Ray Lewis, Ed Reed should be locks for 2018 College Football Hall of Fame; Warren Sapp may wait

Ray Lewis (left) and Ed Reed laugh during the Baltimore Ravens' visit to the White House in June 2013. (Getty Images)

Ray Lewis (left) and Ed Reed laugh during the Baltimore Ravens’ visit to the White House in June 2013. (Getty Images)

If Ray Lewis and Ed Reed aren’t inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this year, one question will be asked everywhere.

Why?

The two former Hurricanes stars, both on the latest ballot for the first time, seem like shoo-ins for the college game’s greatest individual honor. They were dominant players for a high-profile program, stars among stars during wearing orange and green. It only helps their cases that they went onto become first-round picks and Pro Football Hall of Fame-level players afterward.

Lewis (1993-95) led the Big East in tackles twice and fell one vote short from becoming a Butkus Award co-winner as a junior. His production was remarkable; his 160 tackles in 1995 and 152 in 1994 rank second and fourth in UM history, and his solo tackle marks (95 in ’95, 91 in ’94) have not been matched by a Miami middle linebacker. He made 388 tackles, second-best by a three-year UM player and sixth-best all-time. He was a first-team All-American (1995), which is one of the criteria for Hall enshrinement.

Reed (1998-2001) set the Miami career records for interceptions (21) — two more than Hall of Famer Bennie Blades  as well as interception return yards (389, including a ridiculous 206 in 2001) and interceptions returned for a touchdown (four). He was a key player on a 2001 championship defense that recorded a school-record 45 takeaways, and had the greatest turnover margin of any FBS team since 1980. He was a two-time first-team All-American.

Lewis is also eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018. Reed is up in 2019.

Miami’s number of College Football Hall of Famers could grow to 13 if Lewis, Reed and 2013 Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp hear their names called this year. A guess here that Sapp (1992-94), the Hurricanes’ first winner of the Lombardi (top lineman) and Nagurski (top defensive player) trophies, may be the odd Cane out.

No shame in waiting for such a distinct honor. The Hall states 5.19 million people have played college football since the first game (Princeton vs. Rutgers) in 1869; 987 have been deemed worthy.

The 2018 class will be announced Dec. 4 at the National Football Foundation awards dinner in New York, enshrined at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta later that month and honored Jan. 8, 2018, before the national championship game in Atlanta.

If you can find someone to bet Lewis and Reed won’t be among that group, take their money.

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