In case you were unaware, there is a football game tonight. The acclaimed Tim Ryan looked at the Top 10 Notre Dame players of the last 30 years. Here is a list of the Top 10 (er…11) from Alabama in the Post-Bear Bryant era. Apologies to John Hannah and Ozzie Newsome among others who came before 1982.
No. 10 (tie) John Copeland (1991-92) and Eric Curry (1989-92) They both played the same position, recorded the same number of sacks and received Consensus All-American honors in the same season. Hard to distinguish them. They spearheaded the 1992 defense which rivals 2011 as the best Alabama defense of all-time.
No. 9: Rolando McClain, LB (2007-09) McClain has not had the pro career expected of him. At Alabama, though, he was a fixture of Saban’s first Alabama title team in 2009 as a junior winning the Butkus award and SEC defensive player of the year while recording 14.5 tackles for loss.
No. 8: Bobby Humphrey, RB (1985-88) Humphrey amassed 3,000 total yards and 30 touchdowns in 1986 and 1987 before an injury cut short what was expected to be a Heisman run his senior year.
No. 7: Shaun Alexander, RB (1996-99) One might accuse him, in both college and the NFL, of reaping the benefits from the toil of really awesome linemen, but discounting more than 3,200 yards from scrimmage and 40 touchdowns his junior and senior year with the Tide would be difficult.
No. 6: Barrett Jones, OL (2009-12) Besides being, by all accounts, an outstanding human, Jones is on the brink of winning his third national title playing his third different position on the Alabama line. He has an Outland Trophy and a Rimington, not to mention a 4.0 GPA and some wicked Bama bangs.
No. 5: Mark Ingram, RB (2008-10) He won the Heisman in 2009. His 2010 defense was derailed by injury. 42 total touchdowns and averaged over 5 yards per carry each of his three seasons.
No. 4: Trent Richardson, RB (2009-11) Fastest guy on the field. Strongest guy in the weight room. Running backs are expendable, except Trent Richardson. He put up a monster season as the lead back in 2011, amassing more than 2,000 total yards and 24 touchdowns.
No. 3: Chris Samuels, OL (1996-99) Samuels is one of the most dominant lineman in college football history. He won the Outland Trophy as a senior. By most accounts he did not allow a sack through 42 starts. Beast.
No. 2: Cornelius Bennett, LB (1983-85) Bennett had 21.5 sacks for his career. He was a Lombardi award-winner, a three-time All-American and did that to Steve Beurlein. He was chosen Alabama’s Player of the 1980s ahead of Thomas.
No. 1: Derrick Thomas, LB (1986-88) Derrick Thomas has a strong case to be a member of an all-time team for just football. He had 52 sacks for his career. In 1988 alone he had 27 sacks and 39 tackles for loss. That’s just unbelievable. Incidentally, four of the top five from the 1989 Draft: Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas and Deion Sanders.
Head Coach: Saban. No real need to explain that one.
[Photo via Getty]