Last night did not go quite as planned for Alabama fans, as their beloved Crimson Tide fell to the Clemson Tigers 35-31, in one of the most thrilling National Championship games of all time. Fortunately for Bama supporters, they’ll probably be back here next year because they keep bringing in top talent year in and year out, so keep your chins up.
Although the Tide may have lost, sophomore running back Bo Scarbrough had his coming out party this year by rushing for 812 yards and 11 touchdowns, putting him on the shortlist for next year’s favorite to win the Heisman. If he does end up winning the Heisman next year, he’d have to be considered one of the all-time greatest running backs in the history of Alabama.
Although Scarbrough has a ways to go, his success has me wondering: Who are the five best running backs in the history of Alabama football? Naturally, I went ahead and ranked who I feel are the five best to ever play at the running back position for the Crimson Tide:
5. Bobby Humphrey (1985-88)
Born: Birmingham, Alabama
Weight: 201 lbs
If it wasn’t for a foot injury that cut his senior season short, Humphrey could have very well been the first Heisman Trophy winner in the school’s history. After a freshman season where he averaged 5.0 yards a carry, Humphrey had very strong showings in his sophomore and junior seasons. His freshman season was followed up by a stellar sophomore season where he rushed for 1,471 yards and 15 touchdowns, and then 1,255 yards and 11 touchdowns his junior season. Humphrey left Alabama as the school’s all-time leading rusher.
Career Stats: 3,420 yards rushing, 33 TD; 523 yards receiving, 7 TD
4. Trent Richardson (2009-11)
Born: Pensacola, Florida
Weight: 229 lbs
No, Trent Richardson was not a good NFL player, like at all, but while he was running for the Tide he was DAMN good. Richardson had big shoes to fill as he took over the starting running back role for Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, and he surely did not disappoint. Although he got a fair amount of playing time his freshman and sophomore seasons as the second back behind Ingram, Richardson took college football by storm his junior season as he rushed for 1,679 yards to go along with 21 touchdowns. He won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back, was a Unanimous All American, and finished third in the Heisman voting. Not to mention he also left school as a two-time National Champion. Too bad his NFL career didn’t pan out.
Career Stats: 3,130 yards rushing, 35 TD; 730 yards receiving, 7 TD
3. Shaun Alexander (1996-99)
Born: Florence, Kentucky
Weight: 228 lbs
I really only knew Alexander as one of the best running backs in the NFL when he played for the Seattle Seahawks, but little did I know he was awesome when he was running wild for Alabama. After he was relatively quiet his first two seasons for the Crimson Tide, Alexander’s final two seasons at Alabama were something special. As a junior, he ran for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns, followed up by an even better senior season where he went for 1,383 yards and 19 touchdowns, and was first-team All-SEC. Unlike the aforementioned Trent Richardson, Alexander went on to have a pretty great NFL career, including being named the 2005 MVP of the league.
Career Stats: 3,565 yards rushing, 41 TD; 789 yards receiving, 8 TD
2. Derrick Henry (2013-15)
Born: Yulee, Florida
Weight: 247 lbs
You could make the argument that Henry should be ranked #1 on this list, but he’s coming in at the #2 spot, which is nothing to be ashamed of by any means. Although he only had one season where he ran for over 1,000 yards, Henry did more than just that in his junior and final season at Alabama, during which he rushed an astonishing 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns, to go along with numerous awards including becoming the second Heisman Trophy winner in the school’s history. To top it all off, Henry helped lead the Crimson Tide to a victory in the 2015 National Championship Game against Clemson and left as the school’s all-time leading rusher.
Career Stats: 3,591 yards rushing, 42 TD; 285 yards receiving, 3 TD
1. Mark Ingram (2008-10)
Born: Hackensack, New Jersey
Weight: 215 lbs
I think it’s only fitting that the first Heisman Trophy winner in school history (which is crazy to think that Alabama didn’t have a Heisman winner until 2009) is the best back in school history. Ingram had a strong freshman season at Alabama scoring 12 touchdowns, and he followed that up with a sophomore season that included 1,678 rushing yards, 17 touchdowns, a Heisman Trophy, and a National Championship. His numbers during his junior and final season dipped a little as he missed the first two games after undergoing minor knee surgery, but he still ran for 875 yards and 13 touchdowns. Needless to say, Ingram set the bar pretty high for future Alabama running backs to come.
Career Stats: 3,261 yards rushing, 42 TD; 670 yards receiving, 4 TD