We’re reaching the end of the first round of our tournament to crown the greatest Alabama Crimson Tide football player of all time, and voting is getting tighter. Time to make your selection.
Saban Division – Running Backs vs. Linebackers
Wilbur Jackson (1971-1973)
6’1’’ 215 lbs
Running Back – Ozark, Alabama
Stats: 1529 yards
Wilbur Jackson’s legacy at the University of Alabama resonates on many levels. He had great on the field success; he was a part of the 1973 national championship team, and he only lost four games in his entire career at the Capstone. Probably more important was his social impact. Jackson was the first African-American football player to ever sign with Alabama.
During the championship year in 1973, Jackson only carried the ball 95 times, as Alabama ran a wishbone offense. He gained 752 yards on those 95 carries, giving him an average of 7.9 yards per carry that remains an Alabama record. He also holds the record for yards per carry in a career with 7.2. He was selected as an All-SEC running back that year as well.
Jackson was selected 9th in the first round of the 1974 NFL Draft by the San Fransisco 49ers, but won a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins. In 2007, he was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Wilbur Jackson is remembered among Tide fans as not only a winner, but as a resonating symbol of the forward progress of the Civil Rights Movement.
Derrick Thomas (1985-1988)
6’ 3’’ 255 lbs
Linebacker – Miami, Florida
Career Statistics: 52 Sacks, 74 Tackles for loss
Derrick Thomas is generally considered to be the finest defensive player in the history of Alabama football. He holds numerous Alabama defensive records, including one which will perhaps never be broken. Thomas recorded an astounding 52 sacks in his entire career playing at the Capstone. No other Crimson Tide player has ever come close.
He also holds Alabama records for sacks in a season (27), blocked kicks in a game (2), and in his career (5), sacks in a game (5), tackles for loss in a game (7), in a season (39), and in a career (74), quarterback hurries in a game (9), and in a season (44), forced fumbles in a season (7), and in a career (10). He won the Butkus Award in 1988 as the nation’s top linebacker and finished 10th in the Heisman voting.
Derrick was a unanimous All-America selection in 1988. He was drafted fourth overall in the 1989 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. His career and life were tragically cut short after a car accident on February 8, 2000. He is a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Simply put, Derrick Thomas is the benchmark of defensive excellence at Alabama, and his impact on the university and the game of football is second to none.
Which player advances to the next round?
- Derrick Thomas (90%, 81 Votes)
- Wilbur Jackson (10%, 9 Votes)
Total Voters: 90