Former Kentucky QB Tim Couch elected to College Football Hall of Fame

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Kentucky football great Tim Couch can now officially be considered a college football legend.

The former Wildcat quarterback was one of 22 members of the 2024 College Football Hall of Fame class announced Monday. Couch and the other honorees will be inducted at the annual National Football Foundation Awards Dinner on Dec. 10 in Las Vegas.

“I’m honored and humbled,” Couch said in a UK news release. “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.”

The Leslie County High School graduate played at UK from 1996 to 1998. He was named SEC Player of the Year in 1998 and broke seven NCAA records, 14 SEC records and 26 school records despite spending just two seasons as a full-time starter. The Cleveland Browns selected Couch with the No. 1 pick in the 1999 NFL draft.

In the 1997 season opener, Couch’s first season as the full-time starter in Hal Mumme’s “Air Raid” offense, Couch broke the school record with 398 passing yards and four touchdowns in a win over Louisville. Two weeks later, he broke a school record with seven touchdown passes against Indiana.

Couch was the quarterback for Kentucky’s 1997 upset of Alabama, just the program’s second win against the Crimson Tide. He threw the game-winning touchdown in overtime to Craig Yeast, capping a performance with 355 yards and four touchdowns.

As a junior, Couch led Kentucky to a 7-4 season and Outback Bowl berth. He completed an NCAA-record 72.3% of his passes for 4,275 yards and 36 touchdowns. Couch was named a first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of American and Walter Camp Football Foundation. He was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, finishing fourth in voting for the award.

Couch is the eighth former UK player or coach inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame, following coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, tackle Bob Gain, quarterback Babe Parilli, end Steve Meilinger, tackle Lou Michaels, defensive end Art Still and coach and player Jerry Claiborne. Former UK athletic director Bernie Shively was elected in honor of his playing career at Illinois.

Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch signals touchdown after throwing a TD that gave the Wildcats a 42-0 lead against Indiana in Bloomington on Sept. 20, 1997.
Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch signals touchdown after throwing a TD that gave the Wildcats a 42-0 lead against Indiana in Bloomington on Sept. 20, 1997.

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