Josh Heupel, Eric Berry, and More VFLs Land on College Football Hall of Fame Ballot

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    Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel, along with three other legendary Volunteer players, are officially on the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame ballot.

    The three former players that will be representing the Big Orange on the ballot are Eric Berry, Larry Seivers, and Willie Gault.

    According to the press release from Tennessee Athletics on Monday, “the announcement of the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be made in early 2023 with specific details to be announced in the future.”

    Eric Berry returns to the ballot for a second consecutive year as the former Volunteer looks to etch his name into the history books. A native of Fairburn, Georgia, Berry first came to Tennessee as a five-star recruit in the class of 2007. During his three-year career at Tennessee, Berry dazzled Vol fans and college football spectators with his jaw-dropping interceptions, smashmouth hits, and expansive knowledge of the game. Berry ended his Tennessee career as a two-time First-Team All-SEC selection in 2008 and 2009, a two-time unanimous All-American selection in 2008 and 2009, and was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year after his outstanding 2008 season.

    Berry provided Tennessee fans with unforgettable moments including his 96-yard pick-six on Tim Tebow in The Swamp, his hit on Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno, and his memorable appearance on VFL Renaldo Woolridge a.k.a. Swiperboy’s “Eric Berry for Heisman” song.

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    Former Tennessee wide receivers Larry Seivers and Willie Gault are also on the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame ballot.

    Seivers, a native of Clinton, Tennessee, was on the Tennessee football team from 1972 to 1976. After only appearing in one game during his first season and redshirting his second season, Seivers found his breakout year in Knoxville in 1974 when the redshirt-sophomore receiver came up with 25 receptions in 11 games for the Volunteers. That was only the beginning, though, as the next two years at Tennessee made him into the legend that he is remembered as.

    Seivers was named a First-Team All-SEC and First-Team All-American selection in 1975 and 1976 and was the 1977 SEC Athlete of the Year. Seivers ended his Tennessee career with 117 receptions and 1,924 yards in 34 total games played.

    Willie Gault, a native of Griffin, Georgia, was a prolific dual-sport athlete at Tennessee as the wide receiver was also terrific in track. In fact, Gault was a six-time SEC individual champion in track & field, a two-time NCAA individual champion in track & field, and was an 11-time track & field All-American selection.

    On the football field, Gault used that speed to his advantage and eventually became one of the more memorable Tennessee receivers to wear the orange jersey. Gault had a total of 15 touchdowns during his Tennessee career: 10 receiving touchdowns, four kickoff return touchdowns, and one punt return score. By the end of his senior and final season at Tennessee in 1982, Gault was named an All-SEC and All-American selection.

    Lastly, Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel returns to the College Football Hall of Fame ballot for a third straight year for his time as the quarterback of the Oklahoma Sooners.

    Josh Heupel went to Oklahoma to team up with Bob Stoops before the 1999 season after short stints with Weber State and Snow College. As the quarterback of the Sooners, Heupel led Oklahoma to a BCS National Championship victory in 2000. Following that same season, Heupel was also named a consensus All-American, the AP Player of the Year, and the Quarterback of the Year.

    Heupel was also the 2000 Heisman Trophy runner-up after passing for more than 3,600 yards and 20 touchdowns in his final season with the Sooners.

    The 2023 College Football Hall of Fame ceremony and induction will take place on Dec. 5, 2023.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.