The College Football Hall of Fame may just get a bit more Blue and Gold in 2021 as two former Bruins have been named to the opening ballot. Former UCLA Bruins Ken Norton Jr. and John Lee were each named to the list of finalists from the FBS by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
Norton Jr. was a member of the Bruins from 1984-1987 and won multiple bowl games during his time. He certainly increased his positional awareness after shifting to linebacker at UCLA and eventually became one of the most feared linebackers in college football. By the time his career was up, he was selected as the team’s defensive MFP and was an All-American as well as a finalist for the Butkus Award in 1987.
Norton was selected in the second round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys and later rose to fame with the San Francisco 49ers during his stint there from 1994-2000. He won three Super Bowls and was a First-Team All-Pro in 1995 as well as a three-time Pro-Bowl selection. He was inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame in 1998 and has seen his impact on the game transcend his playing days.
After six years in the college coaching ranks, Norton made the NFL transition once again and became the linebackers coach of the Seattle Seahawks in 2010. After four years in that post, he was promoted to defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders from 2015-2017 and is currently the DC in Seattle under Pete Carroll.
Lee handled the kicking duties during the 1982-85 seasons for UCLA. He finished his career as an All-American in 1984 and a consensus All-American following the 1985 season. Upon his departure from UCLA, Lee was the all-time NCAA, Pac-10 and school leader in PATs and field goals. He knocked home 85 career field goals and was 135-of-136 on extra points. Those career figures, though toppled now, still have stood the test of time. He’s still tied for most field goals with Kai Forbath and is second all-time with 390 career points.
The College Football Hall of Fame ballots will eventually be trimmed down after the voting concludes and the final decisions will be made early next year.
Regardless, it’s an honor to be nominated at this stage and congratulations are in order for Norton Jr. and Lee. Congratulations!