The College Football Hall of Fame released its 2021 ballot on Tuesday. UGA football legend Champ Bailey is one of 78 players on the ballot.
Champ Bailey might not have to wait long between hall of fame inductions.
The legendary UGA football cornerback entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019, now he’s on the ballot to enter the College Football Hall of Fame in 2021.
Bailey is listed alongside 77 other players and seven coaches from the FBS level and 132 individuals from other levels of college football. Other names on the ballot include Carson Palmer, Ray Lewis, Willie Gault and Tony Gonzalez, among other legendary players.
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If inducted, Bailey would be the 16th individual to enter the hall of fame as a Georgia Bulldog (Pat Dye is in the hall but only listed as a coach). The most recent Bulldog to enter the hall is David Pollack, who will be inducted later this year. The National Football Foundation inducted three Bulldogs in the 2010s: Jake Scott in 2011, Scott Woerner in 2016, and Matt Stinchcomb in 2018.
Bailey’s inclusion on the ballot is well deserved. He was a true throwback player in Athens, especially in 1998 where he spent just as much time playing offense as he did playing defense. Bailey had six 100-play games that year, including career-high 119 play-game against Auburn. He caught five passes for 68 yards, rushed for 29 yards and intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter. Georgia won the game 28-17.
In fact, Bailey led Georgia in receiving that season, catching 47 passes for 744 yards and five touchdowns. On defense, he intercepted three passes and he added 261 yards as a kickoff returner. Though as a dominant, shutdown corner, Bailey was better at preventing yards on defense than he was at creating them. After the regular season ended, Bailey earned All-American honors and won the Bronco Nagurski Award, which is awarded to the best defensive player in the nation.
For excelling at two positions, Bailey without a doubt deserves induction into the College Football Hall of Fame sooner rather than later. He left UGA football with over 1,000 yards of total offense with five touchdowns, with eight interceptions and another touchdown on defense.
Bailey was a player opponents were sick of seeing. Opposing offensive coordinators couldn’t find ways to get receivers open against him, while defensive coordinators didn’t know how to shut him down when he played on offense.