There have been only a handful of teams that have boasted the legacy, all-star power, and talent of the Alabama Crimson Tide. This team has been able to shine in its ability to have 115 All-Americans over the college’s lifetime. Nick Saban has churned out some quality running backs and QBs, but he’s really been known for his defensive stars. However, who would the top five defensive players be in all of history at the school?
First on the list of all time defensive backs is Defensive End Leroy Cook. Cook who would be drafted in the tenth round of the draft by the 1976 Cowboys found great success with the Tide. Among those successes were a two-time All-American (74 & 75) and Team Captain in 1975. In addition, Cook also held the most tackles for a loss at 27, career sacks at 15, and had set the record for most forced fumbles (10).
The next player to make this list is C.J. Mosley, a first round draft pick to his current team, the Baltimore Ravens. However, back at Alabama Mosley was part of the BCS national championship squad in 2013, as well as its BCS MVP. In addition, Mosley was also the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, as well as the receiver of the Butkiss award.
Another first round draft pick to the NFL was none other than, Rolando McClain. While within his Alabama career, Rolando was able to be a unanimous All-American selection, and be a BCS national champion in 2009. In addition, to those accolades, Rolando also managed to secure the Butkiss award and the Lambert trophy as well.
Our fourth player to make our best of all-time list is, Terrence Cody. Cody, who went second in the draft to the Baltimore Ravens, owes that to his time he spent with the Tide. In 2009, Cody was able to become a finalist for Bednarik, Lombardi, and Nagurski trophies, and this was the same year as making it to the SEC championship. Not only would he make it to the BCS championship in 2010, but he would also be a two time, unanimously selected member of the All-American team.
Finally, rounding out this top five list is, Mark Barron, and who thanks to his college career went first round in the draft to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Barron’s time at Safety was productive, as he would be selected as first-team All SEC for 2009-11, a first team All-American in 2010, and a unanimous All-American in 2011. All of this is impressive enough, however, and then we must include, Mark being part of the squad that won the SEC championship in 2009, and the BCS title in 2010 and 2012.
When I compare the previous top five of Leroy Cook, C.J. Mosley, Rolando, McClain, Terrence Cody, and Mark Barron to the current stars of Reggie Ragland, Eddie Jackson, Jonathan Allan, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and A’Shawn Robinson anyone can immediately tell why Crimson Tide is a force to be reckoned with this year. The bar of performance is set high thanks to the performances of Leroy Cook, because of this, it molded the performances of Mosley, McClain, Cody, Barron, and the current roster to perform as all-stars just to honor Cook’s collegiate memory.