Hootie Ingram (1952-54): Ingram occupies a dubious distinction: He’s the only Alabama player to lead the nation in an individual statistical category who, oddly, was not named to an All-America team in that same year. During his sophomore season in 1952, Ingram snagged an NCAA-best 10 interceptions, setting a school record which remains a target for Alabama defensive backs.
Wilbur Jackson (1971-73): Jackson, Alabama’s first African-American scholarship player, started his career as a receiver, but Paul “Bear” Bryant could see that his skills were better suited for the backfield. One stat alone attests to his standing as one of the greatest running backs in school history: His astounding 7.2 yard career rushing average.
Tony Nathan (1975-78): Because he came along at a time when the Crimson Tide’s powerful and deep wishbone attack routinely shuttled runners in and out, Nathan never accumulated huge numbers. In his senior year of 1978, he carried the ball just 111 times for a team-leading 770 yards. But Nathan—who went on to a nine-year career with the Miami Dolphins—was one of the most powerful and explosive runners in Alabama history.
Major Ogilvie (1977-80): Ogilvie was a determined runner and a ferocious competitor who played a significant role in Alabama’s consecutive national championships in 1978-79. Like so many other leading backs of the era, he often played only a half or less before Bryant started substituting, artificially limiting his statistics. But Ogilvie, the MVP of the 1980 Sugar Bowl and the 1981 Cotton Bowl, owns an important place in the college football history books: He became the first player to score a touchdown in four consecutive New Year’s Day bowl games.
Tyrone Prothro (2003-05): One of the most gifted receivers ever to suit up in Tuscaloosa, Prothro earned his place in Alabama lore with his acrobatic catch from Brodie Croyle in a 2005 victory over Southern Mississippi. He seemed destined to become one of the most honored receivers in Bama history. But three weeks after The Catch, he suffered a broken leg during the latter stages of a big victory over Florida, prematurely ending his career.
Bart Starr (1952-55): After an impressive sophomore season—when he approached Harry Gilmer’s record for passing yards while leading the Crimson Tide to a Cotton Bowl berth—Starr missed most of the 1954 campaign with a severe back injury. Then J.B. “Ears” Whitworth took over the Alabama program and completely squandered one of the greatest quarterbacks in football history. Starr, who would later lead the Green Bay Packers to five NFL championships, was benched in his season year of 1955 by the inept Whitworth, seeing action only in mop up duty as the Tide struggled to a miserable 0-10 season.
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