Tennessee football great Al Wilson was officially inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame Tuesday night. The linebacker was one of 13 members in the 2021 induction class and is the 22nd former Tennessee player to earn the honor.
Wilson came to Knoxville in the class of 1995 as the No. 1 high school prospect in the state of Tennessee. The Jackson native played in 12 games as a freshman recording 25 tackles but broke out in his sophomore season, recording 87 tackles including a 13 tackle performance against Georgia.
The inside linebacker earned Second Team All-SEC honors while helping lead the Vols to their first SEC championship in seven years during the 1997 campaign before earning First Team All-SEC and All-American honors in 1998.
Despite being a great player, Wilson earned the reputation of being a better leader than player. The eight-year NFL veteran is the first player from the 1998 team to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“It means the world to me,” Wilson said Tuesday. “Just as a player, to have an opportunity to represent my teammates. It’s an emotional thing too because at the end of the day it’s a team sport. We do it as a team so I told my teammates that this award has my name on it, but it represents us as a team. To be a part of something like that and to be the representative for that team, one of the most amazing feelings I can imagine, but also it’s humbling and something I take as great pride.”
Tennessee honored Wilson this season by have a #27 patch at the 25-yard lines and by bringing the all time great back for a Hall of Fame ceremony at the South Carolina game.
Before the game, Wilson led the Vols down Peyton Manning Pass and Phillip Fulmer Way for the Vol Walk.
Wilson is the 25th coach or player from Tennessee inducted into the Hall of Fame. That mark leads the SEC and is sixth nationally.