Two all-time greats head this class of all-stars. The low rated LB from Miami was the “real-deal-steal.” Derrick Thomas was a 2-time All-American and All-SEC selection. He also won the Dick Butkus Award in 1988 for the nation’s best LB. The other all-time great is RB Bobby Humphrey, BAMA’s all-time career rushing leader. He was a 2-time All-American and All-SEC selection. Another 2-time All-American and All-SEC selection from this class was OL Larry Rose. DB Kermit Kendrick had an outstanding career and made All-American in 1988. He also was a 2-time All-SEC selection. Two other players making All-SEC during their careers were TE Howard Cross and RB Murry Hill. Another unique occurrence from this class was how to rate a JC signee for a career of only two years. JC WR Albert Bell was a 2-time All-SEC selection. I felt JC players are signed for an immediate contribution due to a significant need on the team. After I determined what a JC signee should accomplish IMO, I gave Bell a “5” rating for his career. I have continued using that rational for rating JC signees and believe it’s fair. Other players contributing solid careers were WR Marco Battle, LB Vantriese Davis, and LB Greg Gilbert. Another famous player from this class was highly rated RB Gene Jelks. He is best known for his negative relationship with the University, but was a talented RB who suffered a severe knee injury. He came back as a DB but lost so much physical ability from the injury and lack of rehabilitation, he never reached all-star or NFL status.
This class was the first of two consecutive that produced a significant number of impact players. The following class of 1986 is the other. This class was a part of the 10-3 team in 1986 and 9-3 team in 1988. Also, on the 1987 7-5 team under first year coach Bill Curry. The 5th year players were seniors on the 1989 10-2 SEC Championship team that made a run at an undefeated season and the National Championship before losing their last two games.