Alabama Crimson Tide: Mark Ingram

Ultimate 300: SEC's top classes 

January, 30, 2014
Jan 30
10:30
AM ET

The SEC has dominated the recruiting world over the past several years. Since 2008, the SEC has had at least three schools finish in the top 10 of the ESPN recruiting class rankings each year. Last year, the conference had an impressive six schools ranked among the top 10 recruiting classes in the country. This year is much of the same, as seven SEC schools are ranked in the top 10.

Here’s a closer look at the five best recruiting SEC schools in the Ultimate ESPN 300.

SEC all-BCS-era team

January, 13, 2014
Jan 13
10:30
AM ET
It’s time to celebrate the best of the best in the SEC during the BCS era.

So what we’ve done is taken on the monumental task of selecting an All-SEC team from the BCS era, which officially ended last Monday with Florida State’s 34-31 victory over Auburn in the VIZIO BCS National Championship.

To be eligible, a player had to have played at least one season in the SEC at any time between 1998 and 2013. More weight was given to those players who had longer careers and displayed consistency over the course of their careers.

Before the second-guessing commences, there were some spectacular players -- even a few players who won national awards such as the Heisman Trophy -- that were left off this team.

Nonetheless, it’s one star-studded team.

Here’s a look:

OFFENSE

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY SportsTim Tebow accounted for more touchdowns than any player in SEC history.
QB -- Tim Tebow, Florida: A tough call at quarterback, but Tebow had a hand in two national championships, won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and accounted for more touchdowns (145) than anybody in league history.

RB -- Mark Ingram, Alabama: In 2009, Ingram became the first Alabama player to win the Heisman Trophy with a 1,658-yard rushing season. He rushed for 42 career touchdowns, breaking Shaun Alexander's school record.

RB -- Darren McFadden, Arkansas: A two-time winner of the Doak Walker Award, McFadden averaged 120.8 rushing yards per game for his career, second only to Herschel Walker and Emmitt Smith in the SEC.

WR -- A.J. Green, Georgia: He combined speed, size and incredible body control to haul in 23 touchdown catches in 31 career games. Green caught more than 50 passes in each season from 2008 to 2010.

WR -- Josh Reed, LSU: The Biletnikoff Award winner as the top receiver in the country in 2001, Reed hauled in 17 touchdown catches in his last two seasons. He set the SEC single-season record in 2001 with 1,740 receiving yards.

TE -- Jason Witten, Tennessee: It’s hard to beat Witten in any era as both a receiving and blocking tight end. He had seven career touchdown catches, including five during his All-SEC junior season in 2002.

AP -- Percy Harvin, Florida: Harvin was Mr. Everything for the Gators on their 2008 national championship team and a two-time All-American. He finished his career with 32 touchdowns (19 rushing and 13 receiving).

OL -- Shawn Andrews, Arkansas: Andrews is the last player to win the Jacobs Award as the SEC’s top blocker in back-to-back seasons (2002 and 2003). The Hogs’ massive offensive tackle was a consensus All-American in both of those seasons.

OL -- Barrett Jones, Alabama: Jones was a part of three national championship teams at Alabama and started at every position on the line but left guard during his career. He won the Rimington Trophy in 2012 as the country’s top center and won the Outland Trophy a year earlier as the Tide’s left tackle.

OL -- Marcus McNeill, Auburn: A two-time All-America selection at offensive tackle, McNeil paved the way for the Tigers' explosive rushing attack and was a huge part of their unbeaten 2004 SEC championship team.

OL -- Chris Samuels, Alabama: The Crimson Tide have been stocked with menacing offensive linemen during their storied history, and Samuels is right there near the top. The big offensive tackle won the Jacobs Award and Outland Trophy in 1999 and helped lead Alabama to an SEC title.

C -- Maurkice Pouncey, Florida: Also a standout guard earlier in his career, Pouncey gravitated to center and won the Rimington Award in 2009 as the nation’s top center. He was a devastating blocker and made 40 starts in 41 career games.

DEFENSE

DL -- Glenn Dorsey, LSU: The most decorated SEC defensive tackle of the BCS era, Dorsey won the Outland Trophy and both the Lombardi and Nagurski awards in 2007. He was the centerpiece of that LSU national championship defense in 2007.

DL -- John Henderson, Tennessee: A two-time All-American, Henderson is one of just five defensive players in the BCS era to win the Outland Trophy (2000) as college football’s most outstanding interior lineman.

[+] Enlarge Jadaveon Clowney
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesJadaveon Clowney had 24 sacks in three seasons at South Carolina.
DL -- Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina: Even though his numbers dipped this season, Clowney remains one of the most disruptive defensive ends to play in the SEC during the BCS era. He finished with 47 tackles for loss, including 24 sacks, in 36 career games.

DL -- David Pollack, Georgia: Pollack joined Herschel Walker as Georgia’s only three-time, first-team All-Americans. He racked up a school-record 36 sacks from his defensive end position and was a two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year in helping the Bulldogs win the 2002 SEC title, their first in 20 years.

LB -- C.J. Mosley, Alabama: Mosley is the only player in the Nick Saban era at Alabama to have back-to-back 100-tackle seasons and was a part of two national championship teams. He was terrific in coverage and an even better tackler.

LB -- Patrick Willis, Ole Miss: Before he found stardom in the NFL, Willis terrorized the SEC and won the Butkus Award in 2006 as college football’s top linebacker. He was a tackling machine for the Rebels and the quintessential middle linebacker.

LB -- Al Wilson, Tennessee: The heart and soul of Tennessee's 1998 national championship team, Wilson was a playmaking machine at middle linebacker for the Vols. He was a two-time All-SEC selection and consensus All-American his senior season.

CB -- Champ Bailey, Georgia: One of the most versatile players in SEC history, Bailey participated in more than 1,000 plays during the 1998 season and won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s best defensive player.

CB -- Patrick Peterson, LSU: No matter where Peterson lined up, he was the most explosive player on the field. As a cornerback, few were better. He won the Thorpe and Bednarik awards in 2010 and scored touchdowns three different ways during his career: punt return (two), interception return and return of a blocked field goal.

S -- Mark Barron, Alabama: The Crimson Tide’s 2011 national championship defense was dripping with talent, but Barron might have been the best of the bunch. He was a three-time All-SEC selection and two-time All-American.

S -- Eric Berry, Tennessee: Berry was as good in coverage as he was blowing up ball carriers. He won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2009 as the top defensive back in the country and was a finalist the previous year. He finished with 14 career interceptions.

SPECIAL TEAMS

PK -- Billy Bennett, Georgia: Bennett is the SEC record holder with 87 made field goals from 2000 to 2003. Bennett was equally accurate, connecting on 79 percent of his kicks.

P -- Dustin Colquitt, Tennessee: A finalist for the Ray Guy Award in both 2002 and 2003, Colquitt averaged 43.1 yards a punt during his career. As a junior in 2003, he had 19 punts of 50 yards or longer and 21 punts downed inside the 20-yard line.

RS -- Derek Abney, Kentucky: His eight career returns for touchdowns (six punts and two kickoffs) are an SEC record, and six of those came during one season (2002). Abney set seven NCAA records, 11 SEC records and 14 school records.

All-Saban Team RB debate

March, 5, 2013
3/05/13
5:25
PM ET
TideNation's Alex Scarborough released his All-Saban squad earlier today, highlighting the best players to suit up for Alabama during the Nick Saban era. Almost immediately, fans keyed in on the running back pick as Scarborough went with current back T.J. Yeldon over former Heisman winner Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, both of whom are starring in the NFL.

So who is the fans' pick to occupy that spot? Check out the tweets below for a sampling of what TideNation had to say on the debate. Tweet @TideNationESPN to give us your RB pick or give us feedback on any of the other positions.

Alabama Class of 2009 review 

January, 24, 2013
1/24/13
6:00
AM ET
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- As it turned out, 2008 was just the beginning. Alabama's 2009 signing class was one step ahead for Nick Saban and the coaching staff as it finished No. 2 in the country, highlighted by the likes of Dre Kirkpatrick, Trent Richardson, AJ McCarron and Eddie Lacy.

[+] EnlargeChance Warmack
AP Photo/Dave MartinTrent Richardson and AJ McCarron get the headlines, but Chance Warmack became an All-American player from the 2009 class.
But those were just the headliners. Like many of the recruiting classes to come in the years since, the 2009 class was solid top to bottom. Chance Warmack, Anthony Steen and James Carpenter were all ranked in the second half of the class. Kevin Norwood, Darrington Sentimore and Quinton Dial also came out of the lower half of the class to become playmakers at the college level.

There's no doubt, though, who the star of the class was. Richardson, the No. 1 running back from Pensacola, Fla. in the country, was stolen right out from under the Florida Gators' nose. The 5-foot-11, 219-pound athlete was an instant impact player, rushing for more than 700 yards as a true freshman. Two seasons later he was in New York City as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. A few months after that, he was selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It was the shot across the bow. Nick Saban and the Alabama coaching staff made a statement with the class of 2008.

[+] EnlargeMark Ingram
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesMark Ingram won the Heisman Trophy and a national title in 2009, his sophomore season.
It was Saban's first full year recruiting as the head coach of the Crimson Tide, and what a stunning first impression it was. Not only did he haul in the No. 3 signing class in the country, but he went nationwide to do it, pulling a 2,000-yard running back from all the way up in Flint, Mich., by the name of Mark Ingram.

Saban drew on familiar ties to nab the 12th-ranked running back in the country, according to ESPN, swiping Ingram out from under the nose of Michigan State, where the now 61-year-old Saban held the second head coaching job of his career.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Take a moment to look away from the fire raining down outside your windows. Try to focus over the howling of your pets. Turn off the utter meltdown on the 24-hour-news networks and enjoy the final moments of the apocalypse.

The Mayans were right. The reckoning is upon us and all that's left to do is read this lousy obituary. We're all goners: you, your neighbors, that guy at the supermarket who remembered your preference of paper over plastic. Even Alabama football is gone. It's a shame really, with the national championship just 17 days away. Would there have been a better place to ride out the end of days than Miami?

That's what we're here to document. We've got the Crimson Tide. Leave the rest to the vultures.

[+] EnlargeBear Bryant
Malcolm Emmons/US PresswireIf we're all going down today, why not go out wearing some Houndstooth like the Bear would have wanted.
How will Alabama be remembered when the seedlings of life sprout from our scorched Earth and the next wave of mankind takes to recording history? What will the prognosticators remember of the school with the most championships in all of college football? The argument will likely land somewhere between the discussion of the best president not named Lincoln and whether or not high fructose corn syrup was a real thing.

Was Paul "Bear" Bryant the best college football coach of all time? He was third on the wins list, but had a higher winning percentage than the two coaches ahead of him.

Was Nick Saban the best active coach? He was poised to win a fourth national championship after all. Some argue he was a machine anyway. Maybe he'll survive all this and hit the recruiting trail after the NCAA's dead period ends.

Who was the best player of all time? The best running back? The best quarterback? Was Trent Richardson better than Mark Ingram? What about Shaun Alexander? Would T.J. Yeldon have gotten the better of them all if he had four years to do it? Would Kirby Smart ever have become a head coach?

(Read full post)

Tide's haul started at Saban's hiring 

November, 21, 2012
11/21/12
11:00
AM ET
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- For Nick Saban, his success started on the recruiting trail, not the football field.

In his first season, the University of Alabama head football coach went 6-6 and guided the Crimson Tide to a berth in the Independence Bowl, the lowly Independence Bowl, where they hung on to defeat Colorado.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Derrick Henry says yes to Alabama 

September, 28, 2012
9/28/12
3:38
PM ET
The University of Alabama has become the premier destination for the nation’s top running backs. Former stars Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson are now playing on Sundays, and the Crimson Tide’s backfield this season is made up of three former ESPN 150 stars.

But is there such a thing as having too many good running backs?

On Friday, Alabama picked up a commitment from four-star athlete Derrick Henry. He became the Tide’s 21st commitment -- nine of whom are in the ESPN 150, with Henry ranked No. 48 -- but it is an addition that could shake up the rest of the class.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The week at the University of Alabama started off slowly. The Crimson Tide put on shells, then went into full pads. The sun rose, the sun set.

Nick Saban
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesThere was no drama for Nick Saban as preseason camp opened, but things changed quickly.
It was fun, bordering on something similar to excitement. Football, after months away, was back with us.

Nick Saban went on a rant about expectations, we got to speak with both coordinators for one of the few times all year and Jesse Williams finally got the chance to speak out about his weight room prowess.

Then, real life (also known as breaking news) happened. Chris Black went down with a shoulder injury, Travell Dixon left the team and Jarrick Williams tore his ACL.

"Boom!" is right. The calm couldn't last forever, and frankly, where would be the fun in that?

Are the Crimson Tide better off today than they were a week ago? Probably not.

Are they hurt beyond repair? Absolutely not.

Losing three players is never a good thing, but if you're going to suffer injuries there are far worse scenarios one could dream up. The defense is still young, talented and deep. The offense still possesses one of the most impressive line's in recent memory, AJ McCarron continues to blossom as a leader and the receivers are still an upgrade over last year's bunch.

If we're grading Alabama's start to camp, let's say they passed. And with 12 practices in the books and 13 to go, passing isn't bad thing.

Looking back, here are a few things we learned this week:

(Read full post)

Countdown to kickoff: 40

July, 23, 2012
7/23/12
6:00
AM ET
[+] EnlargeMark Ingram
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireMark Ingram is one of 40 former Alabama players currently in the NFL.
From now until kickoff in Arlington, Texas, we'll be counting down the days before Alabama and Michigan get the season started. Today, we move to No. 40 and what it means to UA football. See all the previous editions here.

When University of Alabama coach Nick Saban pitches his football program, there are several points he can make to recruits. Two national titles in three seasons, two SEC title game appearances, the allure of being part of yet another top-5 recruiting class.

But the number he can really push to recruits is 40. As in, the total number of Alabama players currently playing in the NFL.

When you walk through the Mal Moore Athletic Facility, there's a room dedicated to just that. On the walls, there are images of former UA players like Mark Ingram and Marcell Dareus. When coaches sit down and talk with recruits, they can bring up an NFL player for nearly every position.

Wide receiver? Julio Jones played at UA. Quarterback? John Parker Wilson and Greg McElroy played the position at UA. Defensive back? Dre Kirkpatrick and Javier Arenas both starred at UA. Linebacker? Well, you get the point.

(In case you didn't: Courtney Upshaw, Dont'a Hightower, Jarrell Harris, Jarret Johnson, Rolando McClain, DeMeco Ryans, Alex Watkins and Chavis Williams all played linebacker in Tuscaloosa before going off to careers in the NFL.)

Lettermen and concerns return for Tide

April, 13, 2012
4/13/12
3:38
PM ET

Derick E. Hingle/US Presswire
Quarterback A.J. McCarron is one of eight offensive starters returning in 2012.

Spring is a time for renewal. In college football, spring is also the time to look ahead to fall and the upcoming season. Saturday, Alabama holds its annual Golden Flake A-Day Game (ESPN3, 3 ET), which will give its fans a first look at the defending national champions.

Alabama captured its record-breaking ninth national championship of the major poll era in January. Once again, the Crimson Tide are expected to be one of the best teams in the country in 2012. But the Tide have been here before. Will history repeat?

In 2010, Alabama was preseason No. 1 in both The Associated Press and Coaches polls with 11 combined offensive and defensive starters returning from the team that had won the 2009 national title. The problem was the retention breakdown. Bama lost eight starters from a defense that allowed the second-fewest yards (244.1) and points (11.7) per game in the bowl subdivision. With QB Greg McElroy, the RB tandem of Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson and WR Julio Jones, the belief was that the Tide would score points and win games through their offense while buying enough time for their defense to jell.

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES

VIDEO PLAYLIST video

SEC SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 10/4