BamaHammer Players Championship Final: Derrick Thomas (1) vs. Barrett Jones (2)

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We’ve reached the finals of our tournament to crown the greatest Alabama Crimson Tide football player of all time. Thank you to everyone who voted in our polls.

While some thought this thing would wind up a popularity contest with the flashiest players making it to the end, instead we have as finalists the types of players that have helped make Alabama football legendary.

On one side is Derrick Thomas, perhaps one of the greatest linebackers to ever play the game. Across the line from him is Barrett Jones, who is arguably the most complete offensive lineman in Alabama history. Together, they sum up the blue-collar work ethic and determination that has led the Crimson Tide to its storied status.

Your vote counts; the polls will remain open through Saturday to give you more time to vote, and we will announce our winner on Sunday.

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.

Barrett Jones (2008-2012)

Offensive Lineman – Germantown, Tenn.
6’5”, 311 lbs

If this players championship was based solely off of a player’s winning record, Barrett Jones would probably be your runaway champion. Since Jones became a full-time starter during his redshirt freshman season in 2009, the Tide have compiled an overall record of 49-5. He won his third national championship in four years this past season to cap off a near-perfect career with the Crimson Tide — from a winning standpoint at least.

While winning is obviously important, Jones’ resume extends far beyond the win-loss column. In his best two seasons in 2011 and 2012, Jones was a two-time All-SEC and All-American selection (unanimous in ’11), claiming some of the nation’s top awards in the Outland Trophy and Rimington Trophy in the process. He is one of only two players in college football history to win both awards in a career.

Though his accomplishments speak for themselves, his versatility on the field speaks louder. Plenty of great players have won multiple championships and numerous awards during their career, but how many have done so at multiple positions? In 49 career starts, Jones has started 25 at right guard in 2009-2010, 11 at left tackle in 2011 and 13 at center in 2012, playing just as well, if not better, with every position change. Body of work alone, it’s hard not to like Barrett Jones.