Spoke w Derrick Thomas Jr. about today: "It's exciting for me but it really didn't make me see him as great bc he's always been No. 1 to me.Thomas, who tragically lost his life in February of 2000 at the age of 33, is considered to be one of the greatest linebackers in the history of college football, and one of the most decorated athletes to ever play for the University of Alabama.
— Aaron Suttles (@AaronSuttles) May 22, 2014
Suiting up for the Crimson Tide from 1985-88, Thomas was an All-American at 'Bama and the 1988 recipient of the Butkus Award, which is presented to the best linebacker in the nation. During the 1988 season, Thomas recorded a total of 27 sacks, an NCAA record that has yet to be broken. Thomas concluded his Tide career with 52 sacks and 68 tackles-for-loss, both of which are Alabama school records.
Former Alabama LB Derrick Thomas will be inducted posthumously into the @cfbhall » http://t.co/ttkEp9Yekd pic.twitter.com/RDxAUW1TrHIn regards to the aforementioned "snubbing" of Thomas, on three different occasions, no particular reason has ever been given as to why Thomas was shunned. Logic suggests that a player who holds NCAA records, as well as individual school records for performance, should have been a lock for the Hall of Fame on the initial ballot of eligibility, but that obviously was not the case for the legendary Alabama linebacker.
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) May 22, 2014
Former Crimson Tide standout Cornelius Bennett, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005, made his case in 2013 by saying he would boycott the College Football Hall of Fame until Thomas was inducted. Bennett, also a prolific linebacker in his own right, played along side Thomas for two years at the University of Alabama.
While the wait was long, and at times confusing for those who loved and admired Thomas, the man who reinvented the linebacker position in respect to the collegiate ranks, has finally taken his rightful place in the College Football Hall of Fame. Congratulations to the late Derrick Thomas for receiving an honor so richly deserved.
*This blog post will appear on Yahoo! in the coming weeks.