It’s one of the most exciting positions in college football, but has it become devalued? In the past, running backs were counted on to run the ball. Nowadays, they are called upon to block, catch and run. With the spread offense evolving, running backs have to specialize in multiple areas to maintain value.
In the 80s and 90s, teams could get by with having one back do everything. At the time, offenses were predicated on running the ball. Running backs would see 25-30 carries a game. Now, football has become a pass happy league. With injuries occurring to backs each season, more teams are starting to adopt a two and three backs system.
Regardless of the assumption, Alabama continues to recruit the best running backs in college football. From Bobby Humphrey to Mark Ingram, the Crimson Tide has kept a stable of backs to keep pressure off its passing game. Here is a list of the top 10 best running backs in Crimson Tide history.
Top 10 Running Backs
10. Major Ogilvie (1977-80)
- For his career, Ogilvie totaled 1,718 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns.
- His best seasons were from 1978-80.
- In 1978, Ogilvie rushed for 583 yards and eight touchdowns.
- As a junior, he recorded 512 yards rushing and nine touchdowns.
- In 1980, Ogilvie had 439 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.
- Under head coach Paul Bryant, Ogilvie was a two-time national champion (1978-79).
9. Dennis Riddle (1994-97)
- For his career, Riddle recorded 2,645 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns.
- He had 72 receptions for 554 yards and four touchdowns.
- His finest seasons were in 1995-96.
- In 1995, Riddle totaled 969 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.
- As a junior, he had 1,153 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns.
- Riddle caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Freddie Kitchen in the 1996 Iron Bowl. Alabama beat Auburn 24-23.
- He helped Alabama notch a 12-1 season in 1994 and a 10-3 season in 1996.
- Riddle tossed one touchdown pass in his career.
8. Wilbur Jackson (1971-73)
- For his career, Jackson rushed for 1, 529 yards and 17 touchdowns.
- His best season was in 1973.
- In 1973, Jackson recorded 752 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.
- He had 138 yards rushing (27.6 yards per carry) off five carries against Virginia Tech in 1973.
- Jackson holds Alabama’s school record for most yards per carry average (7.2).
- He was the first African-American offered a football scholarship to the University of Alabama.
- Jackson guided the Tide to an 11-1 record in 1971 and 1973.
- He won a national title with the Tide in 1973.
- Jackson was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
7. Siran Stacy (1989-91)
- For his career, Jackson amassed 2,106 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns.
- He had 52 catches for 574 yards and a touchdown.
- His most prolific season was in 1989.
- In his freshman year, Stacy totaled 1,079 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns.
- Stacy won an SEC title with Alabama in 1989.
6. Johnny Musso (1969-71)
- In his career, Musso had 2,741 yards rushing and 34 touchdowns.
- He recorded 61 receptions for 495 yards and four touchdowns.
- His best seasons were in 1970-71.
- In 1970, Musso rushed for 1,137 yards and eight touchdowns.
- As a senior, he had 1,088 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns.
- Musso led the Tide to an 11-1 record in 1971.
- He tossed two touchdown passes in 1970.
- Musso was a consensus All-American in 1971.
- He finished 4th in the Heisman voting in 1971.
5. Eddie Lacy (2009-12)
- In his career, Lacy amassed 2,359 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns.
- His finest season was in 2012.
- In his senior year, Lacy had 1,322 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns.
- He totaled 181 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the 2012 SEC Championship Game.
- Lacy put in 140 rushing yards and two total touchdowns in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game.
- He was known at Alabama for his patented spin move.
- Lacy was a two-time SEC champion (2009, 2012).
- He was a three-time BCS champion (2009, 2011 and 2012 seasons).
- Lacy was the SEC Championship Game MVP in 2012.
- He was the national title game MVP in 2013.
4. Bobby Humphrey (1986-89)
- For his career, Humphrey totaled 3,420 yards rushing (school record at the time).
- He had 60 catches for 523 yards and 40 total touchdowns.
- In 1986, Humphrey recorded 1,471 yards rushing.
- Humphrey won an SEC title with Alabama in 1989.
- He went to four straight bowl games as a member of the Tide.
3. Trent Richardson (2009-11)
- In his tenure at Alabama, Richardson had 3,130 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns.
- Richardson amassed 64 receptions for 730 yards and seven touchdowns.
- His most prolific season came in 2011.
- In his junior year, Richardson totaled 1,679 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns.
- He had 109 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game against Texas.
- Richardson totaled 96 yards and a touchdown in Alabama’s 21-0 victory over LSU in the 2012 BCS title game.
- He was an SEC champion in 2009.
- Richardson was a two-time BCS champion (2009 and 2011 seasons).
- He was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year (2011).
- Richardson was an All-American in 2011.
- He won the Doak Walker Award in 2011.
- Richardson finished 3rd in the Heisman voting in 2011.
2. Mark Ingram, Jr. (2008-11)
- For his career, Ingram rushed for 3,261 yards and 42 touchdowns.
- He had 60 receptions for 670 yards and four touchdowns.
- Ingram’s best season was in 2009.
- In 2009, he totaled 1,658 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns.
- He set the freshman record with 12 touchdowns in 2008.
- Ingram was an SEC champion in 2009.
- He was a BCS national champion ( 2009 season).
- Ingram collected numerous awards in 2009, including SEC Offensive Player of the Year, unanimous All-American, Sporting News Player of the Year and the Heisman Trophy.
- 1. Shaun Alexander (1996-99)
- In his tenure at Alabama, Alexander recorded 3,565 yards and 41 touchdowns.
- He had 62 catches for 798 yards and eight touchdowns.
- Alexander’s finest seasons were in 1998 and 1999.
- In 1998, he amassed 1,178 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns.
- Alexander put in 1,383 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns in 1999.
- He made three bowl appearances with the Tide (1996, 1998 and 1999).
- Alexander led Alabama to the 2000 FedEx Orange Bowl Game against Michigan.
- He finished 7th in the Heisman voting in 1999.
- His 3,565 rushing yards is still a school record.
Honorable Mentions: Johnny Cain, Derrick Lassic, Kenneth Darby, Glenn Coffee and Johnny Mack Brown.