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Alabama's Thomas voted into College Hall of Fame



BY RALPH D. RUSSO
AP COLLEGE FOOTBALL WRITER

The late great Derrick Thomas grew up in Miami and played his entire 11-year NFL career in Kansas City.

In between he spent four years at the University of Alabama, dominating on defense as few players have ever done in college football history.

"Alabama meant everything to Derrick, even after he moved to Kansas City," Edith Morgan, Thomas' mother, said Thursday. "He still had his Alabama (license) plates and went back to Alabama whenever he could."

Thomas, LT among CFB HOF Class Of '14


It took longer than Crimson Tide fans would have liked, but Thomas was elected Thursday to the College Football Hall of Fame, highlighting a class of 14 players that also includes LaDainian Tomlinson, Sterling Sharpe and Tony Boselli.

Thomas, who died in 2000 at age 33 shortly after an automobile accident left him paralyzed, was one of the Hall of Fame's most obvious omissions. Alabama fans had been growing increasingly annoyed by the wait in recent years.

His credentials could not be argued against. After choosing to attend Alabama over Oklahoma, Thomas played for the Tide from 1985-88. He won the Butkus Award as the nation's best linebacker as a senior when he had 27 sacks. He finished his career with 52 sacks, a school record.

"He was really, really fond of Alabama and he loved the Crimson Tide, not only the school but the city of Tuscaloosa itself," Morgan said.

Thomas was drafted fourth overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1989 and made nine Pro Bowls. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

The new College Football Hall of Fame class announced by the National Football Foundation at a news conference in Dallas also featured a couple of Heisman Trophy finalists and two of the best offensive linemen of the early 1990s.

Tomlinson led the nation in rushing in his final two seasons at TCU (1999 and 2000) and finished fourth in the Heisman voting in 2000.

"This is a great honor," said Tomlinson, who attended the news conference. "As a kid you never set out to land in the College Football Hall of Fame. You're just playing with your buddies, having fun, playing a game that you love."

Tomlinson thanked TCU for giving him a chance.

"TCU was the first school to offer me a scholarship," he said. "I didn't have many, but they believed in me."

Georgia Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton was the Heisman runner-up to Ron Dayne in 1999.

Boselli played tackle at Southern California from 1991-94 and was the second overall draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. Louisiana Tech tackle Willie Roaf was a finalist for the Outland Trophy as a senior in 1992 before going on to a long NFL career.

Sterling Sharpe held virtually every receiving record when he left South Carolina after the 1987 season.

The rest of the players who will be inducted during the National Football Foundation's awards banquet in December are: North Carolina cornerback Dre Bly; Purdue defensive tackle Dave Butz; Penn State linebacker Shane Conlan; Maine linebacker John Huard; Stanford running back Darrin Nelson; UCLA quarterback John Sciarra; McNeese State defensive back Leonard Smith; and Mississippi tight end Wesley Walls.

The two coaches who will join the Hall of Fame are Mike Bellotti, who led Oregon from 1995-2008, and Jerry Moore, who coached at North Texas, Texas Tech and Appalachian State.

Conlan, who was also in attendance, helped lead Penn State and coach Joe Paterno to the 1986 national championship.

"It's been a tough time the last few years at Penn State," he said, fighting back tears as he thanked the late Paterno. "We miss you, Coach," he said.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
Alex May 23 2014 at 4:11 AM

I remember hating him so much, not because I didn't like him as a person, just because, my freakin team couldn't block him! I remember how he would make me yell at the TV so loud! As if anyone but my wife could hear me....lol. He was an awesome player. I have his error card, if you know about this card there's a hint to who my team is. Anyway, Mr. Thomas I am glad you finally got what you deserved, unfortunately, I wish you'd have been around to receive it in person. One more time, " For the love of Pete! Will some body block this GUY! How the He%# can't you see him! DAMN IT!" You are surely missed! Way to give it your all!

Flag Reply +10 rate up
dbilli7544 May 22 2014 at 10:55 PM

Way overdue for such a great person and outstanding player!!

Flag Reply +8 rate up
1 reply
raidersetc dbilli7544 May 23 2014 at 2:00 AM

Outstanding player ? Yes . Great person ? Ugh ... Deadbeat dad , DUI ... spousal battery allegations ...

Flag Reply 0 rate up
3 replies
blawless33 May 22 2014 at 11:22 PM

About time, this guy was/is a legend !!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
theemovado May 22 2014 at 10:46 PM

Who cares?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
5 replies
usafgolfrvs May 23 2014 at 8:11 AM

ITS A FOOT BALL HALL OF FAME, NOT TO SEE HOW MANY WOMEN OR KIDS HE HAD, CHECK YOUR OTHER INDUCTEES,YOU GOT SOME DRUGGIES AND WIFE BEATERS IN THERE. BUT THEY ARE WHITE. NEED I SAY MORE, CHECK IT, I WILL WAIT.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Steve May 23 2014 at 9:27 AM

Stop referring to LaDainian Tomlinson as LT. There is only one LT, and he played for the New York Giants. He also was on two Super Bowl winning teams and changed the way the game was played. LaDainian Tomlinson was a very good running back but he's no LT!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Crimsontide May 22 2014 at 11:43 PM

Also Derricks father died a hero in Viet NAM!!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
onionson Crimsontide May 23 2014 at 6:05 AM

That might help getting into a military academy but should have nothing to do with this. Why would you think sop???

Flag Reply 0 rate up
lyndaoo May 22 2014 at 11:40 PM

Well...Derrick may well have been a great football player.l...but what kind of man has six or seven children by six or seven women...married to none of them...also...his mother charged $10 for anyone who wanted to go to his Estate Sale...that's disgustinhg...same level of morals.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
3 replies
napa422 May 23 2014 at 11:02 AM

how many illigitimate babies has this loon fathered???

Flag Reply 0 rate up
2 replies
junior napa422 May 23 2014 at 11:23 AM

7, by 5 different women.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
brenhatestwinkie napa422 May 23 2014 at 1:24 PM

how many is your your family?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
napa422 May 23 2014 at 10:30 AM

Do you have to speak Ebonics to get in the Nationsl Felons League Hall of Fame?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
2 replies
Walt napa422 May 23 2014 at 12:36 PM

YOU PRETEND GOOD AMERICAN, YOU ARE A FRAUD, AND ALL YOU SEE IS THE BAD THINGS IN THE NFL AND LIFE., SO TAKE YOUR NEGATATIVE REAR END BACK UNDER THE ROCK YOU CRAWLED OUT OF.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
brenhatestwinkie napa422 May 23 2014 at 1:25 PM

Do you need to get a brain and go look at you girl lohan

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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