SEC football series will reveal all-time best players for Tide, Bulldogs, Vols

Times Free Press unveiling five greatest for each during sports-short month of May

University of Alabama photo / John Hannah, who played at Baylor School before becoming an All-American at Alabama in 1971-72, won the Jacobs Trophy as the Southeastern Conference's top blocker in 1972.
University of Alabama photo / John Hannah, who played at Baylor School before becoming an All-American at Alabama in 1971-72, won the Jacobs Trophy as the Southeastern Conference's top blocker in 1972.

Perhaps a friendlier outlook amid this COVID-19 pandemic will be provided within the next few weeks, but May 2020 could go down as the most desolate sports month of our lives.

As of right now, we are looking at four NASCAR Cup Series races from May 17 to May 27, with the first two in Darlington, South Carolina, and the second two in Concord, North Carolina. None of those four will have spectators, including the protracted Coca-Cola 600 on May 24.

Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods are expected to challenge Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson in an 18-hole competition at some point later this month, and that pretty much sums up May's live sports calendar in this country.

April obviously wasn't much better, though the NFL's three-day draft certainly delivered, while June is scheduled to provide resumptions of the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and MLS, with the possibilities of the NBA, NHL and MLB being back or close to returning as well.

photo University of Georgia photo / Georgia's Charley Trippi (62) was the SEC's first Maxwell Award winner in 1946, with Frank Sinkwich (21) having won the SEC's first Heisman Trophy in 1942.

Until then, who's ready for some college football?

While many in the sports world are responding to ESPN's "The Last Dance" documentary by incessantly regurgitating the MJ versus LeBron debate, the Times Free Press this month is going to provide you the top five players in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee gridiron history.

It will be based on one simple guideline: college credentials and college credentials alone.

Former Alabama two-time All-American John Hannah was nearly a decade into his career with the New England Patriots when he graced the Sports Illustrated cover on Aug. 3, 1981, with the accompanying headline "The Best Offensive Lineman of All Time." Hannah is in the discussion as one of Alabama's top five all-time players, but Barrett Jones also was a two-time All-American offensive lineman for the Crimson Tide, though he played just two NFL seasons.

Georgia has four players who have reached the Pro Football Hall of Fame - Champ Bailey, Terrell Davis, Fran Tarkenton and Charley Trippi - yet none of them were named Herschel.

photo Tennessee athletics photo / Former Howard School standout Reggie White racked up 24 tackles for loss and 15 sacks as a Tennessee senior in 1983, with his sack total setting a single-season record for the Volunteers that still remains.

Alabama's top-five countdown begins Monday and runs through Friday. It will be followed by a Georgia countdown from May 11-15 and a Tennessee countdown from May 18-22.

Hopefully this can help us get through most of May. If not, there's always another airing of "Bohemian Rhapsody" on HBO.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.



No. 5: Barrett Jones set SEC standard with versatility up front

No. 4: Tua Tagovailoa set NCAA career efficiency mark in limited time

No. 3: Ozzie Newsome was top player during top decade of SEC dominance

No. 2: Cornelius Bennett was first linebacker voted SEC player of year

No. 1: Derrick Thomas set sack standards that may never be topped


No. 5: Versatile Frank Sinkwich became SEC's first Heisman winner in 1942

No. 4: David Pollack's play against South Carolina ignited three-time All-America career

No. 3: Bill Stanfill savored 'pounding' Steve Spurrier-led Gators

No. 2: Charley Trippi set multiple SEC records weeks after completing military service

No. 1: Herschel Walker had best three-year run in college football history


No. 5: Fuad Reveiz set records while helping save the Johnny Majors era

No. 4: Three-time All-American Bob Suffridge was 30-0 in regular-season games

No. 3: Johnny Majors is program's only two-time SEC player of the year

No. 2: Peyton Manning went out as SEC champion, NCAA all-time wins leader

No. 1: Reggie White more than 'ministered' to team's defensive needs

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