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Top 10 Alabama running backs of all-time

Former Alabama running back Eddie Lacy (No. 42) scores a TD against Notre Dame in 2013 BCS title game: Cedric Mason- TDAL Magazine

Eighty-three days separate the world from the return of college football and while most analysts would revert to preseason lists or Vegas odds, we here at Touchdown Alabama Magazine are going to take you down memory lane. Today, we begin a series called “top 10 of all-time,” where we look at each position in Alabama football and rank the best 10 guys to ever play in that role.

Wide receivers, linebackers and defensive linemen have notably become ideal positions for the Crimson Tide to recruit, nevertheless, it still knows how special a “do it all” running back is. It’s had its fair share of talented backs from Paul Bryant’s era (1958-82) to present with Nick Saban.

Listed below is a breakdown of the top 10 running back (all-time) in Alabama history.

10. Derrick Lassic (1989-92)

  • He played under coaches Bill Curry and Eugene “Gene” Stallings.
  • Career stats (scrimmage): 386 plays, 2,029 yards, 14 touchdowns
  • Career stats (rushing): 1,696 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns, 349 carries
  • Best season: 1992—192 plays, 1,034 yards from scrimmage, 11 total touchdowns
  • Lassic was a member on the 1992 SEC championship team and national title team.

9. Sherman Williams (1991-94)

  • Williams spent all four seasons under Gene Stallings at Alabama.
  • He played two years with Derrick Lassic (1991-92), until he left for the National Football League after the 1992 season. The pair combined for 18 rushing touchdowns that season.
  • Career stats (scrimmage): 571 plays, 2,910 yards, 29 touchdowns
  • Career stats (rushing): 2,486 rushing yards, 27 touchdowns, 535 attempts
  • Best season: 1994—310 plays, 1.556 yards from scrimmage, 10 total touchdowns
  • Williams was credited with eight rushing touchdowns as a sophomore during Alabama’s national championship run in 1992.

8. Major Ogilvie (1977-80)

  • Ogilvie represented the final wave of national champions under Paul Bryant.
  • Career stats (scrimmage): 311 plays, 1,772 yards, 26 touchdowns
  • Career stats (rushing): 299 carries, 1,718 yards, 25 touchdowns
  • He totaled at least 500 rushing yards in 1978 (583) and 1979 (512).
  • Ogilvie was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
  • He earned two conference championships and two national champions in 1978-79.

7. Bobby Humphrey (1985-88)

  • Humphrey was coached by Ray Perkins (1985-86) and then Bill Curry (1987-88) during his time at Alabama.
  • Career stats (scrimmage): 675 plays, 4,958 yards, 40 touchdowns
  • Career stats (rushing): 615 carries, 3,420 yards, 33 touchdowns
  • He earned All-American honors as a sophomore in 1986, after setting the school’s single season rushing mark with 1,471 yards on 236 carries.
  • Humphrey was named UPI’s Offensive Player of the Year in 1987, as he recorded 1,255 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on 238 attempts.
  • He appeared in four bowl games, while helping Alabama win three of them.
  • Humphrey has been added to the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame ballot.
  • Humphrey’s son, Marlon, played cornerback on the Tide’s 2015 national title team.

 6. Johnny Musso (1969-71) 

  • Musso “Italian Stallion” was one of three fan favorites at running back under Paul Bryant, joining Major Ogilvie and Tony Nathan (1975-78).
  • Career stats (scrimmage): 635 plays, 3,236 yards, 38 touchdowns
  • Career stats (rushing): 574 carries, 2,741 yards, 34 touchdowns
  • He obtained a 1,000-yard season in both 1970 and 1971.
  • Best season: 1971—191 carries, 1,088 yards, 16 touchdowns
  • Musso appeared in three bowl games and guided Alabama to an SEC title in 1971.
  • He stands eighth in school history in rushing yards and seventh in touchdowns.

 5. Eddie Lacy (2009-12) 

  • Lacy enrolled at Alabama in 2009, as part of Nick Saban’s second No. 1 recruiting class to start his tenure. He redshirted his freshman year, but would become a standout player.
  • Career stats (scrimmage): 390 plays, 2,740 yards, 32 touchdowns
  • Career stats (rushing): 355 attempts, 2,402 yards, 30 touchdowns
  • He earned the nickname “circle button” after developing a patented spin move, which he used to avoid going down after first contact.
  • Best season: 2012—204 carries, 1,322 yards, 17 touchdowns
  • Lacy amassed 181 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the 2012 Southeastern Conference Championship Game against Georgia in 2012, earning him most valuable player honors. Alabama would go on to win its 23rd conference title by a score of 32-28.
  • He ended the 2013 BCS national title game with MVP honors, after totaling 140 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Notre Dame. The Crimson Tide won the game, 42-14.
  • Lacy was a member of two SEC championship teams and three national title teams.
  • His 30 rushing touchdowns placed him eighth all-time in school history (career).

 4. T.J. Yeldon (2012-14) 

  • Yeldon was regarded as a five-star prospect when he came to Alabama in 2012.
  • He, like Lacy, enrolled in a top-ranked recruiting class (fourth under Saban).
  • Career stats (scrimmage): 622 plays, 3,816 yards, 39 touchdowns
  • Career stats (rushing): 576 attempts, 3,322 yards, 37 touchdowns
  • He was one of the more taller backs in Tide history at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds.
  • Yeldon recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2012 and 2013.
  • He tied the school’s freshman record for touchdowns (12) in 2012.
  • Best season: 2013—207 carries, 1,235 yards, 14 touchdowns
  • He was named first-team All-SEC for his efforts in 2013.
  • Yeldon earned two SEC championship rings and a national title ring in 2012.
  • He stands fifth all-time in rushing yards and fourth in touchdowns (school history).

 3. Shaun Alexander (1995-99) 

  • Alexander accepted a scholarship to Alabama from Gene Stallings, but would play under Mike DuBose from 1997-99.
  • He was the first Kentucky native to play running back for the Crimson Tide.
  • Career stats (scrimmage): 789 plays, 4,363 yards, 49 touchdowns
  • Career stats (rushing): 727 carries, 3,565 yards, 41 touchdowns
  • He had a breakout year as a redshirt freshman in 1996.
  • Alexander would put in 291 rushing yards against LSU in the Tide’s 26-0 win over the Tigers in the 1996 season. His output remains as the school’s single-game record.
  • Best season: 1999—302 carries, 1,383 yards, 19 touchdowns
  • His 1,383 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns in 1999 helped Alabama secure a 10-3 record, earning it an SEC championship and a trip to the 2000 FedEx Orange Bowl.
  • He finished seventh overall in the 1999 Heisman Trophy voting.
  • Alexander left Alabama with 15 school records, including 3,565 career rushing yards.

 2. Mark Ingram (2008-10) & Trent Richardson (2009-11) 

  • The duo came to Alabama at a time when the program needed a spark.
  • Ingram and Richardson signed in back-to-back No. 1 classes in 2008 and 2009.
  • For Ingram, he totaled 632 plays from scrimmage for 3,931 yards and 46 touchdowns, while Richardson chimed in with 608 plays for 3,860 yards and 42 touchdowns (career).
  • Both players finished their careers with over 3,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards.
  • Ingram’s best season came in 2009, when he brought in 1,658 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on 271 carries. Richardson would obtain his finest performance two years later, as he racked up 1,679 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns on 283 attempts in 2011.
  • The combination of Ingram and Richardson earned Alabama its first SEC championship and BCS national title of the Saban regime, during the 2009 season.
  • Longhorns’ head coach Mack Brown is probably still having nightmares about these two, as both Ingram and Richardson totaled 100 yards and two touchdowns for Alabama against Texas in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game (Alabama 37, Texas 21).
  • Ingram was named a consensus All-American and became the first player in school history to win the Heisman Memorial Trophy in 2009.
  • Richardson’s 1,679 yards in 2011 set the school’s single season rushing mark, until Derrick Henry surpassed it in 2015 with 2,219 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns on 395 carries.
  • He finished 2011 as a consensus All-American and third place in the Heisman voting.
  • While Ingram finished with one national championship, Richardson would grab a second one in 2011. The Tide faced LSU in a rematch after losing 9-6 in the regular season “Game of the Century.” Richardson’s 96 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 carries helped Alabama secure a 21-0 victory and its 14th national championship in its history.

 1. Derrick Henry (2013-15) 

  • Henry arrived on campus in 2013 as a part of Saban’s fifth No. 1 recruiting class.
  • Alabama signed four talented running backs in 2013, but Henry became the lone one to win a national championship.
  • His uniform changed three times, nevertheless, his style of play remained aggressive.
  • Career stats (scrimmage): 619 plays, 3,876 yards, 45 touchdowns
  • Career stats (rushing): 602 carries, 3,591 yards, 28 touchdowns
  • Henry was the most physically imposing back in school history (6-foot-3, 247 pounds).
  • He is one of few backs in Tide history that had to carry an offense to the finish line.
  • Henry achieved his first 1,000-yard season in 2015, while become the first back in SEC history to total 2,000 rushing yards in a single season (2,219 yards, 28 touchdowns).
  • He accounted for back-to-back 100-yard outings in two SEC title games (2014, 2015).
  • Henry had a string of 20 consecutive games in which he scored a rushing touchdown.
  • His 271-yard rushing performance against Auburn broke Bo Jackson mark in 1983 (253), and put Henry at No. 3 all-time in school history for most yards in a single game.
  • He ended his Alabama career with an average of six yards per carry.
  • Henry swept the College Football Awards in 2015, winning Maxwell, Doak Walker and Walter Camp honors. He became the second Tide player to win the Heisman Trophy.
  • He was named a consensus All-American in 2015.
  • Henry left with two conference titles, a national championship and multiple school records, including 3,591 career rushing yards and 42 total touchdowns (tied for first).

Guys that missed the cut, but were awesome at Alabama

Tony Nathan (1975-78)

Kerry Goode (1983-87)

Kenneth Darby (2003-06)

Glenn Coffee (2005, 2007-08)

Kenyan Drake (2012-15)

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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