Notre Dame speedster Raghib Ismail, who made headlines when he spurned the NFL for a rich contract with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts, has been selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame
Texas quarterback Vince Young was also selected, along with 11 other players and two coaches.
Ismail, better known as Rocket, was an electric receiver and kick returner for the Fighting Irish and the Heisman runner-up in 1990. Ismail was part of Notre Dame's 1988 national championship team and had six return touchdowns in his career, including five on kickoffs. He is best remembered for taking two kicks back for touchdowns against Michigan in 1989.
After college he signed with the Argos for an unprecedented sum of US$18.2 million over four years. His yearly salary exceeded the amount of CFL's salary cap per team, but teams were able to sign a "marquee player" that would not count against the cap. The Argos had just been purchased by Bruce McNall, Wayne Gretzky and John Candy, who made a splash by offering Ismail what was then the largest yearly salary in North American football history.
Ismail helped the Argos win the 1991 Grey Cup, and was named the most valuable player of the championship game after returning a kickoff 87-yards for a touchdown in a 36-21 win over Calgary. But after the Argos slumped to a 6-12 record in 1992, he moved south and joined the Los Angeles Raiders.
Young was the Heisman Trophy runner-up and led the Longhorns to the 2005 national championship with a memorable performance in the Rose Bowl against Southern California.
He was the first FBS player to pass for more than 3,000 yards and run for more than 1,000, leading Texas to an undefeated season in 2005. Against USC in the Rose Bowl, Young passed for 267 yards, ran for 200 and scrambled for a game-winning touchdown on fourth down with 19 seconds left in a 41-38 victory.
Young also had a CFL connection. He attempted a comeback with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2017 after not playing an NFL game since 2011, but he suffered a hamstring injury in training camp and was released.
The rest of the players to be enshrined at the National Football Foundation's award banquet in December include Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, Oklahoma defensive back Rickey Dixon, John Carroll linebacker London Fletcher, Texas A&M defensive lineman Jacob Green, North Carolina State receiver Torry Holt, Arizona State quarterback Jake Plummer, USC defensive back Troy Polamalu, Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas, Florida State defensive back Terrell Buckley, Michigan State running back Lorenzo White and Mississippi linebacker Patrick Willis.
Dennis Erickson, who coached Miami to two national championships, and Joe Taylor, who won 233 games at historically black colleges, were selected for induction as coaches.
McFadden was a two-time Heisman runner-up, coming in second behind Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith in 2006 and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow in 2007.
The Goodyear Blimp was also named an honorary member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
— With files from The Canadian Press
The Associated Press