Alabama football received a great honor Thursday, as the Football Writers Association of America announced four former Crimson Tide players on its 75th Anniversary All-America Team. The FWAA was founded in 1941 and has been creating these lists since 1944.
John Hannah, Derrick Thomas, Lee Roy Jordan and Barrett Jones were the four individuals named to the team. Hannah and Thomas were first-team selections, while Jordan and Jones received a spot on the third team. All four players were decorative leaders at Alabama.
Hannah was a dominant tackle and guard under head coach Paul Bryant from 1970-72.
He was a two-time All-American and earned the Jacobs Trophy (best blocker in the conference) in 1972. Hannah was a member of Alabama’s Southeastern Conference championship team that year. He was named to the University of Alabama All-Century Team and its 1970s All-Decade Team. Along with football, Hannah participated in wrestling and track.
Coach Bryant would later call Hannah the “greatest lineman he’d ever coached”. Hannah would later be inducted into College Football’s (1999) and Pro Football’s Hall of Fame in 1991.
Thomas was the definition of “sack specialist” at Alabama from 1986-88.
He anchored one of the fiercest defenses in college football, and it paid off for him in 1988. Thomas recorded 27 sacks, after totaling 18 in 1986. He was the recipient of the Butkus Award (nation’s top linebacker), and his 27 sacks still holds true as the most in a single season.
Thomas finished 10th in the 1988 Heisman voting. He was selected as a unanimous All-American, and finished his career with 52 sacks. Thomas was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014, and Pro Football’s Hall of Fame in 2009.
Jordan was a standout at center and linebacker for Alabama from 1960-62.
In his sophomore year, Jordan helped Alabama win its first national championship under coach Bryant in 1961. The Crimson Tide went 11-0 that season and captured an SEC title.
Jordan was voted team captain in 1962, and in his senior year, he guided Alabama to a 9-1 mark. It faced the Oklahoma Sooners in the 1963 Orange Bowl and won 17-0.
Jordan totaled 31 tackles and was awarded most valuable player for his performance.
He received unanimous All-American honors in 1962 and was recognized as Lineman of the Year. Jordan was enshrined in Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.
College Football opened its doors for him in 1983.
Jones’ versatility was special on Alabama’s offensive line from 2008-12.
His career started at right guard in 2009, as he blocked for Heisman-winning running back Mark Ingram. Jones was member on Alabama’s SEC and national championship team in 2009.
He switched from right guard to left tackle in 2011, due to a lack of depth. Jones protected first-year starting quarterback AJ McCarron and blocked for Doak Walker Award-winning running back Trent Richardson. The Crimson Tide captured its 14th national title in 2011.
Jones’ final spot of domination on the offensive line came at center in 2012.
He blocked for two 1,000-yard rushers (Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon) and allowed McCarron to throw for 2,933 yards and 30 touchdowns. Alabama secured an SEC title and its 15th national championship in 2012, defeating No.1-ranked Notre Dame 42-14 in the 2013 BCS title game.
Jones was a two-time consensus All-American and first-team All-SEC selection (2011-12).
He collected the Wuerffel Trophy, Outland Trophy, Jacobs Blocking Trophy and Jim Trophy in 2011. Jones received the Remington Trophy in 2012.
Academics was equally important as athletics for Jones. He obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree with a 4.0 grade point average in both areas. Jones was awarded with the Williams V. Campbell Trophy in 2012 for his work in the classroom.