We’ve got some interesting matchups remaining in our quest to crown the greatest Alabama Crimson Tide football player of all time, and this pairing could go either way.
Bryant Division – Quarterbacks vs. Special Teams
Harry Gilmer (1944-1947)
Quarterback – Birmingham, AL
Career Statistics: 2894 passing yards, 1673 rushing yards, 52 total touchdowns
This could end up being an unfair matchup to anyone going against Gilmer. He could’ve been put in any one of these divisions because of his ability to play anywhere on the field. From punting to kick returning, quarterback to defensive back and halfback to kicker, he did it all. His ability to lead the Tide is what puts him in the history books as one of the greatest Alabama quarterbacks of all time.
Gilmer was a key part of putting Alabama on the national college football scene after World War II. His best season came in 1945, where he guided Alabama to a perfect season. He threw for 905 yards with 13 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. He added on rushing for 552 yards and 9 touchdowns. He capped off the year with a 34-14 victory over USC in the Rose Bowl.
Gilmer was voted All-SEC player of the year in 1945 and finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting. His collegiate career ended in 1947 where he finished fifth again in the voting. He is now third on the list for total career touchdowns in Alabama history.
Jeff Rutledge (1976-1978)
Quarterback – Birmingham, Alabama
Career Statistics: 56.8% completion, 3351 Passing Yards, 30 passing TDs, 584 rushing yards, 11 rushing TDs
Jeff Rutledge, like many great Alabama quarterbacks, may not have one of the greatest stat lines in the history of the game. His career numbers are being put up in one year by quarterbacks now. However, it’s Rutledge’s leadership and ability to win games that makes him worthy of the BamaHammer Players Championship.
Rutledge came to Tuscaloosa already having two championships from high school under his belt. He finished his career at Alabama with a 33-5 record, capping it off with a third straight SEC championship and a national championship in 1978. He was a captain of that national championship team for coach Bear Bryant. Rutledge’s ability to run the wishbone offense to perfection made him a great leader to the team.
Rutledge was named to 2nd team All-SEC his junior and senior seasons. He followed in his brother Gary’s footsteps to Alabama as a starting quarterback and a national champion.
Which player advances to the next round?
- Jeff Rutledge (30%, 12 Votes)
- Harry Gilmer (70%, 28 Votes)
Total Voters: 40