68 Days Away from Bama Kickoff: Alvin Samples and George Wilson
Each day counting down to Alabama's Week 1 matchup with Utah State, I will highlight one former player whose jersey number coincides with the amount of days until the game. Today, we've got a two-for-one special, taking a look back at the incredible careers of Alvin Samples and George Wilson.
Alvin Samples, born in Tarrant, AL, joined the Crimson Tide in 1967 and was one of the the program's last true two-way players. In four seasons at Tarrant High School, Samples played in all three phases of the game, blocking as an offensive lineman, stuffing running lanes as a linebacker and even handling extra point and field goal duties as a kicker.
As a freshman and sophomore, Samples didn't see the field much, but in his junior and senior seasons, the Tarrant native was named an All-SEC selection. Samples also took home All-American honors in his senior year, playing both linebacker and guard for the Crimson Tide.
Any fans who remember Samples will likely recall his impressive performance in Alabama's 1969 faceoff with an Archie Manning led Ole Miss Rebels team. Samples made several key plays on both sides of the ball, keeping a scorching hot Manning at bay when it mattered most and helping his offense secure the victory, 33-32.
Samples is one of just a few players to don the No. 68 in program history, but certainly not the only memorable one.
George Wilson joined the Crimson Tide in 1989 and was a captain of the 1992 national championship team. Born to a former Alabama running back, Butch Wilson (1959-62), the Bessemer, AL native played on Alabama's offensive line.
Growing up on a farm, Wilson was an avid hunter throughout his childhood and into his time at Alabama. Just before his sophomore season though, Wilson's affinity for hunting would lead him to an unfortunate accident in which the lineman accidentally fired a shotgun into his left foot, severely damaging it.
Told he may never walk without a limp again, Wilson trudged on and returned to playing form. In a 1992 interview, Wilson told reporter Ken Delinger the extent of the damage on his foot, saying, "When people look at it, all they think I'm missing is my big toe. Actually, I'm also missing the bottom of my foot."
Despite his injury, Wilson helped lead the Tide to an 13-0 record his final season, culminating with a massive upset win for over the first ranked Miami Hurricanes in the 1993 Sugar Bowl.