The Pro Football Hall of Fame selection process is done by a committee of 48 people; members of both the media and the institution itself. Since its opening in 1963, they have voted for 318 players, coaches and contributors to be enshrined. College football's Hall of Fame is a bit differently: Not only have more people been bestowed the honor so far – 997 –, the voting process itself is a lot bigger as more than 12,000 people are participating.
On Monday, they were mailed this year's ballot – a list consisting of 76 players and six coaches from the Bowl Subdivision as well as 100 players and 32 coaches from the divisional ranks. Among them are 13 former members of the New England Patriots. Let's take a look at them broken down into the ballot's categories.
Seven of the NCAA Bowl Subdivision players up for selection have appeared in at least one regular season or playoff game for the Patriots:
QB Michael Bishop (Kansas State): 1999-2000
CB Terrell Buckley (Florida State): 2001-2002
FB Keith Byars (Ohio State): 1996-1997
QB Matt Cavanaugh (Pittsburgh): 1978-1982
RB Kevin Faulk (Louisiana State): 1999-2011
DT Kenneth Sims (Texas): 1982-1989
WR Elmo Wright (Houston): 1975
The biggest name on the list is running back Kevin Faulk: During his 13 seasons in New England, he set numerous team records including all-purpose yards (12,349) and return yardage (5,041) while helping his team to 11 winning seasons and three Super Bowl titles titles. A true dual-threat running back, the former LSU Tiger was inducted into the Patriots’ Hall of Fame in 2016.
The list also includes long-time Patriots Kenneth Sims, the first overall pick of the 1982 draft, and Matt Cavanaugh, who served as Steve Grogan's backup for five years. Furthermore, Terrell Buckley was a depth cornerback on New England's first Super Bowl winning team.
Three more players from the Bowl Subdivision have been with the Patriots but never actually played a down for the team:
OG Robert Gallery (Iowa): 2012
WR Torry Holt (North Carolina State): 2010
DE Phil Olsen (Utah State): 1970
Both Robert Gallery and Torry Holt were offseason signings who retired in New England. Phil Olsen, on the other hand, is a more complex case: After the Patriots selected him fourth overall in the 1970 draft, Olsen suffered a season-ending injury while practicing for the college football All-Star Game. One year later, his contract was invalidated by the NFL after the team had failed to inform him that his option had been picked up. The ensuing chaos ended with Olsen getting traded to the Los Angeles Rams for a first-round draft pick.
Finally, three players from the divisional ranks on the ballot once appeared in a game for the Patriots:
LB Vincent Brown (Mississippi Valley State): 1988-1995
CB Tyrone Poole (Fort Valley State): 2003-2005
WR Steve Schubert (Massachusetts): 1974
While Steve Schubert played only eight games for the Patriots, Vincent Brown and Tyrone Poole saw more action: Brown was a starting linebacker in New England for eight years and appeared in 124 games for the team, while Poole appeared in 25 games over three seasons and started in Super Bowl 38.