Founded in 1831, the University of Alabama took its time developing a football program, but the school has certainly made up for it since then. The university’s first football team took the field in 1892, quickly amassing wins and becoming noticed nationwide when they defeated the University of Pennsylvania in 1922. The 1925 season saw Wallace Wade coach the team to an undefeated and untied season, which was followed by a Rose Bowl invitation, where the Crimson Tide came from behind to clinch the win over Washington.
Alabama has also rolled to a total of 16 national championships (the most in the SEC), six of those under head coach Bear Bryant. Alabama has two Heisman Trophy winners – Mark Ingram in 2009 and Derrick Henry in 2015 – but they’ve sent tons of players into the NFL, many of whom have made an impressive mark. Pro Football Hall of Famers who spent time as part of the Crimson Tide include Don Hutson, Bart Starr, Joe Namath, John Hannah, Dwight Stephenson, Ozzie Newsome, Derrick Thomas and Ken Stabler.
Considering Alabama’s long, storied (and championship-filled) history, it’s not a shocker to say there are plenty of former Crimson Tide players in the NFL today. Let’s take a look to see which current NFL players have spent time on the field at Alabama.
There are tons of standout players currently in the NFL who were once part of the Crimson Tide. Julio Jones, wideout for the Atlanta Falcons, is one such player. Before he was drafted by the Falcons in 2011 (No. 6 overall), he was a national champion with the Crimson Tide and contributed to Alabama on a large scale, amassing over 2,600 receiving yards during his time there. As an NFL player, he’s continued pulling his weight, becoming the 2015 reception yards leader with 1,871 yards, being selected for the Pro Bowl four times, and reaching the championship game after the 2016 NFL season.
His college teammate, Mark Ingram, has also enjoyed success after leaving Alabama for the NFL. Ingram was on that national championship team with Jones at Alabama, and won the Heisman Trophy that same season. The running back was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2011 draft, which is where he remains today. He’s been to one Pro Bowl in 2014 and reached above 1,000 yards in 2016.
Dont’a Hightower is another former Crimson Tide player who has found great success in the NFL. Hightower was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2012, and he’s a solid presence in their linebacker corps. He’s been selected to the Pro Bowl once, and he’s got two rings – so far.
These three players are certainly not the only stars to come out of Alabama. Consider Amari Cooper, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Eddie Lacy, and Derrick Henry – all set to make an impression for their respective NFL teams.
It’s easy to be a college football fan if you love the Crimson Tide. If you’re looking for some amazing Alabama swag for the next game day, or you’re looking for killer birthday gifts, go no further than Fanatics (you can also find authentic NFL gear so you can cheer on your favorite Alabama alums).