Former Crimson Tide linebacker Derrick Thomas is widely considered not only one of the best in Alabama history, but one of the best pass rushers in all of football. Thomas helped revolutionize the way linebacker/defensive end hybrids are used in football.
Thomas smashed almost all sack records at Alabama, as well as setting the NCAA single-season record for sacks (27) in 1988 and sacks in a career (52), both of which still stand to this day. Thomas holds both of those records at Alabama as well, obviously, but he also has the most blocked kicks (5) in a career at Alabama, tackles for loss in a game (7 in 1988 vs. Texas A&M), tackles for loss in a season (39 in 1988), tackles for loss in a season (68), QB hurries in a game (9 vs. Penn State in 1988), QB hurries in a season (44 in 1988) and forced fumbles in a season (7 in 1988).
Not only that, but he has the most sacks in a game at Alabama when he recorded five against Texas A&M in 1988. Thomas also had the second most sacks in a game, with four against Kentucky in 1988!
His 27 sacks in 1988 are not only an Alabama, SEC and NCAA single-season record, but his 18.0 sacks in 1987 are second most in a single season at Alabama. The closest to Thomas’ 52 career sacks is Kindal Moorehead who had 25! In 1988 he was a consensus All American, Butkus Award winner, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and finished tenth in Heisman voting before getting drafted in the first round by the Kansas City Chiefs. All that doesn’t even touch on his record-setting NFL career.
So why is Derrick Thomas snubbed by the College Football Hall of Fame year after year? No one has a good answer for that question. This past year the great Teddy Bruschi was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. What was his most honored record? He tied Derrick Thomas’ career sack record of 52. So why not induct the guy he tied?
Thomas’ exclusion has continued to incense many Tide fans, as well as those that played alongside and against him; some so much so that they are actually boycotting the College Football Hall of Fame until this wrong is righted.
Legendary Alabama linebacker and former Thomas teammate Cornelius Bennett, who himself is enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame, has sworn to boycott any further appearances for the Hall of Fame.
“I guess I’ve got a personal boycott going forward until he does get in,” Bennett said, “because what he accomplished in college football – his sack record from his senior year is still out there, consensus All-America, what he did in the professional ranks – is just unparalleled so there’s no doubt that he should be in the College Football Hall of Fame.”
Now some Alabama fans and alumni have joined forces for an online campaign to get the legendary Thomas enshrined with the “Where’s Number 55? Derrick Thomas for HOF” campaign. Former Crimson Tide greats such as Antonio Langham, David Palmer, John Copeland, Prince Wimbley, Eryk Anders, Derrick Lassic and Tyrone Prothro have shown their support for the cause. They are also selling t-shirts to further the cause via their Facebook page. The t-shirts are 2 for $25 and can be purchased via the Facebook page.