Woodrow Lowe To Be Saluted

You had to see Woodrow Lowe to believe him. He was the perfect blend of size, strength, speed, and football smarts to play linebacker. He played it for Alabama for four years, 1972-75, and was an All-America three of those seasons.

As much as there is to remember about Woodrow Lowe as an Alabama football player, there are events prior to his career and following his Bama playing days that are memorable.

Lowe was from Phenix City, just a few miles from Auburn, but he was recruited to Alabama by then-Tide Assistant Coach Pat Dye. Why didn't he go to Auburn?

"We had a flat tire," Lowe explained. "Whenever anyone asks me that, I tell them I had been invited to an Auburn football game and I was going over for the game with a Buddy. We had a flat tire, didn't have a spare, and had to hitchhike back to Phenix City to get help. I never made it to an Auburn game and never even met the Auburn coach who was supposed to be recruiting me."

Following his Bama career, Lowe was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the fifth round. When Alabama Coach Paul Bryant heard that Lowe had been a fifth-round choice, Bryant said, "That's like getting a fifty-dollar gold piece for fifty cents."

Lowe spent 12 years playing for the Chargers.

But it is what he did between that flat tire in 1971 and that NFL draft in 1976 that has Woodrow Lowe back in the Alabama spotlight this week.

Lowe will be honored with a National Football Foundation Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute Saturday when the Crimson Tide hosts Arkansas at Bryant-Denny Stadium. It is part of the festivities for Lowe, who will become the 21st Crimson Tide member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Throughout the season, players who are being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year return to campus for a special on-field event, where a commemorative plaque is presented to the university for permanent display.

Lowe provided a quick answer to a burning question of 1972. For the first time in a couple of decades, the NCAA was going to allow true freshmen to play varsity football. Would any freshmen be able to play? Lowe was a major contributor from his first game at Bama.

A three-time first team All-America, Lowe set an Alabama single-season record with 134 tackles his sophomore year, leading Bama to an undefeated regular season, a Sugar Bowl berth, and the UPI National Championship (which was based on regular season games only). He played on teams that won Southeastern Conference championships each of his four years, went to the Cotton, Orange and Sugar (twice) bowls, and had a record of 43-5. He was Bama captain as a senior.

NFF Chief Operating Officer Matthew Sign (the brother of former Alabama player Chris Sign) will take part in Saturday's presentation. The 2009 Hall of Fame class will be officially inducted on December 8 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

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