Neighbors elected to Hall of Fame

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - Billy Neighbors, a member of the Coach Paul W. Bryant's first national championship and first-team All-American selection in 1961, is one of 11 former college football players selected for the 2003 College Football Hall of Fame class.

The news came via an announcement made by Jon F. Hanson, the Chairman of The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Monday afternoon.

Neighbors is the 19th former Alabama football player to be inducted into The National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.

The 2003 College Football Hall of Fame class will be inducted at the 46th Annual Awards Dinner on December 9, 2003, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. They will be officially enshrined at the Hall in South Bend in 2004.

Neighbors, who was a member of Bryant's first team in 1958, helped bring Crimson Tide football back into the national spotlight. Neighbors and his Bama football mates paved the way for one of college football's most domianting eras.

One of the best to play for Coach Bear Bryant, Billy Neighbors bolstered the Alabama offensive line and catapulted the Tide to a 26-3-4 record and a national championship during his three-year tenure.

"Everybody's All-American" in 1961, Neighbors was a big part of Coach Bryant's first national championship team.

A unanimous All-America pick, Neighbors helped Alabama to three straight bowl appearances, including the 1961 Sugar Bowl. This capped a perfect 11-0 season and handed the Crimson Tide their first national title in 20 years. Defensively, with Neighbors playing both sides of the ball, Alabama yielded just 25 points during the championship run. The MVP of the Senior Bowl, Neighbors won the Southeastern Conference Jacob's Trophy in 1960, given to the top blocking lineman.

A resident of Huntsville, Ala., Neighbors was an All-SEC pick and team captain. He was selected in the sixth round of the AFL draft by the Boston Patriots. Neighbors played eight seasons with the Patriots and the Miami Dolphins, twice earning All-Pro recognition.

Following his professional career, Neighbors became a highly successful businessman who also sought to remain active in community service. Currently the senior vice president of Prudential Securities Inc., he has also volunteered with SCAN (Stop Child Abuse and Neglect), Progress Place Children's Home, American Cancer Society and the Lakeshore Hospital Foundation.

"Once again, due to the dedicated efforts of our Honors Court, and its chairman Gene Corrigan, we have another outstanding class of college football legends to induct this year," said Chairman Jon F. Hanson. "We are pleased to recognize these outstanding players and coaches with college football's ultimate honor of induction into the College Football Hall of Fame."

Other members of the 2003 Hall of Fame Class includes Rickey Bell (RB, Southern Cal, 1973-76), Murry Bowden (DB, Dartmouth, 1967-70), Tim Brown (G, Minnesota, 1958-60), Jimbo Covert (OT, Pittsburgh, 1980-83), Doug Dickey (Coach, Tennessee/Florida, 1964-78), Hayden Fry (Coach, SMUk, North Texas State and Iowa, 1962-98), Jerry LeVias (End, SMU, 1965-68), Ron Pritchard (LB, Arizona State, 1966-68), John Rauch (QB, Georgia, 1945-48), Barry Sanders (TB, Oklahoma State, 1986-88), Joe Theismann (QB, Notre Dame, 1968-70) and Roger Wehrli (DB, Missouri, 1966-68).

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