Bennett was a four-year letterman for the Crimson Tide from 1983-86 under head coach Ray Perkins and was a teammate of current Alabama head football coach Mike Shula. Bennett and Shula were elected permanent captains following the 1986 season.
He becomes the 20th Crimson Tide player to be selected into this prestigious annual class. He joins Bama greats such as Paul "Bear" Bryant, John Hannah, Frank Howard, Lee Roy Jordan, Johnny Musso, and Ozzie Newsome, players which have made their way into the Hall of Fame, which is located in South Bend, Indiana.
"My entire college career was a dream come true," Bennett said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon. "I have to tip my hat to my teammates and coaches at The University of Alabama for making me the player that I was. I had a great career in professional football, too. My coaches and teammates at Alabama are responsible for a lot of my successes."
As a senior, Bennett was named the winner of the Lombardi Trophy, given annually to college football's top lineman, He was also named the SEC Player of the Year and was seventh in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Bennett posted 61 tackles as a senior, including nine TFLs (-27) and 10 sacks (-78).
In his four year career with the Crimson Tide, the Birmingham, Ala. native was a three-time First Team All-American (1984, 1985, and 1986) and was a unanimous pick as a senior in 1986. Bennett is best remembered for his "sack" against Notre Dame quarterback Steve Buerlein and played a key part in the Tide's 28-10 win over the Fighting Irish, the school's first and only win over Notre Dame.
"My senior year was very special and we had a great senior class," Bennett said. "The Notre Dame game was the highlight and still one of the most talked about games. There are people today that still come up to me and want to talk about the sack."
In 1985, Bennett was the Defensive Player of the Game in the Aloha Bowl, which Alabama won 24-3 over the USC Trojans in Honolulu, Hawaii. The very next year, after helping hold Washington to only six points in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, he was named Defensive Player of the Game in Alabama's 28-6 victory over the Huskies.
Bennett combined for 287 tackles in his Alabama career, also collecting 15 sacks, 10 of which came in 1986.
Bennett was named Alabama's Player of the Decade for the 1980's, and also earned a spot on The Crimson Tide's Team of the Century which was announced in 1992.
Selected second overall in the 1987 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, Bennett went on to enjoy a stellar NFL career which lasted 14 seasons. He went on to play in five Super Bowls, four as a member of the Buffalo Bills in 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994, and one as a member of the Atlanta Falcons in 1999.
Cornelius Bennett's Alabama Stats
Year Tackles TBL - Yds Sacks - Yds FC FR
1983 73 6-22 0-0 2 1
1984 102 4-39 1-7 1 1
1985 51 4-14 4-39 2 1
1986 61 9-27 10-78 1 0
Totals 287 23-102 215-124 6 3