We continue our quest to name the greatest Alabama Crimson Tide football player of all time with a doozy this week. Until now, most of our matchups have been old school versus modern era. This week is the first pairing of players who both have seen the field at Alabama under Nick Saban. You can vote all weekend on this one, so vote, and then tell ten of your friends to vote too.
Bryant Division – Quarterbacks vs. Special Teams
AJ McCarron (2010-present)
Quarterback – Mobile, AL
Career Statistics: 66.7 % completion, 5956 passing yards, 49 TDs, 8 INT, 163.4 QB rating
McCarron’s legacy is still not complete, and that is why he is only a five seed in this tournament. However, his two championships speak for themselves, along with several records McCarron is on his way to breaking. He finished his junior season with the highest quarterback efficiency in the nation at 173.9. He broke Alabama season records in passing touchdowns and yards his junior year with 2,993 yards and 30 touchdowns.
McCarron’s ability to lead is not questionable. He has been a part of all Heisman lists for the last year and going into 2013. He was named to the AP third team All-American and second team All-SEC. He was a 2012 finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. McCarron has 24-2 (.923) as a starter at Alabama. In 2012, he held a streak of 291 pass attempts without throwing an interception; the second-longest streak in the history of the SEC.
Javier Arenas (2006-2009)
Defensive Back/Returner – Tampa, Florida
Career Statistics: 2,166 kickoff return yards (24.1 avg), 1,752 punt return yards (14.1 avg), 7 punt return touchdowns
Arenas was one of the most explosive players in Alabama history. His ability to make tacklers miss gave him a chance to score anytime he got the ball. He was an excellent defensive back, named a semi-finalist for the Thorpe award. But let’s focus on his ability as a return man. He holds all of the punt return records in Alabama history with 125 returns, 1,752 yards, and 7 touchdowns for his career. He also holds three of the top five records for most punt return yards in a season.
Arenas always gave Alabama a weapon that could swing the momentum and change an outcome of a game. Any time the Tide’s defense would make a stop, fans would stand in excitement for what could happen when Arenas caught that punt. The loudest recorded decibel level that Bryant-Denny has experienced was after Arenas returned a punt 61-yards in a game against LSU his sophomore season.
Which player advances to the next round?
- Javier Arenas (16%, 29 Votes)
- AJ McCarron (84%, 152 Votes)
Total Voters: 181