3 Former Tiders On Hall Of Fame Ballot

Three former Alabama All-America football players are among 76 former players on the ballot for the 2012 National Football Foundation ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Former Alabama stars Paul Crane, Bobby Humphrey, and Derrick Thomas were selected for consideration.

Eight former college coaches are also in consideration.

Paul Crane, a native of Prichard, was a two-way starter at centr and linebacker for Coach Paul Bryant in the mid-1960s. The consensus first team All-America played on back-to-back national championship teams in 1964 and 1965 and was the 1965 Southeastern Conference Lineman of the Year.

Bobby Humphrey of Birmingham and Derrick Thomas of Miami both started his Alabama career under Coach Ray Perkins and completed it under Coach Bill Curry.

Humphrey, a running back, was first team All-America in 1987 as he led Bama to three consecutive bowl victories, two Sun Bowl wins and one Aloha Bowl championship. He was UPI Offensive Player of the Year in 1987. He had 4,958 career all-purpose yards and 40 touchdowns.

Thomas, who died from complications suffered in an automobile accident while in an All-Pro career for the Kansas City Chiefs, was a 1988 unanimous first team All-America linebacker and winner of the Butkus Award. He led the Tide to four consecutive bowl berths and was 1988 SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He set SEC records for sacks in a season (27) and finished his Bama career with 74 tackles for loss.

The ballot was mailed this week to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF's Honors Court, which deliberates and selects the class. Chaired by Gene Corrigan, a former ACC Commissioner and NCAA president, the 14-member NFF Honors Court includes an elite and geographically diverse pool of athletics directors, conference commissioners, Hall of Fame members, and members of the media.

The inductees will be announced on May 15 and inducted at the annual awards dinner on December 4.

To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been named a first team All-America by a major/national selector as recognized and utilized by the NCAA for their consensus All-America teams; played their last year of intercollegiate football at least ten years prior; played within the last 50 years, and cannot be currently playing professional football. Coaches must have coached a minimum of 10 years and 100 games as a head coach; won at least 60 per cent, of their games; and be retired from coaching for at least three years. If a coach is retired and over the age of 70, there is no waiting period. If he is over the age of 75, he is eligible as an active coach. In both cases, the candidate's post-football record as a citizen may also be weighed.

Additionally, the Veterans Committee may make recommendations to Honors Court for exceptions that allow for the induction of players who played more than 50 years ago.

The National Football Foundation points out that of the 4.86 million individuals who have played college football since Princeton first battled Rutgers on November 6, 1869, only 900 players have earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, or less than .0002 per cent of those who have played the game during the past 143 years. From the coaching ranks, 194 individuals have achieved Hall of Fame distinction.

There are 23 former Alabama players and/or coaches in the Hall of Fame. They are:

Cornelius Bennett, Johnny Mack Brown, Paul "Bear" Bryant, Johnny Cain, Harry Gilmer, John Hannah, Frank Howard, Dixie Howell, Pooley Hubert, Don Hutson, Lee Roy Jordan, Woodrow Lowe, Marty Lyons, Vaughn Mancha, Johnny Musso, Billy Neighbors, Ozzie Newsome, Fred Sington, Riley Smith, Gene Stallings, Frank Thomas, Wallace Wade, and Don Whitmire.

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