Former West Virginia defensive back Aaron Beasley and former head coach Jim Carlen have been included by The National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame for their ballot. This is the third year in a row both have been on the ballot.
The full ballot includes 80 players and nine coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 96 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks.
“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot considering more than 5.54 million people have played college football and only 1,056 players have been inducted,” said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell in the organization’s press release. “The Hall’s requirement of being a First-Team All-American creates a much smaller pool of about 1,500 individuals who are even eligible. Being in today’s elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to have ever played the game, and we look forward to announcing the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class early next year.”
Beasley, a 2009 inductee into the West Virginia Hall of Fame, was a starter the last three years of his collegiate career. He led the nation in interceptions with 10 in 1994, which is also a single-season record for the school. He also set the school’s record of 18 pass deflections in a single-season, but that has since been passed by Brian King with 21 in 2003.
Beasley was a consensus All-American in 1995. That year, he was a first team All-American by American Football Coaches’ Association, College Sports, Football News, UPI and Walter Camp. He was also an unanimous All-Big East first-team selection, a Jim Thorpe semifinalist and one of 15 semifinalists for the Football News’ Defensive Player of the Year award.
After college, Beasley was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 63rd pick in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft. He spent six of his nine NFL season in Jacksonville, two with the New York Jets and his last season with the Atlanta Falcons in 2004. He amassed 24 interceptions in his career, along with 10 forced fumbles and 431 career tackles across 105 starts and 121 total games played.
His best NFL season came in 1999 when he had a career-high six interceptions and led the NFL in interception return yards (200) and pick-sixes (two). Despite that great season, he never received an All-Pro or even a Pro Bowl nod by the NFL.
Carlen coached West Virginia from 1966-69 compiling a 25-13-3 record there and a 6-0-1 record in conference play. He led the team to a Southern Conference title in 1967 and a Peach Bowl win in 1969.
After a successful, but short stint in West Virginia he left to coach Texas Tech from 1970-74 compiling a record of 37-20-2 (20-15). Although he never won a conference title with Texas Tech, he led them to four bowl appearances including a Gator Bowl win in 1973. In 2008 he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.
He spent his last seven years coaching at South Carolina prior to the move to the SEC. South Carolina was the only school he failed to post a 10-win season with, and he never won a bowl game while there.
He compiled a 45-36-1 record at South Carolina bringing his three-school combined career record to 107-69-6, going 26-15-1 in conference games and 2-5-1 in bowl games. He was also the school’s athletic director during that time frame.
Beasley and Carlen the lone West Virginia football program alumni to make the ballot this year. Regional rivals Penn State (Ki-Jane Carter, D.J. Dozier, Paul Poluszny), Pittsburgh (Matt Cavanuagh, Craig Heyward) and Virginia Tech (Corey Moore) are also represented.