Orange County star Kevin Smith again on College Football Hall of Fame ballot

Published 12:08 am Thursday, June 8, 2023

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Former West Orange-Stark football standout Kevin Smith of the Mustangs, Texas A&M Aggies and Dallas Cowboys is once again on the ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Smith is one of 80 players and nine coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 96 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks being considered.
The ballot was emailed this week 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 Court, which will deliberate and select the class.

The 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 athletic administrators, Hall of Famers and members of the media.
The 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted during the 65th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 5 and permanently immortalized at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

They will also be honored at their respective schools with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the 2023 season.
Once nominated for consideration, all FBS player candidates are submitted to one of eight District Screening Committees, depending on their school’s geographic location, which conducts a vote to determine who will appear on the ballot and represent their respective districts.

Each year, approximately 15 candidates, who are not selected for the Hall of Fame but received significant votes in the final selection, will be named automatic holdovers and will bypass the district screening process and automatically appear on the ballot the following year.

Additionally, the Veterans Committee may make recommendations to the Honors Court for exceptions that allow for the induction of players who played more than 50 years ago. The Honors Court annually reviews the Hall of Fame criteria to ensure a fair and streamlined process.
Of the 5.54 million individuals who have played college football since Princeton first battled Rutgers on Nov. 6, 1869, only 1,056 players have earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, or less than two one-hundredths of a percent (.02%) of those who have played the game during the past 152 years..

The 2023 voting deadline is June 30.

Smith, a former Texas A&M All-American cornerback, was one of those nominated for his stellar career as one of the better defenders in Aggies history.

Smith broke onto the scene in Aggieland as a freshman in 1988, when he played for fellow Orange native and A&M coaching legend R.C. Slocum, intercepting two passes and breaking up five others.

The following season, Smith had one of the greatest individual seasons an Aggies player has ever had in the secondary. He totaled 36 tackles (27 of them solos) to go with one forced fumble, nine interceptions and ten passes broken up.

He clinched a season-opening win over LSU, the Aggies first over the Tigers since 1975, with a late game interception-return for a touchdown, 28-17.

Despite the fact that Smith’s reputation should have preceded him, he had another seven interceptions in 1990 as a junior (returning two of them for touchdowns) and broke up eight passes.

In his final campaign, he became a 1991 consensus First Team All-American and leader of an Aggies unit that led the nation in total defense (222.4 yards per game). In the process, the three-time First Team All-Southwest Conference performer helped the Aggies to the 1991 conference title. In addition, Smith was moved to punt returner midway through his senior campaign and returned two kicks for touchdowns.

He is A&M’s all-time career leader in interceptions (20), interception return yards (289) and interceptions returned for a touchdown (3). After his A&M career, he was selected in the first round of the 1992 National Football League draft by the Dallas Cowboys and won three Super Bowls with the franchise in the 1990s.