Alabama Football: Crimson Tide Hall of Fame honors grow with E.J. Junior


The proud tradition of Alabama football was recently enhanced by E.J. Junior, former Crimson Tide linebacker/defensive end being named to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Former Alabama football LB/DE, E.J. Junior became the 20th Crimson Tide player elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. Junior was a Crimson Tide standout for four seasons, 1977-1980. He played on two National Championship teams (1978, 1979) and was a unanimous All-American in 1980. In his last three seasons for the Crimson Tide, Junior was named First Team, All-SEC. In 1980 he was a Lombardi Trophy finalist.

By today’s standards Junior was not big. He was 6-foot-three and played at 220 pounds. But he was quick and fast. He had 190 tackles in his Crimson Tide career, including 18 tackles for a loss and 21 sacks.

Junior was the fifth overall player drafted in 1981. He played 13 seasons in the NFL, eight of them with the Cardinals. His last season was in 1993.

The College Football Hall of Fame lists 19 former Crimson Tide players in its ranks. The University rightly claims a 20th player. Don Whitmire was selected to the Hall in 1956. Whitmire played two seasons for the Crimson Tide (1941-1942) and then in 1943 and 1944, played for Navy. Whitmire was subsequently named to the All-Time Orange Bowl team. He was an Alabama football player in an Orange Bowl game. He had even more success at Navy and won the Knute Rockne Award in 1943.

The Crimson Tide has four Alabama football coaches in the Hall of Fame. They are Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas, Gene Stallings and Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant. The Alabama football record book also claims Frank Howard. Howard was a Crimson Tide player but entered the Hall of Fame mostly on his coaching success. Howard was the Head Coach at Clemson for thirty years. Dabo’s Tigers play in Frank Howard Stadium.

In alphabetical order, the former Crimson Tide players in the College Football Hall of Fame are:

Cornelius Bennett (1983-86), Johnny Mack Brown (1923-25), John Cain (1930-32), Harry Gilmer (1944-47), John Hannah (1970-72), Dixie Howell (1932-34), Pooley Hubert (1922-25), Don Hutson (1932-34), Lee Roy Jordan (1960-62), Woodrow Lowe (1972-75), Marty Lyons (1975-78), Vaughn Mancha (1944-47), Johnny Musso (1969-71), Billy Neighbors (1959-61), Ozzie Newsome (1974-77), Fred Sington (1928-30), Riley Smith (1933-35) and Derrick Thomas (1985-88).

And the coaches are:

Wallace Wade (1923-30); Frank Howard (1928-30 as a Crimson Tide player); Frank Thomas (1931-42, 1944-46); Paul “Bear” Bryant (1958-82); Gene Stallings (1990-96).

Next. Spring Offensive Depth Chart. dark

All Crimson Tide fans are excited for E.J. Maybe the Hall will next look at LeRoy Cook. Cook was twice an All-American in 1974 and 1975. Cook won both SEC Lineman of the Year and SEC Player of the Year.