55 Days Away from Bama Kickoff: Derrick Thomas
Each day counting down to Alabama's Week 1 matchup with Utah State, I will highlight one former player whose jersey number coincides with the amount of days until the game. Kickoff is just 55 days away, so let's look at the career of possibly the most feared edge rusher of all-time, Derrick Thomas.
Derrick Thomas is one of, if not the most feared edge rushers in the history of football. Born in Miami, FL in 1967, Thomas suited up for the Crimson Tide from 1985-88, and wreaked havoc on every opposing tackle he came across.
Though the statistic was not yet officially kept when Thomas played for Alabama, his 52.0 career sacks trump the current NCAA record of 45.0 held by former Louisiana Tech Bulldog Jaylon Ferguson.
While his career numbers with the Tide are like something of pure legend, Thomas' single season record is truly what puts his sheer dominance into perspective.
The Miami native recorded 27.0 sacks in a single season in an era of college football rife with elementary passing games and heavy rushing attacks. Not to mention, Thomas also compiled his outrageous sack total in a time when teams played just 11 regular season games.
Alongside his partners in crime, Cornelius Bennet and Keith McCants, Thomas and the Alabama defensive front stifled opposing offenses before they ever even got started.
After his legendary career with the Crimson Tide, Thomas entered the 1989 NFL Draft and was selected fourth overall to the Kansas City Chiefs.
While many were aware of what Thomas could bring to an NFL team, few expected his impact to be as immediate as it was. As a rookie, Thomas started all 16 games for Kansas City and recorded 75 tackles, 10.0 sacks and three forced fumbles, winning Defensive Rookie of the Year and making his first of many Pro Bowls.
Across his eleven year career with the Chiefs, Thomas compiled a mind-blowing 126.5 sacks, and even set the NFL record for sacks in a single game when he took down Seahawks quarterback Dave Kreig seven times in a 1990 matchup. A nine-time consecutive Pro Bowler and First Team All-Pro selection from 1990-92, Thomas put together an incredible career and was inducted posthumously into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.