Alabama Football: The 5 Most Underappreciated Players in School History
There are quite a few Alabama Crimson Tide players that have not made it into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Some haven't made it because they are not yet eligible, and others have not made it simply because there were better players on the field at the same time who have already been honored.
The following five players from Alabama all raise the same question: Why isn't he in the CFB Hall of Fame?
Kenny Stabler (QB, 1965-1967)
From his 28-3-2 record as a starter to his famous "Run in the Mud," Stabler was an impact player at the Capstone.
Stabler was the starting quarterback during the 1965 championship run that saw the Tide take down Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to finish the season 9-1-1. (He would lead the Tide to a perfect season in 1966, but the Tide were not selected as national champions.)
Stabler was selected to the Tide's All-Century Team in 1992.
Underappreciated by Tide fans? Not at all. Underappreciated by the Hall of Fame voters? Absolutely.
Van Tiffin (K, 1983-1986)
Van Tiffin was selected to the Tide's All-Century Team as the kicker. Tiffin never missed a PAT during his four-year tenure at the Capstone and pulled a stunning game-winner against Auburn in 1985 from 52 yards deep.
Tiffin became the kicker by which all other Tide kickers would be judged. No other kicker has surpassed him in Tide lore, though his son certainly gave him a run for his money.
Underappreciated by Tiders? Again, no. Underappreciated by the Hall of Fame voters? Again, yes.
Dwight Stephenson (C, 1977-1979)
Dwight Stephenson appears on the Tide's Team of the Century as the center. He also appears on the Quarter-Century All-SEC Team (1961-1985).
He went on to become one of the premier centers in NFL history after his career at Alabama, proving that his career at the Capstone was not a fluke as he earned a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Why isn't he in the College Football Hall of Fame? That's a very good question.
Derrick Thomas (LB, 1985-1988)
Derrick Thomas was a Butkus Award winner and unanimous All-American in 1988.
Thomas earned the nickname "Sackman" by registering 52 career sacks at the Capstone, which is still the record in Tuscaloosa. (Second place is held by Kindal Moorehead with 25.)
Thomas was one of the best linebackers ever at the Capstone, and is being grossly underappreciated by being left out of the Hall of Fame—at least he was left out last year.
The good news is his presence on this list may be very short-lived, as he is on the ballot this year (according to the Washington Times).
W.T. "Bully" Van De Graaff (OT, 1912-1915)
Van de Graaff has the ball.
As Alabama's first-ever All-American in 1915, Van de Graaff is the only player on this list that is underappreciated by Tide fans.
It's one thing to be the Tide's first All-American, it's another phenomenon entirely to be selected as an All-American during an era when southern football was considered a joke.
Fans will always remember the 1925 and 1926 stories that put southern football on the map.
Astoundingly, Van de Graaff earned respect from those who felt southern players didn't deserve any in the first place, and this was before YouTube and Verizon.
Van de Graaff may be the most underappreciated Tider of all time.