About a beloved and a despised former Red Raider on college football's HOF ballot

One of the most popular players and one of the most despised head coaches in Texas Tech football history are on the ballot for the 2024 College Football Hall of Fame. Graham Harrell, the rushing passer who holds numerous school records, and Tommy Tuberville, the former head coach who snuck away to Cincinnati to avoid being held accountable for his mediocrity, are part of a group hoping to be inducted this year.

Harrel was a First Team All-American in 2008 and was named the AT&T All-America Player of the Year. He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting. He was also a 2008 NFF National Scholar-Athlete.

The Ennis, Texas, native holds seven NCAA records, including 20 400-yard games. He was also a three-time All-Big 12 selection and ranks second in league history with 15,793 career passing yards.

Of course, Harrell is widely considered the most successful quarterback in the program's history, leading Tech to an overall record of 28-11 during his three years as a starter.

He is best known for his legendary 2008 season, in which he and wide receiver Michael Crabtree led the team to a No. 2 national ranking after a last-second win over No. 1 Texas. Statistically, however, that was not his best season.

In 2007, as a junior, Harrell threw for 5,705 yards and 48 touchdowns with just 14 interceptions. He completed 71.8% of his passes, a Texas Tech record that still stands today.

A year later, as a senior, he again surpassed 5,000 yards through the air while throwing 45 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. He also completed 70.1% of his passes that season.

Of course, his second season wasn't all that bad either. With 4,555 yards and 38 TDs with 11 interceptions, he showed that he had what it takes to lead the “Air Raid” offense to new heights.

That year, he was also instrumental in the 31-point second-half comeback win over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl, and he threw a dramatic touchdown in the final minute of the fourth quarter to defeat Texas A&M in College Station, cementing his status as a Red Raiders hero.

Unfortunately, Tuberville didn't endear himself to Red Raider fans either. In fact, he remains one of the most disliked figures in the program's history.

He was caught in a difficult situation when he arrived following the firing of Mike Leach in 2009. However, the former Ole Miss and Auburn head coach did little to smooth things over after his arrival.

His constant complaints about the program and West Texas got on many nerves, and he couldn't continue the success that Leach had achieved.

He led Tech to a mediocre 8-5 record in 2010 and then to a mediocre 5-7 record in 2011. This was the first time Tech failed to qualify for a bowl game since 1992, ending the longest streak of bowl appearances in the Big 12.

In 2012, Tuberville led Tech to a 7-5 regular season record, but only one win against a ranked team that season.

After that season, Tuberville sneaked off to Cincinnati, where he accepted the head coaching job because he knew his spot in Lubbock was highly coveted. That left a sour taste in the mouths of many fans, and Tuberville's name became one of the dirtiest words in the West Texas vocabulary.

Still, Tuberville's career is worthy of Hall of Fame induction. He was named national coach of the year in 2004 after leading Auburn to an SEC title and a perfect 13-0 season. He led the Tigers to four division titles and two SEC championship game appearances and ranks 10th in conference history with 64 SEC regular-season wins. After his time at Texas Tech, he led Cincinnati to a 9-4 (7-1) record and a share of the AAC title in 2014.

However, if there's one person Red Raider fans hope never to see anything positive again, it's Tuberville. The same can't be said for Harrell, who everyone in West Texas is rooting for as he once again tries to get into the College Football Hall of Fame.