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55 days until...

RBR's countdown to the Alabama-West Virginia game continues with #55...


When Bama fans think of the number 55, undoubtedly it harkens back to one of the greatest linebackers to ever patrol the field at Bryant-Denny: Derrick Thomas.


Those Notre-Dame-loving-living-in-the-past-south-hatin-on bozos at the College Football Hall of Fame finally wised up and inducted the late great "DT" into this year's class. I just might not burn it down once they have completed it as I promised a year ago.

For you young'ns or new Alabama fans, Derrick Thomas was a ferocious linebacker who could absolutely dominate a game. Against Penn State in 1988, he had 9 QB hurries, 3 sacks, and a safety.

For the uneducated, Derrick Thomas was a linebacker ahead of this time. He was big as a defensive end (6-3/255) but fast like a safety. He rarely missed a tackle and saw the field as well as any LB of his day or today.

In 1988, he set an NCAA record of 27 sacks - a record that still stands today. By comparison, Jarvis Jones of Georgia led D-I this past season [2012] with 14.5 sacks. For his college career, Thomas had 52 sacks another record. He had a nose for the ball and an intensity that made quarterbacks quake.

  • 1988 SEC Defensive Player of the Year
  • 1988 Consensus All-America
  • 1988 Dick Butkus Award
  • 1988 one of two permanent team captains commemorated with handprints and footprints in front of Denny Chimes (QB David Smith was the other)
  • 10th in the 1988 Heisman voting (He had some pretty big names ahead of him)
  • 74 career tackles for loss, 39 in 1988
  • Seven career blocked kicks
  • 1989 1st round pick (4th overall) of the Kansas City Chiefs

Sadly, Thomas left us too soon as he perished in an automobile accident while still in the prime of his NFL HOF career with the Kansas City Chiefs.

A touching video can be seen here. Just don't watch it in a dusty room.