June 23, 2024

Nick Saban, Urban Meyer appear on 2025 College Football Hall of Fame ballot in first year of eligibility

Nick Saban and Urban Meyer appear poised to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility amid Monday morning’s release by the National Football Foundation in which the legendary coaches are among those listed on the ballot for the 2025 class. 

The two have combined for 10 national championships and 479 wins since 1990. Their election would elevate two of the best coaches of this generation. Saban is arguably the best coach of all time, having won 292 games total and seven national championships at two schools — LSU (1) and Alabama (6). Meyer won three national championships across stops at Florida (2) and Ohio State (1). 

Nine of those 10 combined championships came since 2006, the year in which the SEC began its current run of dominance. The league has won 13 of the last 18 national championships since. Saban and Meyer have combined for eight of those 13 national championships since 2006. 

Saban is on the ballot five months after retiring as Alabama coach. Criteria allow retired coaches to become eligible immediately provided they are at least 70 years old. Saban, 72, retired on Jan. 10. Meyer, meanwhile, is eligible because it has been “three full seasons after retirement.” He last coached in 2021 in an abbreviated stop with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL. Meyer last coached in college with Ohio State in 2018. The Buckeyes won the first College Football Playoff in the 2014 season under Meyer. 

Coaches also must have at least a .600 winning percentage and coached in at least 100 games for eligibility. Saban finished 292-71-1 (.804) over 28 seasons. Meyer, whose name still pops up as a coaching candidate each offseason, is 187-32 (.854) over 17 seasons. 

Meyer is third all-time in FBS winning percentage behind Notre Dame’s Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy. Saban is sixth all-time in wins. 

At the beginning of his final season at Ohio State, Meyer was suspended over his handling of an alleged domestic abuse case involving assistant coach Zach Smith. He retired following the Buckeyes’ Rose Bowl over Washington in 2015 after winning his third Big Ten title. 

Saban and Meyer are among nine coaches named to the ballot. Other notable FBS coaches eligible for induction include Tommy Tuberville (Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas Tech, Cincinnati), Ralph Friedgen (Maryland) and Larry Coker (Miami, UTSA). 

The 2025 College Football Hall of Fame class will be announced in January. 

Among the 77 players named to the ballot are first-time candidate Aaron Donald of Pittsburgh.

The star defensive tackle is considered one of the best at his position in both college and the NFL. He was a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year with the Rams. In college, Donald was a national defensive player of the year with the Panthers as well as a unanimous All-American as a senior. 

Donald retired in March after a 10-year NFL career in which he posted 111 sacks. He earned All-Pro status each of those 10 seasons. 

At Pittsburgh, Donald had 29.5 career sacks and 66 tackles for loss. As a senior in 2013, Donald posted one of the best defensive seasons in history. In addition to 11 sacks, he had 28.5 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles.