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Former Eastern Kentucky University All-America running back Markus Thomas is a candidate for the College Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation announced recently.

Thomas played four seasons at EKU from 1989 to 1992. He earned All-America honors his senior season after running for 1,494 yards and scoring 17 rushing touchdowns. The two-time Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year (1991 & 1992), finished his career ranked third all-time in FCS history in rushing yards (5,149). He led Eastern Kentucky to two conference titles (1990 & 1991) while scoring 52 career rushing touchdowns.

Thomas is still the all-time leading career rusher in EKU and OVC history and also holds the conference record with a career rushing average of 6.57 yards per carry. The Cincinnati, Ohio native was inducted into the Eastern Kentucky University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.

The 2021 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame includes 78 players and seven coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision, and 99 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks.

“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 5.4 million people have played college football and only 1,027 players have been inducted,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “The Hall’s requirement of being a first-team All-American creates a much smaller pool of only 1,500 individuals who are even eligible. Being in today’s elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to ever have played the game, and we look forward to announcing the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class Presented by ETT early next year.”

The ballot was emailed to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF’s Honors Courts, which deliberates and selects the class. The Divisional Honors Court, which is chaired by former Marshall head coach, former Eastern Kentucky University athletics director and NFF Board Member Jack Lengyel, include an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletic administrators, Hall of Famers and members of the media.

The 2021 class will be inducted at the 64th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 7, 2021, at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City.

The criteria for Hall of Fame consideration includes:

First and foremost, a player must have received first-team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise their consensus All-America teams.

A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation’s Honors Courts 10 full seasons after his final year of intercollegiate football played.

While each nominee’s football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post-football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and his fellow man, with love of his country. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether or not the candidate earned a college degree.

Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years. For example, to be eligible for the 2021 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1971 or thereafter. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.

Once nominated for consideration, all player candidates are submitted to one of eight District Screening Committees, depending on their school’s geographic location, which conducts a vote to determine who will appear on the ballot and represent their respective districts.

Of the 5.4 million individuals who have played college football since Princeton first battled Rutgers on Nov. 6, 1869, only 1,027 players, including the 2020 class, have earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.