The first round pairings in our quest to crown the greatest Alabama Crimson Tide player of all time have been blowouts for the most part. This one, however, figures to be a lot closer, so your vote absolutely counts.
Saban Division – Running Backs v. Linebackers
Bobby Humphrey (1985-1988)
Running Back – Birmingham, Alabama
6’1’’, 200 lbs
Career Statistics: 3,420 Rushing Yards, 523 Receiving Yards, 40 Total TDs
The Post-Bryant era in the mid 80’s was certainly a transition period for Alabama football, but that era produced some of the best players in Alabama history; among them Bobby Humphrey. The running back from Birmingham played four years with the Crimson Tide, and achieved All-American honors in 1986 and 1987, and was chosen as the Offensive Player of the Decade.
In 1986, Humphrey set the Alabama all-time single-season rushing record with 1,471 yards from scrimmage as a sophomore. He followed up that season with an impressive year, racking up 1,255 yards, and would eventually set the school record for career rushing yards with 3,420.
He certainly would have shattered the record had it not been for a season-ending foot fracture his senior season. His record was broken by Shaun Alexander in 1999. Humphrey was selected first overall in the NFL’s supplemental draft by the Denver Broncos in 1989 and also played for the Miami Dolphins. Bobby Humphrey’s numbers speak for themselves, and he is perhaps one of the most underrated players in Alabama football history.
Dont’a Hightower (2008-2011)
Linebacker – Lewisberg, Tennessee
6’2’’, 270 lbs
Career Statistics: 235 Total Tackles, 4 Sacks, 2 INTs, 2 Fumble Recoveries
Dont’a Hightower helped head one of the best recruiting classes in the history of Alabama football. The massive linebacker from Tennessee signed with the Tide in 2008, and played on two national championship teams in his career. Hightower received Consensus All-America and First Team All-SEC Honors in 2011. He was also a Butkus, Lombardi and Bednarik award finalist.
As a freshman, Hightower’s talent was apparent; he was seen as Rolondo McClain’s protégé’ and eventual successor at the Mike linebacker position. He began to lead the defense in 2010, and anchored the best defense in the history of Alabama football in 2011, where he recorded 85 tackles and four sacks on the season. The Tide shut out the LSU Tigers in the BCS National Championship Game in his final game, 21-0.
Dont’a Hightower was one of four Crimson Tide players to be selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He was selected 25 overall by the New England Patriots. Hightower certainly deserves to be considered among the best linebackers in Alabama history for his run-stopping ability and overall football instincts.
Which player advances to the next round?
- Dont'a Hightower (43%, 54 Votes)
- Bobby Humphrey (57%, 73 Votes)
Total Voters: 127