FRESNO – Former Fresno State Bulldogs Henry Ellard and Lorenzo Neal, who was born in Hanford and played at Lemoore High School, were announced on Thursday as nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020. The duo was among a group of 122 modern-era players celebrated by the organization.
Ellard (1979-82) nearly broke every Fresno State pass receiving record in addition to setting a then-NCAA record with 1,510 receiving yards that season. Ellard was a second round draft pick and spent 16 seasons in the NFL. He played for the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins, and one season with the New England Patriots.
Lorenzo Neal (1990-92) remains as the eighth-leading rusher in school history to this day with 2,405 yards in his Bulldog career. He went on to play for 17 seasons in the NFL with seven different teams, but was most arguably known for his stint with the San Diego Chargers sharing a backfield with LaDainian Tomlinson.
Ellard was born in Fresno while Neal was born in Hanford.
The modern-era players list will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November and to 15 finalists in early January 2020. The finalists will then be presented to the full 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee during its annual meeting on "Selection Saturday," the day before Super Bowl LIV.
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The Hall of Fame Board recently passed a resolution that suspended the Hall of Fame's Selection Committee By-Laws for the Class of 2020 election cycle only. The measure is intended to honor the NFL's Centennial Celebration through a special Centennial Class that will be comprised of 20 members in 2020. The group will include five Modern-Era players to come from the list announced today in addition to 10 Seniors (a player who has been retired for more than 25 seasons), three Contributors (an individual other than a player or coach) and two Coaches.
The selection committee will meet on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 in Miami to elect the Class of 2020 that will include five modern-era players. The modern-era finalists will be trimmed during the meeting from 15 to 10 and then from 10 to the five who will be elected as part of the Class of 2020.
The Centennial Class of 2020 will be formally enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during the annual Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls from Aug. 6-9, 2020 and the Centennial Celebration in Canton on Sept. 16-19, 2020.
For more information, and the complete list of the 122 modern-era nominees, visit www.profootballhof.com.