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Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Tide's Thomas belongs in Hall of Fame

By Chris Low

It's the question that is no doubt making the rounds in the state of Alabama right now: What's taking so long?

There are tons of players out there worthy of being in the College Football Hall of Fame who aren't. But there was only one Derrick Thomas, and how he keeps getting snubbed every year is baffling.

For the third straight year Thomas was on the ballot. And for the third straight year he wasn't elected.

Thomas, one of the most feared pass-rushers to ever play the game, died in 2000 following a car wreck. He was a nine-time All-Pro with the Kansas City Chiefs and once racked up seven sacks in a single game on his way to being elected posthumously to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

But before he achieved NFL stardom, he was also the gold standard for rushing the passer in the SEC.

Thomas was a first-team All-American in 1988 and set an NCAA record with 27 sacks, a record that still stands. He had five sacks in one game that season against Texas A&M and finished his career with 52 sacks, also an NCAA record that was later tied by Arizona's Tedy Bruschi. Thomas holds the Alabama school record for career tackles for loss (68) and blocked kicks (five). He was the SEC defensive player of the year in 1988 and won the Butkus Award that same season as the top linebacker in college football.

In my lifetime, I haven't seen a better pass-rusher, and he has the numbers to prove it.

Thomas is easily the SEC's greatest player (who's eligible) not enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Surely, they'll get it right next year and select him. Then again, I said the exact same thing this time a year ago.