It’s time for the first matchup in the BamaHammer Players Championship, our quest to determine the greatest Alabama Crimson Tide football player of all time. The brackets are set, and it’s time for you to vote. We’ll feature a different pairing in each of our posts, working our way through the first round.
Stallings Division – Defensive Line vs. Offensive Line
John Hannah (1970-1972)
Offensive Guard – Albertville, Ala.
6′ 3″, 273 lbs
Hailed as the “greatest lineman I ever coached” by former Alabama head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, Hannah was named All-American in both 1971 and in 1972, when he was a unanimous selection. Hannah was also named All-SEC in those years and took home the Jacobs Trophy in 1972 as the best blocker in the SEC.
In those seasons, Hannah helped lead the way to two of the most potent rushing attacks in Alabama history when the Tide averaged 324.1 and 308.4 yards per game, respectively. They scored a team record 46 rushing touchdowns during the 1971 campaign.
There is little doubt that Hannah left his mark during his three-year career at the Capstone. Since his playing days in Tuscaloosa, Hannah received recognition for his time with the Crimson Tide that few others can match.
He is a member of the Alabama 1970s All-Decade Team as well as the All-Century Team. In 1989, ESPN named him to their all-time college football team, and in 1999, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Robert Stewart (1987-1991)
Nose Tackle – Ashford, Ala.
6′ 0″, 270 lbs
Career: 144 tackles (16 for loss), 10 sacks
After finishing the 1991 season with 59 tackles (8 for loss) and 6 sacks, Robert Stewart was named All-SEC and All-American for the 11-1 Crimson Tide that finished the season No. 5 in the polls.
Stewart proved to be a versatile player during his Alabama career, where in addition to playing nose tackle, he also played some linebacker as well as fullback on offense. In 1991, he helped anchor a defense that allowed only four rushing touchdowns all season.
Unheralded and undersized, it is no secret that Stewart is a forgotten man lost in Alabama’s rich and storied history. Stewart missed the 1988 and 1989 seasons due to injuries, before returned to have his All-American year in ’91. In that season, he played alongside two future consensus All-Americans – defensive ends John Copeland and Eric Curry – who overshadowed him in both their size and with their national championship title the following year.
Alabama is a program that prides itself on its rich tradition, history, and of course, its 15 national championships. With so many championships to its name, the players and teams without titles tend to be forgotten, including the good ones, like Stewart and the 1991 team.
It is through no fault of his own that he was riddled with injuries and played at the university at a “bad time.” Stewart deserves at least a little more credit than he gets.
Which player advances to the next round?
- Robert Stewart (8) (6%, 11 Votes)
- John Hannah (1) (94%, 174 Votes)
Total Voters: 184