June 20, 2024

Top 10 Players in Tennessee Football History – No. 8

Adam Milliken continues his top 10 countdown of the greatest football players in Tennessee history No. 8.

Photo by the Tennessee Journalist.

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Al Wilson

Linebacker, 1995-1998

Aldra Kauwa “Al” Wilson is a legend in Volunteers’ football lore. Not only was he a dominant presence on the field, he was also an unquestioned leader and the quarterback of an incredible defense.

Wilson contributed in a significant way as a freshman despite not starting, but his legend really began in earnest during his sophomore season.

He had become a starting linebacker and quickly established himself as a leader on the team. Wilson was a guy who inspired others to work harder, made the people around him better, and was a passionate player. These qualities, along with his production on the field, made him one of the best linebackers in the country.

Between his sophomore and junior seasons, Wilson tallied 170 tackles and six sacks.

While becoming one of the very best at a particular position is enough for some individuals, Wilson did not stop there.

He capped off his collegiate career with a stellar 1998 campaign. He registered 77 tackles, four sacks, and an interception. His numbers do not tell the whole story. In 1998, the Vols had championship aspirations despite the departure of legendary quarterback Peyton Manning to the NFL. Wilson stepped up and became the constant driving force that steered the ship through the entire season. His most notable performance came against Tennessee’s arch-nemesis Florida, recording 12 tackles and a program single-game record three forced fumbles.

That season, due in large part because of Wilson’s excellence on the field and as a leader, Tennessee captured its first National Championship in over three decades.

Wilson also went on to have success in the NFL. He was drafted No. 31 overall in the 1999 draft by the Denver Broncos, spending all eight of his NFL years in the Mile High City. He finished his career with over 700 tackles, 21.5 sacks, and eight forced fumbles.

During his time with Tennessee, Wilson was a first-team All-SEC player in 1997 and 1998. He was also a consensus first-team All-American in 1998.

In the NFL, Wilson was selected for five Pro Bowls. He was a first-team All-Pro in 2005, and a second-team All-Pro in 2006.

Photo by the Tennessee Journalist

Edited by David Bradford

Adam is the Assistant Sports Editor for the Tennessee Journalist and a Junior at UT. Most of his free time is spent watching sports, listening to good music, and enjoying life. If you wish to contact him, you can email him at amillike@vols.utk.edu, follow him on Twitter, @AdamMilliken14, or find him at https://www.linkedin.com/pub/adam-milliken/109/a89/a32.