25 Top 25 lists on Alabama Football: Linebackers

Special to BamaCentral

Christopher Walsh

For college sports fans, Mondays are about rankings.

There's the Associated Press, the coaches poll, the College Football Playoff rankings, and then power rankings by just about every media service imaginable, whether they cover the sport or not.

Rankings provide a sense of perspective, inspire debate and are above all else meant to be fun.

But currently, there are no rankings ... in anything. So to help Alabama fans fill the void we’re going to do 25 Top 25 lists, ranking everything we can think of regarding the Crimson Tide.

First up, linebackers.

Of all the great players Alabama has had at the position, and there have been a bunch, one clearly stands out.

He was known as "Sackman" during his collegiate days.

Derrick Thomas could singlehandedly change the course of a game, which is extremely rare for a defensive player. Aa a senior, he notched 27 sacks, which would have been an NCAA record had it been considered an official statistical category.

The came on the heels of 18 sacks as a junior in 1987. Thomas finished his Crimson Tide career with an amazing 52.

Among the other players near the top of the list include some who have had Alabama spring awards named after them (for “Headhunter,” most improved linebacker and community service awards), plus also finished strong in Heisman Trophy voting.

For those wondering just how good Lee Roy Jordan was, he placed fourth for the award in 1962.

Woodrow Lowe was a three-time All-American and is Alabama's all-time leader in tackles. Cornelius Bennett was also a three-time All-American and won the Lombardi Trophy. Both are in the College Football Hall of Fame along with Thomas and Jordan.

Much tougher in determining the top 25 is the other end of the list. Just to be considered, one had to have been an All-SEC selection and/or drafted:

1. Derrick Thomas

2. Lee Roy Jordan

3. Cornelius Bennett

4. Woodrow Lowe

5. C.J. Mosley

6. Rolando McClain

7. Reuben Foster

8. Keith McCants

9. Barry Krauss

10. Dont’a Hightower

11. DeMeco Ryans

12. Thomas Boyd

13. Reggie Ragland

14. Dwayne Rudd

15. Rashaan Evans

16. Mike Hall

17. Courtney Upshaw

18. Ryan Anderson

19. Mack Wilson

20. Wayne Davis

21. Anfernee Jennings

22. Saleem Rasheed

23. Derrick Pope

24. Terrell Lewis

25. Tim Williams

Also: Tim Bates; George Bethune; Thomas Boyd; Phillip Brown; Paul Crane; Brooks Daniels; Trey DePriest; Xavier Dickson; Conley Duncan; Cecil Dowdy; Lemanski Hall; Shaun Dion Hamilton; Paul Harris; Nick Johnson; Robbie Jones; Emanuel King; Antonio London; John Mitchell; Derrick Oden; Robin Parkhouse; Derrick Pope; Freddie Roach; Randy Rockwell; Jeff Rouzie; Randy Scott;Ralph Staten; Chuck Strickland; John Sullins; Tom Surlas; John Walters; Rich Wingo; Cornelius Wortham.

Active player who can make list: Dylan Moses 

(Note: The following video was taken right before Moses suffered a season-ending torn ACL near the end of fall camp:)

This is the first story in a series of 25 that will appear while college football and sports are shut down during the novel coronavirus crisis.  

Comments (5)
No. 1-5
Christopher Walsh
Christopher Walsh


I want to say that this was a tough one to start with, but honestly I don't think any of them are going to be easy ...


I would have thought Wayne Davis would have been higher in the list. I remember him being a consistent contributor and having some good years with the Tide. I’m curious how you distinguished between players? Was it based largely on statistics?


Chris, thank you for putting this list together. The only one I felt was a a little high is Reuben Foster. I don't think he lived up to the expectations. Thanks again for all of your work.


bamadave 17 agree with you Wayne Davis he compiled 327 tackles in his career . I I believe that's number one all time. Please move him on up on this list.

Christopher Walsh
Christopher Walsh


I leaned more on accolades over statistics, which can been heavily influenced by the era played, and then mix in a little NFL draft for some perspective. Wayne Davis was a ninth-round draft pick. ... As for Reuben Foster, he won the Butkus Award as the best linebacker in college football and was a unanimous All-American selection.