buckeyes' career list. He was the first overall pick in the 1979 NFL Draft, by the Buffalo Bills.

RB Troy Davis, Iowa State
Career: 1994-96
Why him: He is the only two-time 2,000-yard rusher in NCAA history (2,010 yards in 1995 and 2,185 in '96), which should be enough to get him into the Hall. Given that he was the Cyclones' entire offense, his production is even more incredible. He was the 1996 Big 12 player of the year and a two-time All-American and Heisman finalist.

RB Eric Dickerson, SMU
Career: 1979-82
Why him: The two-time first-team All-American was part of the famed "Pony Express" backfield at SMU with Craig James. He was third in the Heisman balloting in 1982 -- when he ran for 1,617 yards and 17 TDs -- and twice was named Southwest Conference player of the year. He is the leading rusher in SMU history (4,450 yards) and was a first-round pick in the 1983 NFL Draft.

LB Simeon Rice, Illinois
Career: 1992-95
Why him: He was a two-time All-American and a three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection. Rice holds the Big Ten record for career sacks (44.5), including 16 as a junior in 1994. Rice was a first-round pick in the 1996 NFL Draft.

RB Ricky Williams, Texas
Career: 1995-98
Why him: He won the Heisman in 1998, when he rushed for 2,124 yards and 27 TDs. He rushed for 6,279 yards in his career, which was the highest career total in the NCAA at that time and now ranks second on the list, to Wisconsin's Ron Dayne. Williams led the nation in rushing in 1997 (1,893 yards) and '98. Williams was a first-round pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. Williams is one of three Heisman winners on this year's ballot; the others are Nebraska's Eric Crouch and Colorado's Rashaan Salaam.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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