Sterling Sharpe wants to be in the College Football Hall of Fame, but he doesn’t want to want it too badly.
“It’s one of those things that it’s a great honor if it happens, but you can’t think about that stuff because it’ll drive you nuts because then you’ll want it so bad,” the former South Carolina wide receiver said. “If it happens, great, but you can’t think about that stuff.”
Sharpe is one of 77 former players on the 2013 ballot. This year’s class will be announced Tuesday in Times Square in New York. The late USC coach Jim Carlen is one of five former coaches on the ballot.
“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 4.92 million people have played college football,” National Football Foundation president Steven J. Hatchell said. It “means an individual is truly among the greatest to ever have played the game.”
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Sharpe’s fellow nominees include some of the biggest names of the past three decades of college football such as Trev Alberts, Tony Boseli, Brian Bosworth, Tedy Bruschi, Eric Crouch, Eric Dickerson, Tommy Frazier, Raghib Ismael, Orlando Pace, LaDanian Tomlinson and Danny Wuerffel.
Inclusion on the ballot requires a player have been named a first-team All-American at least once in his career, which Sharpe was in 1987 after catching 62 passes for 915 yards and five touchdowns. His best collegiate season came in 1986, when he caught 74 passes for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns in the Gamecocks’ run-and-shoot offense.
“I owe a lot to Sterling Sharpe, but it’s not just the catches and touchdowns,” former Gamecock quarterback Todd Ellis said. “Sterling is one of those guys that raised the work ethic around South Carolina. He built himself into being a great wide receiver. He turned a lot of 5-yard outs into 70-yard gains, so that was good for me.”
Sharpe was USC’s all-time leading receiver when he left the school. He caught 169 passes for 2,497 yards and 17 touchdowns and is one of four South Carolina players to have his jersey retired.
“I enjoyed playing, and I played as best I could for as long as I could,” he said. “All the other stuff after that, you have to stay out of it.”
Sharpe would become the second former South Carolina player in the hall of fame, joining George Rogers, who was inducted in 1997.
The nomination “just means that you actually did something really, really well and the people who vote on that stuff voted for you,” he said. “You can’t really think about it or talk about stuff like that.”
Sharpe, who wore No. 2 in college, played golf last week with South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge. Sharpe and Spurrier are regular partners in the event, which they won in 2008 and 2009. Sharpe’s white golf bag features a large embroidered Gamecock along with his professional number, No. 84.
Sharpe played seven seasons for the Green Bay Packers, amassing 8,134 yards and being named All-Pro five times. He hosts the NFL Network show “Playbook.”
“Every week on my show, I try to put a Gamecock in because those are my guys,” Sharpe said. “I am very proud of what Steve has been able to do.”