Former Oklahoma State defensive end Leslie O'Neal is one of 76 players included on the ballot for 2020 induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation announced today. It is the third consecutive year that O'Neal has been included on the ballot.
A two-time All-America honoree, O'Neal anchored the two best defenses in school history in 1984 and 1985. He was a dominant force on teams which allowed just a total of 34 touchdowns over two seasons, the lowest totals ever at OSU. He was named Big Eight defensive player of the year in 1984 and earned All-Big Eight honors in each of his last three seasons as a Cowboy.
O'Neal set a school record that stands to this day by registering 16.0 sacks for 118 yards lost in 1984. He also remains the OSU career leader with 34.0 sacks.
He was a first-round draft choice of the San Diego Chargers in 1986. O'Neal retired following the 1999 season. During his career, the defensive end was selected to the Pro Bowl six times, while recording 136.0 career sacks. His career sack totals still rank among the top 15 players in the history of the NFL.
During his career, the Cowboys played in the Bluebonnet Bowl and consecutive Gator Bowls. He was a unanimous All-American in 1985, earning a spot on each of the five recognized teams (American Football Coaches Association, Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News and Walter Camp).
Oklahoma State currently has five representatives in the College Football Hall of Fame – coach Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf (inducted in 1966), Bob Fenimore (inducted in 1972), Barry Sanders (inducted in 2003), Thurman Thomas (inducted in 2008) and coach Jimmy Johnson (inducted in 2012).
The ballot was emailed today 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 Courts, which will deliberate and select the class. The FBS Honors Court, chaired by NFF Board Member and College Football Hall of Famer Archie Griffin from Ohio State, and the Divisional Honors Court, chaired by former Marshall head coach, longtime athletics director and NFF Board Member Jack Lengyel, include an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletic administrators, Hall of Famers and members of the media.
The announcement of the 2020 Class will be made in January 2020 in the days leading up to the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship in New Orleans. The January announcement will be televised and/or streamed live, and specific viewing information will be available as the date draws near. Several of the electees will also participate in the pregame festivities and the coin toss before the championship game.
The 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class will officially be inducted during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 8, 2020, at the New York Hilton Midtown. They will also be honored at their respective schools with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the 2020 season.