Alabama Football: Will 2017 Tide dominate more top opposing players?

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 17: Denard Robinson
ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 17: Denard Robinson /
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Former Alabama football opposing player, Taylor Lewan
ANN ARBOR, MI – AUGUST 31: Taylor Lewan /

Alabama football is known for imposing its will on opponents. Can the 2017 Tide again dominate some of college football’s top players?

This week Sports Illustrated published a list of the Top Ten Defensive Players for 2017. Alabama football is represented by Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Two 2017 Alabama football opponents had a total of three players on the list. FSU has Derwin James and Tarvares McFadden. LSU is represented by Arden Key.

Here is the full list:

  1. Ed Oliver; DT; Sophomore; Houston
  2. Derwin James; S; Sophomore; FSU
  3. Minkah Fitzpatrick; DB; Junior; Alabama
  4. Harold Landry; DL; Senior; Boston College
  5. Arden Key; LB; Junior; LSU
  6. Rashan Gary; DE; Sophomore; Michigan
  7. Iman Marshall; CB; Junior; USC
  8. Tarvares McFadden; CB; Junior; FSU
  9. Dexter Lawrence; DT; Sophomore; Clemson
  10. Malik Jefferson; LB; Junior; Texas

The full story with player profiles can be found at

No doubt the list is made up of great college football players. They may or may not be the ten best in 2017. It is difficult to measure them against each other because of disparity in quality of opponents.

Ed Oliver was impressive for Houston last season. He recorded 65 tackles, with five sacks. Then again, Lamar, Cincinnati, Texas State, Connecticut, Navy, Tulsa, SMU, UCF, Tulane and Memphis afforded Oliver a big opportunity to shine in 2016.

From an Alabama football perspective, I remain unconvinced Oliver, Landry or Gary are better than Da’Ron Payne. I’m not sure Dexter Lawrence is either though Lawrence is a tremendous player. Payne’s key Alabama role by design does not earn him big stats.

Rather than quibbling over a preseason list, let’s look back at other great college football players who were dominated by Alabama football. The players listed below were All-Americans, NFL First Round picks and based upon conventional media wisdom, all of these players were too good to be dominated by any team.

Against Alabama football, the conventional media wisdom was wrong.