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Alabama Crimson Tide: Top 5 Full Backs of All-Time

Like offensive linemen, fullbacks don’t receive a lot of recognition from the press. Many of them aren’t awarded the ball often, but fullbacks play a significant role in an offense’s success.

A fullback’s responsibility is to guide a running back. Fullbacks can either led running backs into the hole or set an edge outside. When a fullback does its job correctly; it’s then rewarded with carries on goal line situations or a reception out the backfield.

Unlike running backs and receivers, Alabama doesn’t recruit many fullbacks. The ones that landed a spot at Alabama really put in work and produced on the gridiron. Here is a list of the top five fullbacks in Alabama history.

Top 5 Fullbacks

5. Steve Whitman (1977-79)

  • Whitman was one of three fullbacks that blossomed in the latter years of Paul Bryant.
  • He recorded 1,126 yards rushing and six touchdowns in his career.
  • Whitman’s best season was in 1979.
  • In 1979, he totaled 653 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
  • With Alabama, Whitman was a three-time SEC Champion (1977-79).
  • He was a three-time Sugar Bowl Champion (1977-79) and a two-time national champion (1978-79) with the Crimson Tide.

4. Billy Jackson (1978-80)

  • After Johnny Davis, Jackson took the reins at fullback for Alabama.
  • He rushed for 1,404 yards and seven touchdowns in his career.
  • Jackson’s most prolific season came in 1980.
  • He amassed 606 rushing yards and five touchdowns in 1980.
  • As a receiver, Jackson totaled 108 yards and one touchdown.
  • He was a two-time SEC Champion (1978-79).
  • Jackson was a two-time Sugar Bowl Champion (1978-79).
  • He won two national titles with Alabama in 1978 and 1979.
  • The Kansas City Chiefs selected Jackson with the 180th pick (seventh round) in the 1981 NFL Draft.
  • In four seasons (1981-84), Jackson totaled 1,365 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns.

3. Martin Houston (1989-92)

  • Under Billy Curry and Gene Stallings, Houston was productive at fullback.
  • He had 1,042 yards rushing and five touchdowns for his career.
  • 1992 was Houston’s best season, yards wise (457).
  • He recorded 144 yards receiving in his career.
  • Houston helped Alabama become SEC Co-champions in 1989.
  • He was an SEC Western Division Champion and SEC Champion in 1992.
  • Houston won a national title with Alabama (1992 season).
  • He made four bowl appearances with the Tide.
  • Currently, Houston is a sports radio personality. He and Baron Huber host the Houston and Huber Show on Tide 99.1.

2. Le’Ron McClain (2003-06)

  • Under Mike Shula, McClain was a great blocker and displayed good hands as a receiver.
  • In 85 plays, McClain totaled 575 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career.
  • He had two rushing scores, but caught eight touchdown passes.
  • McClain recorded 405 yards receiving at Alabama.
  • He made three bowl appearances with the Tide, including the 2006 Cotton Bowl Classic. Alabama defeat Texas Tech 13-10 in the contest.
  • McClain was selected in the fourth round (137th pick) of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens.
  • In 2008, he rushed for a team-high 902 yards and 10 touchdowns.
  • In four seasons (2007-10), McClain made two playoff appearances with the Ravens.
  • He played two seasons (2012-13) with the San Diego Chargers and made the playoffs in 2013.
  • McClain has totaled 1,310 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in his career.
  • He’s recorded 557 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
  • McClain was a two-time Pro Bowler (2008, 2009).
  • He made NFL All-Pro twice (2008, 2009).

1B. Kevin Turner (1988-91)

  • Turner was a versatile fullback under Bill Curry and Gene Stallings.
  • 1991 was his best season rushing.
  • Turner totaled 430 yards and three touchdowns in 1991.
  • He recorded 1,018 rushing yards and six touchdowns in his career.
  • Tuner amassed 95 receptions for 928 yards and five touchdowns.
  • He was an SEC Co-Champion in 1989.
  • Turner made four bowl appearances with Alabama.
  • The New England Patriots selected Turner with the 71st pick (third round) in the 1992 NFL Draft.
  • In three seasons (1992-94), Turner rushed for 302 yards and a touchdown with New England.
  • He collected 856 receiving yards and six touchdowns with the Patriots.
  • Turner spent his next five NFL seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • He had 1,159 receiving yards and four touchdowns from 1995-99 (Philadelphia).
  • Turner ended his eight-year career with 2,015 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.
  • He collected 635 yards rushing and a touchdown.
  • Turner made one playoff appearance with New England (1994).
  • He made two playoff appearances with Philadelphia (1995, 1996).

1. Johnny Davis (1974-77)

  • Davis was the best fullback in the 70s under Paul Bryant.
  • He led Alabama in rushing in three of four seasons.
  • 1975 and 1976 were Davis’s best seasons.
  • In 1975, he rushed for 820 yards and seven touchdowns.
  • Davis recorded 668 yards rushing and seven touchdowns in 1976.
  • He finished his career with 19 rushing touchdowns.
  • Davis’s 2,519 career rushing yards ranks him 9th all-time.
  • He was a two-time All-SEC selection (1975, 1977).
  • Davis won the Dixie Howell Memorial MVP Award in 1975.
  • He was three-time SEC Champion (1974, 1975 and 1977).
  • Davis won a Sugar Bowl title with Alabama in 1977.
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Davis with the 30th pick (second round) in the 1978 NFL Draft.
  • He played 10 seasons (1978-87) in the NFL with Tampa Bay, Cleveland and San Francisco.
  • Davis’s best season was in 1981 with the 49ers.
  • He totaled seven touchdowns and accomplished a Super Bowl title.
  • Davis helped San Francisco win Super Bowl XVI against Cincinnati 26-21.
  • For his career, Davis had 1,094 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.

Honorable Mentions:

Tarrant Lynch (1990-94)

  • Under Gene Stallings, Lynch was a polished fullback.
  • He totaled 859 rushing yards and five touchdowns in his career.
  • Lynch excelled in catching passes out the backfield.
  • He collected 518 yards receiving and two touchdowns in his career.
  • Lynch was a three-time SEC West Division Champion (1992, 1993 and 1994).
  • He was an SEC Champion in 1992.
  • Lynch was a member of the 1993 national championship team.

Baron Huber (2006-09)

  • He was the first fullback on the field for Alabama in 2008.
  • Under Nick Saban, Huber helped the Crimson Tide’s running game average 184.6 yards per game (third in the SEC) in 2008.
  • He was a staple for Alabama on special teams (kickoff unit).
  • Huber made four bowl appearances with Alabama, including the 2009 Sugar Bowl.
  • He was a member of the 2009 national championship team.
  • Huber won the Derrick Thomas Community Service Award in 2009.
  • He and Martin Houston now host a sports show on Tide 99.1 called Houston and Huber.

Jalston Fowler (2010-present)

  • Fowler is an exceptional blocker with good hands.
  • He’s totaled 669 yards rushing and five touchdowns in his career.
  • 2011 was Fowler’s best season rushing (385 yards rushing, four touchdowns).
  • He caught five touchdowns in 2013.
  • Fowler has made four bowl appearances with Alabama.
  • He won an SEC title in 2012.
  • Fowler is a two-time national champion (2011 and 2012 seasons).
  • If Fowler can stay healthy, he will be very special.

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