KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee will celebrate one of its most feared defensive players during the South Carolina game on Oct. 9. No time has been set yet for the game. Al Wilson was inducted in January into the College Football Hall of Fame.

The linebacker from Jackson, Tennessee, played 42 games for the Vols racking up 272 tackles, including 27 for loss and 11 sacks. He also forced eight fumbles and had two interceptions. Wilson was a force for the 1998 BCS national championship team and was named first-team All-SEC and first-team All-American that season. He was also a first-team All-SEC selection in 1997.

He will be the 25th Tennessee Volunteer enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame and the first since Peyton Manning in 2017. Tennessee’s 25 inductees are the most of any SEC school and the sixth most in the nation.

“I am so proud of Al Wilson being selected into the College Football Hall of Fame,” said Phillip Fulmer, a 2012 College Football Hall of Fame inductee and Wilson’s former coach. “He is so deserving, not only for the passion and effort he played with but for his leadership as captain of our 1998 national championship team.  

“Al was the epitome of a competitor. He knew the importance of preparation to be great, and he influenced others to follow his lead during the offseason, spring practice, summer workouts and certainly through the fall of that wonderful 1998 season. He was the ultimate teammate and respected by everyone for his dedication, hard work, love of the game and physical play. He found a way to connect personally with everyone on the team on and off the field.”

Wilson had some of his best games against South Carolina. In 1995, he recorded seven tackles and an interception against Gamecocks. As a sophomore, he had nine tackles and a sack against South Carolina in 1996. He tallied eight tackles against them in 1998.

Wilson is one of 13 inductees, two coaches and 11 players, in the Hall of Fame Class of 2021.

2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class

  • Harris Barton – OT, North Carolina (1983-86)
  • David Fulcher – DB, Arizona State (1983-85)
  • Rudy Hubbard – Head Coach, Florida A&M (1974-85)
  • Dan Morgan – LB, Miami (Fla.) (1997-2000)
  • Carson Palmer – QB, Southern Cal (1998-2002)
  • Tony Romo – QB, Eastern Illinois (1999-2002)
  • Kenneth Sims – DT, Texas (1978-81)
  • C.J. Spiller – RB/KR, Clemson (2006-09)
  • Darren Sproles – RB, Kansas State (2001-04)
  • Bob Stoops – Head Coach, Oklahoma (1999-2016)
  • Aaron Taylor – OT, Notre Dame (1990-93)
  • Andre Tippett – DE, Iowa (1979-81)
  • Al Wilson – LB, Tennessee (1995-98)