Hawkeyes on doorstep of College Football Hall of Fame

Dallas Clark, Tim Dwight, and Andre Tippett are a step away from a Hall of Fame induction, and each makes a compelling case for enshrinement.

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Hawkeyes on doorstep of College Football Hall of Fame

Robert Read, Sports Reporter

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The National Football Foundation recently announced the 2020 College Football Hall of Fame nominees, and Hawkeye fans will be nostalgic at the sight of the Iowa candidates.

Dallas Clark, Tim Dwight, and Andre Tippett are three of the 76 players nominated for this year’s Hall of Fame class, making Iowa one of nine schools with three finalists.

To be nominated, players must have been named first-team All-American in one of the recognized publications. They must also be 10 full seasons removed from their final college season but also within 50 years of that season.

Off-field character is also taken into consideration for each candidate.

All three of Iowa’s nominees have the qualifications for enshrinement. <i>The Daily Iowan</i> took a look at why each former Hawkeye deserves to join the nine Iowa football greats in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Dallas Clark, tight end

2002 Hawkeye Nation has considered Clark a Hall of Famer ever since he turned an arrow route into a 95-yard catch-and-run down the home sideline against Purdue in 2002, the longest reception in school history. Now, that thought can become a reality.

The former walk-on and unanimous first-team All-American is the first in a long line of memorable tight ends in the Kirk Ferentz era, although none have soared to the heights of Clark.

Before becoming a mainstay in the Indianapolis Colt offense for nearly a decade, Clark was the 2002 Mackey Award winner and a two-time All-Big Ten selection.

Clark caught 81 passes for 1,281 yards and 8 touchdowns in his two seasons at Iowa, and in 2002, he was the No. 1 target on Iowa’s first-ever 11-win team, which also won a share of the Big Ten title.

Tim Dwight, wide receiver/return specialist

1997 Dwight was a notable athletic figure in Iowa City long before he made his mark in the Black and Gold. An electric player at City High, Dwight stayed close to home for his college career, and the rest of the Big Ten was introduced to what Iowa City was already well aware of: Dwight is a big play waiting to happen.

As a return specialist and wide receiver, Dwight was a two-time first-team All-American, earning consensus honors in 1997. That 1997 season also featured Dwight making first-team All-Big Ten and finishing seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting.

In his career, Dwight scored 21 receiving touchdowns, averaging 16.3 yards per reception. In his junior and senior seasons, Dwight began to make a significant impact for the Hawkeyes on special teams.

As a punt returner, Dwight scored 5 touchdowns during his final two years, averaging 19.0 and 19.3 yards per return and graduated as the conference’s all-time leader in punt return yardage (1,102).

That knack for coming up with the big play followed Dwight to the pros. In Super Bowl XXXIII, Dwight recorded five kick returns for the Atlanta Falcons, including a 94-yarder that he took to the house. He averaged 42.0 yards per return that night, still a Super Bowl record.

Andre Tippett, defensive end

1981 Already a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Tippett would like to go two-for-two with an induction into college football’s greatest honor.

RELATED: Former Iowa football start Tippett on 2013 College Football HOF Ballot

He was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten performer for the Hayden Fry-led Hawkeyes. In 1981, Tippett was a consensus first-team All-American and led Iowa to the Big Ten championship and 1982 Rose Bowl, the first time the Hawkeyes had seen the lights of a bowl game since 1959.

Tippett is still the program’s record holder in tackle-for-loss yardage, having racked up 20 tackles for a loss for 153 yards as a Hawkeye.

The class announcement is set for January 2020, with the induction being held in December 2020 at the National Football Foundations’ annual awards.