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Three former Spartans on ballot for College Football Hall of Fame's 2023 class

A trio of former Spartans are in the running to join an elite club.

The ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame’s 2023 class was announced on Monday morning and includes former Michigan State offensive tackle Flozell Adams and former coach Darryl Rogers. Additionally, former Spartan Gideon Smith is on the ballot as a divisional coaching candidate.

Those three were all on the ballot last year. Former Michigan State kicker Morten Andersen, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame’s 2022 class but is not in the running this year.

A total of 80 players and nine coaches from FBS and 96 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks were included on the ballot. To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been named a first team All-American and be at least 10 years removed from the final season of their college career.

The ballot was sent Monday to more than 12,000 members of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame members to vote on. The 2023 College Football Hall of Fame class will be announced early next year and inducted during the National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 5, 2023 and enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

Adams was an All-American offensive tackle and the Big Ten’s Offensive Lineman of the year as a senior in 1997. He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection during 13 seasons in the NFL – the first 12 with the Cowboys and the last with the Steelers in 2010.

Rogers posted a record of 24-18-2 in four seasons (1976-79) coaching the Spartans. He guided Michigan State to a share of the Big Ten championship in 1978 and was named the conference’s coach of the year before leaving for Arizona State after the 1979 season. Rogers spent 20 years coaching in college with stops at Cal State Hayward (1965), Fresno State (1966-72), San Jose State (1973-75), Michigan State and Arizona State (1980-84). He coached the Detroit Lions for three-plus years before being fired during the 1988 season. Rogers died in 2018 at 84 years old.

Smith was the first African-American to play intercollegiate athletics at Michigan State and a three-year letter-winner from 1913-15. He coached at Hampton University from 1921-40, led the team to a 1922 Black college national championship and posted an overall record of 97-46-12. Smith died in 1968 at age 78.

Michigan State has 10 players in the College Football Hall of Fame and the last one inducted was running back Lorenzo White in the 2019 class. The others are halfback John Pingel (inducted in 1968), tackle Don Coleman (1975), linebacker George Webster (1987), defensive end Bubba Smith (1988), safety Brad Van Pelt (2001), receiver Gene Washington (2011), linebacker Percy Snow (2013), running back Clinton Jones (2015) and receiver Kirk Gibson (2017). Former Michigan State coaches Clarence “Biggie” Munn (1959), Charlie Bachman (1978), Duffy Daugherty (1984) and Frank “Muddy” Waters (2000) are also in the College Football Hall of Fame.

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