SEVEN FORMER TIDE GREATS NAMED TO SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’S ALL-TIME SEC TEAM
With the Southeastern Conference celebrating its 75th anniversary this season, Sports Illustrated named an All-Time SEC football team this week.
Alabama, which has won a league record 12 national championships and 21 SEC championships, led all conference schools with seven players listed plus the coach of the team was Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Bryant is the winningest coach in SEC history. He compiled a 323-85-17 (.732) career record. He led the Crimson Tide to a 232-46-9 (.824) record in his 25-year career. He led the Crimson Tide six national championships (1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978 and 1979) and 13 SEC Championships. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
John Hannah and Chris Samuels were two of the five offensive linemen while Ozzie Newsome got the nod at tight end. All three have appeared on an SI cover during their NFL careers.
Hannah was a unanimous All-America selection in 1972. He was rated by many analysts as the greatest offensive lineman of all time. He was named to the All-SEC team in 1971-72 and to some All-America teams in 1971. He was elected to the all-time college football team by ESPN in 1989; is a member of the Team of the Decade of 1970s; is a member of Alabama’s Team of the Century and is a member of the NFL and Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. In 1972, he won the Jacobs Trophy given to the best blocker in the SEC.
The Tide’s first-ever Outland Trophy winner, Samuels was an All-America pick in 1999, his senior season. He was also the recipient of the Jacobs Trophy, symbolic of the SEC’s best offensive blocker. He had 42 consecutive starts during his career and was also an All-SEC pick in 1998 and 1999. He did not give up a sack or quarterback pressure his senior season and
was the third player picked in the 2000 NFL draft by the Washington Redskins
Newsome, a unanimous All-America selection in 1977, was voted to Alabama’s Team of the Century and was the Tide’s Player of the Decade for the 1970s. Serving as team captain in 1977, Newsome was the SEC Lineman of the Year by the Birmingham Monday Morning Quarterback Club and the Atlanta Touchdown Club. He played with the Cleveland
Browns until 1990 when he retired as a player, but then moved into the front office as general manager of the Baltimore Ravens.
All three linebackers were former Crimson Tide players - Cornelius Bennett, Lee Roy Jordan and Derrick Thomas.
A three-time All-American, Bennett was a unanimous selection in 1986, the year he also won the Lombardi Trophy. He was selected as SEC Player of the Year in 1986 after earning All-America honors in 1984 and 1985. Cornelius was Defensive Player of the Game in the 1985 Aloha Bowl and the 1986 Sun Bowl and finished 7th in the Heisman Trophy balloting that year. He was selected to the Tide’s Team of the Century and was the Player of the Decade for the 1980s. He went on
to a stellar career in the NFL, including four Super Bowl appearances with the Buffalo Bills and one with the Atlanta Falcons. He is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
A consensus All-America pick in 1962, Jordan was MVP of the 1963 Orange Bowl after registering an incredible 31 tackles in Alabama’s 17-0 win over Oklahoma. He was a captain on the 1962 team. He was voted Alabama’s Player of the Decade for the 1960s, he was also on the Tide’s Team of the Century and a member of ESPN’s all-time college football team. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor and received the NCAA ’s Silver Anniversary Award in 1987. Although defensive statistics were not kept on a regular basis during his career, Coach Bryant summed it best when he said, “If they stay inside the boundaries, Lee Roy will get ??em.” Jordan finished 4th in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1962.
Thomas won the Butkus Award, CBS’s Defensive Player of the Year and the Washington Pigskin Club’s Defensive Player of the Year award. Nicknamed “Sackman”, he was voted Defensive Player of the Decade for the 1980s and was later selected to the Tide’s Team of the Century. Thomas was named National Player of the Week after his performances against Kentucky and Penn State his senior season. He served as defensive captain for the 1988 team. Thomas had an incredible 27 sacks in 1988 after shattering the school record with 18 the year before. He finished 10th in the Heisman Trophy balloting in
1988. He was named NFL Rookie of the Year in 1989 while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The seventh player was cornerback Antonio Langham (1990-93). A two-time All-America pick, Langham is the only Tide player to win the Jim Thorpe Award, symbolic as the nation’s best defensive back. That same year, he was also a finalist
for the FWAA Defensive Player of the Year and Football News Player of the Year award. He was an All-SEC pick in 1992 and 1993 and was the inaugural SEC Championship game’s MVP in 1992. In that game, he intercepted Gator quarterback Shane Matthews and returned it 27 yards for the winning touchdown in the Tide’s 28-21 victory. He finished his career with a
school record 19 interceptions.
Sports Illustrated Presents has produced a special collector’s issue commemorating the 75 years of SEC football. The 88-page magazine, with a limited press run of 215,000 copies, will be sold for $6.99, features six different versions of the cover including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and LSU.
Fans can receive a complimentary copy of the magazine at the Sports Illustrated SEC Tour Driven by Nissan on the University of Alabama Quad this Friday and Saturday before the Alabama-Tennessee football game. Fans can also get their picture on the cover of SI with the Heisman Trophy and relive 75years of SEC football through stunning SI photography.
SEC Tour Driven by Nissan will be on the UA Quad Friday, Oct. 19 from 6-9 p.m. (CDT) and Saturday, Oct. 20, beginning at 8 a.m.