Two of the most recognizable players in Kansas State football history are hoping to be inducted with the all-time greats.
Michael Bishop and Darren Sproles, members of the K-State Football Ring of Honor, were among 78 Football Bowl Subdivision players named to the 2021 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation (NFF) announced Tuesday.
This marks the first time Sproles has appeared on the ballot, while Bishop is a repeat candidate.
“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot considering more than 5.4 million people have played college football and only 1,027 players have been inducted,” NFF president and CEO Steve Hatchell said in a release. “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.”
Bishop played a starring role in helping the Wildcats attain their first-ever No. 1 national ranking during the second of his two seasons at K-State (1997-1998). He remains the Wildcats’ record holder for single-season passing efficiency record (159.6 rating in 1998) after completing 164 of his 295 passes for 2,844 yards and 23 touchdowns against just four interceptions. His 3,592 yards of total offense that season is the second-best effort in K-State’s annals.
Bishop won 88% (22-3) of his games as the starting quarterback, going 15-1 in Big 12 play. His winning percentage is the best in school history.
He was a two-time All-Big 12 honoree and the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year in 1997. He followed that up by winning the Davey O’Brien Award and finishing runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1998.
An electric running back, Sproles was a first-team All-American in 2003 and a three-time All-Big 12 performer. He left K-State holding 28 school records; 21 of those still are standing. Sproles ran for 4,979 yards in his career, more than 2,000 clear of second place. An Olathe native, he finished fifth in the 2003 Heisman Trophy voting and third in voting for the Associated Press Player of the Year that same season. He was a three-time All-America honoree.
The San Diego Chargers selected Sproles in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He went on to play 15 years in the pros, retiring prior to the end of last season. Sproles accumulated 19,696 career all-purpose yards in his career, the fifth most in NFL history. He ranks seventh in career punt return yards and eighth in kickoff return yards. He appeared in three Pro Bowls and was named to seven All-Pro teams, including six first-team honors.
The Hall of Fame ballot went out Tuesday to 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 is chaired by NFF Board Member and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Griffin from Ohio State, the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner in history. The Divisional Honors Court is chaired by former Marshall head coach, longtime athletics director and NFF Board Member Jack Lengyel.
The inductees of the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be announced early next year. Honorees will be officially inducted during the NFF’s annual awards dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown on Dec. 7, 2021. They also will be honored at their respective schools with an on-campus ceremony during the 2021 season.