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Former Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Willis named to College Hall of Fame ballot

Patrick Willis is up for college football’s highest honor.

Willis, the former Ole Miss All-American linebacker, is one of 75 former Football Bowl Subdivision players named to the 2018 National College Football Hall of Fame ballot Thursday by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. Six FBS coaches were also named to the ballot.

Arguably the best linebacker Ole Miss has ever produced, Willis played for the Rebels from 2003-06 and won the Butkus Award and Lambert Trophy his senior season as the nation’s most outstanding linebacker. Willis was a two-time first-team All-American and two-time Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, leading the SEC in tackles twice while racking up 355 career stops, 33 tackles for loss and 11 sacks.

More than 12,000 votes from NFF members and current Hall of Famers will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF’s Honors Court, which will select the class. The 2018 class will be announced Jan. 8 before officially being inducted Dec. 4, 2018.

Ole Miss has 11 representatives in the College Football Hall of Fame, including Johnny Vaught, Charlie Conerly, Jake Gibbs, Archie Manning and, most recently, Wesley Walls (2014).

Willis went on to be drafted 11th overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2007 NFL Draft and played in seven Pro Bowls during his eight-year professional career. He was the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Year his debut season and was also voted All-Pro six times.

He finished his NFL career with 950 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, eight interceptions and two defensive touchdowns before announcing his retirement following the 2014 season at the age of 30.