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Former Alabama LB, E.J. Junior inducted into College Football Hall of Fame for 2020 class

Jason Getz - USA TODAY Sports

He was one of the pillars in the era of Paul W. “Bear” Bryant and now, Ester James “E.J.” Junior has been awarded his flowers to the College Football Hall of Fame. 

Born in North Carolina, Junior played high school football at Maplewood Comprehensive in Nashville, Tenn.

He would catch the attention of Bryant, who gave him an opportunity to play linebacker for the Crimson Tide from 1977 to 1980.

Junior made impactful plays in the 1979 season, recording 52 tackles, five sacks and one blocked punt. He helped the Tide capture a national championship that year and in the previous season (1978). 

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While he was a two-time national champion and three-time Southeastern Conference Champion (1977-79), his greatest achievement came in 1980. Junior posted 71 total tackles and was named a consensus first-team All-American.

After being selected No. 5 overall in the 1981 NFL Draft, he played 13 years (1981-93) in the National Football League. Junior spent time with the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks. 

He was named to two Pro Bowls (1984-85) in his pro career. 

Junior was one of 19 inductees into the Hall of Fame for the 2020 class, per the National Football Foundation on Wednesday.  

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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