On Wednesday morning, the National Football Foundation released the 2022 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot, and for the sixth year in a row, Pitt greats Matt Cavanaugh and Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward made their way onto the ballot.
The ballot features 78 players and seven coaches from the FBS and 99 players and 33 coaches from the lower divisions. The class, that is voted on by NFF members and current Hall-of-Famers, will be announced in early 2022 on a date that has yet to be determined, and they will be inducted on Dec. 6, 2022.
Cavanaugh, 64, was Pitt’s starting quarterback in 1976, when they went undefeated and won the national championship. He was also the MVP of the 1977 Sugar Bowl. Cavanaugh was a 1977 All-American and finished with 3,378 career passing yards.
The Youngstown, Ohio native played in the NFL for 15 seasons, and has served as a coach for 27 years. He rejoined Pitt as a tight ends coach from 1992-93 and again as offensive coordinator from 2005-08. He most recently served as senior offensive assistant for the Washington Redskins in 2019.
Heyward racked up over 3,000 yards in three seasons with the Panthers from 1985-87. In his junior season, the bruising runner rushed for 1,791 yards and 12 touchdowns and was an All-American. He was drafted in the first round by the New Orleans Saints and had 4,301 yards and 30 touchdowns in his 11-year pro career. Sadly, Heyward passed away at age 39 in 2006 after a battle with cancer. Heyward’s son, Cameron, is a defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
There are currently 19 Pitt players in the College Football Hall of Fame. The last Panthers player to be inducted was offensive guard Ruben Brown in 2015.