Alabama Football: Top Ten wide receivers in Crimson Tide history

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: DeVonta Smith
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No. 7 – David Bailey (1969-1971)

The sure-handed David Bailey was a prototypical possession receiver in the last years before Bear Bryant converted to the wishbone. Bailey caught 111 passes in 1969 and 1970, for 1,571 yards. As a senior co-Captain in 1971, he would have put up similar numbers and reached the Tide’s top five in career receiving yards. The Tide’s new wishbone offense in 1971 used the pass sparingly, resulting in only 21 receptions for Bailey in his last season.

His Crimson Tide career totals for receptions and receiving yards place him at No. 7 and No. 8 on the all-time Alabama football list.

No. 6 – Calvin Ridley (2015-2017)

Calvin Ridley exploded on the Alabama football scene with 89 receptions in 2015. That freshman season was the most productive of his college career. Most Alabama football fans acknowledge Calvin was capable of much higher career numbers. As the Tide’s passing offense struggled in 2015 and 2016, Calvin’s production went down.

Even so, Ridley finished at No. 2 in Alabama football history with 224 career receptions. He is No. 2 on the career TD receptions list with 19. he finished No. 3 in career receiving yards with 2,781 yards.

No. 5 – Ozzie Newsome (1974-1977)

By the mid-1970s a potent passing game had been integrated into the Alabama football wishbone offense. The number of passes was still less than traditional offenses but the Tide loved the long ball in the last Bryant championship era.

Long before he became an NFL GM with the Baltimore Ravens and before he was a tight end for the Cleveland Browns, he was an Alabama football wide receiver. With only 102 career catches in the wishbone-era, Newsome only reaches No. 12 on the Tide’s career receptions list. Yet, the ‘Wizard of Oz’ is No. 5 on the Tide’s career TD reception list.

For added perspective, consider the following comparison. D.J. Hall had 17 TD catches from 194 career receptions. Ozzie had 102 career receptions and 16 TD catches. The difference was the long ball. Newsome is No. 1 in Alabama football history (minimum 100 career receptions) with an average per catch of 20.3 yards.

Newsome was a consensus All-American in 1977. Ozzie had great college and professional careers. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.