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SB Nation College Football Hall Of Fame Inductee Derrick Thomas

They called him "Sackman" for a reason.
They called him "Sackman" for a reason.

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.

Year Tackles TFL-Yards Sacks-Yards Fumbles Caused Fumbles Recovered Blocked Kicks
1985 19 3-36 3-33 0 0 0
1986 30 6-36 4-29 1 2 1
1987 67 1-1 18-142 7 2 2
1988 88 12-46 27-204 2 1 2
Total 204 22-119 52-408 10 5 5

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:

Rank Category Record Year
1st Sacks (career) 52 1985-88
1st Sacks (season) 27 1988
1st Sacks (game) 5 1988 (vs TAMU)
1st QB Hurries (season) 44 1988
1st QB Hurries (game) 9 1988 (vs PSU)
1st Tackles for Loss (career) 68 1985-88
1st Tackles for Loss (season) 39 1988
1st Tackles for Loss (game) 7 1988 (vs TAMU)
1st Fumbles Forced (season) 7 1987
1st (tied) Fumbles Forced (career) 10 1985-88
1st Blocked Kicks (career) 5 1985-88
1st (tied) Blocked Kicks (game) 2 1988 (vs Kty)
2nd Sacks (season) 18 1987
2nd QB Hurries (game) 6 1988 (vs Kty)
2nd (tie) Sacks (game) 4 1988 (vs Kty)
2nd (tie) Tackles for Loss (game) 6 1988 (vs Kty)
5th (tie) Tackles for Loss (season) 19 1987
6th (tie) QB Hurries (career) 44* 1988
NCAA records.
* Not recorded by Alabama until 1988.

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.