Alabama Football: 10 greatest quarterback-receiver duos of all time

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports /
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Alabama Football
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 4 Alabama Quarterback-Receiver Duo

  • A.J. McCarron and Amari Cooper – 2012 and 2013 Seasons

As quarterback of the defending National Champion, McCarron was the leader of the Crimson Tide’s 2012 offense. His 2011 sophomore season was a sold 2,634 passing yards and 16 touchdowns. McCarron was better in the 2012 and 2013 seasons and Amari Cooper was a big reason why.

A.J.McCarron was a three-season starter at quarterback for the Crimson Tide. It was a period when the Crimson Tide’s power football strategy was run-heavy, wearing down opposing defenses. Even with a run-reliant offense, Nick Saban sought balance through the Tide’s passing game.

Play-action passes were a core component of the offense and McCarron had great accuracy on the long ball. In his junior and senior seasons of 2012 and 2013, A.J. completed over 67% of his passes. In the two seasons, he passed for 5,096 yards and 58 touchdowns.

In the 2012 season, the Crimson Tide had many receiving options in Kevin Norwood, Kenny Bell, and Christion Jones, along with running backs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon. The best Tide receiver that season was freshman, Amari Cooper. In 2012, Cooper caught 59 passes for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. As a sophomore in the 2023 season, playing in three fewer games, Cooper caught 45 passes for 736 yards and four touchdowns.

What happened with Amari Cooper in 2014, in a Lane Kiffin-directed Crimson Tide offense, should have surprised no one. He set the SEC record for the most receptions in a single season with 124.

It should also be noted McCarron and Marquis Maze put up impressive numbers in the 2011 season.