Derrick Thomas, one of the most dominant defensive players in the history of the game, has overwhelmingly been selected as an inductee to the SB Nation College Football Hall of Fame. As a designated pass-rushing linebacker, Thomas simply terrorized quarterbacks during his career with the Crimson Tide.
In 1988 Thomas was a consensus All-American and earned the Butkus Award, CBS's Defensive Player of the Year award, the Washington Pigskin Club's Defensive Player of the Year award and was a candidate for the Heisman Trophy.
He was named the National Player of the week for his performances against Kentucky and Penn State that season (and his effort against Texas A&M was amazing as well).
Thomas was an All-Conference player in 1987 and 1988 as well as being selected as the SEC Athlete of the Year and Birmingham Touchdown Club's SEC Player of the Year his senior season.
Typically, it's hard to amass data on the performance of defensive players to evaluate but that is certainly not the case with Thomas. The numbers he amassed in four years at the Capstone are simply staggering.
Thomas was voted Alabama's Defensive Player of the Decade for the 1980s as well as the Tide's Team of the Century. Although the NCAA did not begin recording sacks as an official statistic until 2000, Thomas' 27 single-season sacks is a record for college football his 52 career sacks is tied at the top with Arizona's Tedy Brushi. As you might expect, he pretty much owns the Alabama Record Book:
Thomas was the fourth player taken overall in the 1989 NFL Draft and played for ten years with Kansas City Chiefs until his death in 2000 at the age of 33. During his 169-game pro career, Thomas earned 126.5 sacks -- the fourth highest total by a linebacker in NFL history. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.