Blakeney, Lucas, Thomas represent Troy on hall of fame ballot
Published 6:01 pm Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Troy is well represented on the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot as legendary head coach Larry Blakeney, the late Al Lucas and Freddie Thomas return to the ballot, which features 78 players and seven coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 99 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks.
To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been named a first team All-American by a major/national selector as recognized and utilized by the NCAA for their consensus All-America teams; played their last year of intercollegiate football at least 10 years prior; played within the last 50 years and cannot be currently playing professional football.
The announcement of the 2021 Class will be made in early 2021, with specific details to be announced in the future. Blakeney, who retired as Troy’s head coach following the 2014 season, was included on the ballot in his first year eligible. He led Troy to 178 wins over his 24 years as head coach and guided the Trojans from NCAA Division II status to the highest level of college football during his career.
The all-time winningest coach in Sun Belt Conference history, Blakeney earned four conference coach of the year honors (two Sun Belt and two Southland), led his team to eight conference championships in 16 seasons as a member of a conference, five bowls games and trips to the FCS Playoffs in seven of eight seasons. Blakeney coached 14 All-Americans during his career and 86 of his players earned first team all-conference honors.
A two-time All-American and the 1999 Buck Buchanan Award winner, Lucas was a true force on Troy’s defensive line during the late 1990s. A unanimous All-America selection following his senior year in 1999, Lucas finished the season with 129 tackles and 20 tackles for loss, which rank as the ninth and third most in a single-season in school history, respectively.
Lucas earned All-America honors as a junior after recording 65 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. The Trojans also used Lucas on offense in goal line situations and he rushed for nine touchdowns on 26 carries. Lucas, who played 20 games for the Carolina Panthers in the NFL, tragically passed away at the age of 26 from an injury suffered on April 10, 2005, in an AFL game. The AFL renamed its Hero Award to the Al Lucas Award, while the Maxwell Football Club has named its AFL Player of the Year award in his honor.
From walk-on to two-time All-American, Thomas is a true success story in the history of Troy Athletics. Simply known as “Bootsy”, Thomas earned Kodak All-America honors his junior season after recording 85 tackles, five interceptions, eight pass break ups and a blocked punt.
He parleyed his outstanding junior season into an even better senior campaign where he was named captain of the 1987 NCAA Division II National Championship squad.
Thomas was a Consensus All-American that season as he finished with 85 tackles and an interception from his safety position.
Thomas currently ranks 12th all-time in Troy history with 11 career interceptions, while checking in at 18th in total tackles and 20th in assisted tackles.