Couch humbled by call to the hall

Published 11:50 am Thursday, January 11, 2024

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Tim Couch is now a Hall of Famer.

The former Kentucky quarterback was named to the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024 Monday. He will be inducted on Dec. 10 in Las Vegas.

“I’m honored and humbled,” Couch said. “This is an unbelievable honor, I’m blown away by it. I’m really excited for the celebration this year, representing Kentucky and doing my best to do that.”

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Couch played at Kentucky from 1996-98 and threw for 398 yards and four touchdowns in a season-opening win over Louisville in 1997. He also helped lead the Wildcats to a 40-34 overtime win over Alabama during that same season. He threw for 3.884 yards and 37 touchdowns that season and led Kentucky to a 7-5 record during his junior campaign in 1998, where Kentucky lost to Penn State in the Outback Bowl in 1999.

A native of Hyden, Couch was the 1995 National Player of the Year at Leslie County High School, setting then-national records for pass completions (872), passing yards (12,104) and touchdown passes (133). He led Leslie County to berths in the Class AAA playoff semifinals his junior and senior years.

Also an outstanding basketball player at Leslie County, he led the state of Kentucky in scoring with 36 points per game during his junior season. In recognition of his versatile excellence, Couch was named No. 6 on an ESPN list of the Best High School Athletes Ever. He also was chosen to the MaxPreps list of the 50 greatest high school all-around athletes of all time.

In 1998, Couch was named SEC Player of the Year, a first-team All-American and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He played for five seasons and led Cleveland to the playoffs in 2002 before retiring because of injuries in 2003.

Couch is just the eighth former Kentucky Wildcat to enter the College Football Hall of Fame. Defensive end Art Still was the most recent induction, joining the hall in the class of 2015.

UK players in the College Football Hall of Fame

• Paul “Bear” Bryant — head coach. 1946-53, inducted in 1986

• Jerry Claiborne — defensive back (1946-49, head coach (1982-89), inducted in 1999

• Tim Couch — quarterback, 1996-99, inducted in 2024

• Bob Gain — tackle/kicker, 1947-50, inducted in 1980

• Steve Meilinger — end/linebacker, 1951-53, inducted in 2013

• Lou Michaels — tackle/kicker/punter, 1955-77, inducted in 1992

• Babe Parilli — quarterback, 1949-51, inducted in 1982

• Art Still — defensive end, 1974-77, inducted in 2015