Alabama football: Nick Saban's All-5-Star Team is an embarrassment of riches
Recruiting season is practically like Christmas for Alabama Crimson Tide football fans, as every year there are several tremendous presents under the tree — courtesy of ol’ Saint Nick Saban.
The amount of 5-star recruits Saban has lured to Alabama is insane since he arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007, so much so that you can actually create an All-5-Star Team out of the 50 players who earned all 5 magic stars.
Tua Tagovailoa, QB
Why he makes the cut: Technically the 3rd of 4 5-star QB recruited by Saban (Blake Barnett, RB-turned-QB Blake Sims and incoming freshman Bryce Young), Alabama’s sweet Hawaiian prince is an obvious choice. Changed the way Crimson Tide offense is played, and have we mentioned 2nd-and-26?
Jerry Jeudy, WR
Why he makes the cut: Makes this insane list over Calvin Ridley, as he caught 4 more career passes than Ridley (228 to 224) but for 3,463 yards to Ridley’s 2,781 and 31 TDs to Ridley’s 19. Won the Biletnikoff Award and was a consensus All-American his sophomore season in 2018.
Julio Jones, WR
Why he makes the cut: Jones was a part of the 2008 class that started it all for Alabama. Before his multiple Pro Bowl NFL career began, Jones helped lead the Tide to the 2009 national title and finished his college career with 2,653 receiving yards on 179 catches and 15 TDs before being taken in the 1st round by the Falcons in 2011.
Trent Richardson, RB
Why he makes the cut: Richardson makes the list over players like T.J. Yeldon, Najee Harris and Damien Harris primarily because he broke Mark Ingram’s single-season rushing yards total with his 1,679-yard total on 61 carries and 21 TDs in 2011 en route to finishing 2nd for the Heisman Trophy and becoming a 1st-round pick by the Browns.
Derrick Henry, RB
Why he makes the cut: Henry won the 2015 Heisman Trophy after exploding for an SEC-record 2,219 yards on 395 carries and 28 touchdowns in 2015. He also carried the Tide to the national title. The future Tennessee Titan star finished his college career with 3,591 rushing yards on 602 carries and 42 TDs.
O.J. Howard, TE
Why he makes the cut: The MVP of Alabama’s win against Clemson in the 2015 CFP National Championship Game — in which he caught 5 passes for 208 yards and 2 TDs — finished his career in Tuscaloosa with 114 receptions for 1,726 yards and 7 TDs before being taken by the Buccaneers in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT
Why he makes the cut: A celebrated signing-day flip from Auburn, Kouandjio followed his older brother Arie to Alabama in 2011 and was a consensus All-American in 2013. Kouandjio was a 2nd-round pick by the Bills in 2014 and also played with the Lions and Broncos before being released in 2018. He is now with the XFL’s New York Guardians.
Jonah Williams, OT
Why he makes the cut: A dominant tackle at Alabama, Williams won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy and was a unanimous All-American in his junior season in 2018 before heading to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1st round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Cam Robinson, OT
Why he makes the cut: Robinson started all 14 games as a true freshman in 2014 — the first true freshman to start at left tackle at Alabama since Andre Smith in 2006. Won the Outland and Jacobs Blocking trophies as a junior in 2016 and was drafted in the 2nd round by the Jaguars in 2017.
Alex Leatherwood, OT
Why he makes the cut: The only current Tide player to make the cut, Leatherwood was a 1st-round All-SEC selection in 2019 and decided to return for his senior season in 2020 instead of early entry in the NFL Draft.
D.J. Fluker, OT
Why he makes the cut: An absolute beast from 2009-2012, Fluker makes the final slot over players like Tyler Love and Evan Neal. Fluker was 2-time national champion at right tackle who was a 1st-team All-SEC and 1st-team All-American in 2012 en route to being a 1st-round pick by the Chargers.
Da’Shawn Hand, DE
Why he makes the cut: The nation’s top-ranked recruit in the 2014 class, Hand had over 90 scholarship offers before choosing the Tide. Finished his career with 30 solo tackles, 71 total stops, 14.5 tackles for loss and 9 sacks before becoming a 4th-round pick by the Lions in 2018.
Daron Payne, DT
Why he makes the cut: Payne burst upon the scene in 2015 as a true freshman, recording 5 tackles and a half sack against Clemson in the national title game. Made 39 solo tackles, 102 total stops, 5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks in his 3-year collegiate career before being selected by the Redskins in the 1st round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Jonathan Allen, DE
Why he makes the cut: Allen played linebacker but was moved to defensive end at Alabama in 2013. Finished his 4-year career with 152 total tackles, 44.5 tackles for loss, 28 sacks and 3 forced fumbles before being taken by the Redskins in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Rashaan Evans, LB
Why he makes the cut: A teammate of fellow All-5-Star pick Reuben Foster at Auburn High School, Evans also made 152 tackles along with 15 sacks, 23.5 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries. Evans was selected in the 1st round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans.
Reuben Foster, LB
Why he makes the cut: A teammate of fellow All-5-Star pick Rashaan Evans at Auburn High School, Foster flipped to the Tide despite having the Auburn Tigers logo tattooed on his right arm. He made 115 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 5 sacks in 2016 en route to winning the Butkus Award. Taken in 1st round of 2017 NFL Draft by the 49ers.
Mack Wilson, LB
Why he makes the cut: Wilson made 59 solo tackles, 113 total stops, 6.5 tackles for loss and 6 interceptions in his 3 years at Alabama before being selected in the 5th round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Browns.
Nico Johnson, LB
Why he makes the cut: A celebrated member of the 2009 recruiting class, Johnson made 87 solo tackles, 162 total stops, 16.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and 2 interceptions in 4 seasons at Alabama. He was drafted by the Chiefs in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB
Why he makes the cut: Fitzpatrick leads a sick list of 5-star CBs, making it over players like Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey. Fitzpatrick made 110 solo tackles, 171 total stops, 9 interceptions, 5 sacks and scored 4 TDs from 2015-17 before being taken in the 1st round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Dolphins.
Dee Milliner, CB
Why he makes the cut: How does Milliner make this list over Dre Kirkpatrick? It is a tough call, but Milliner made 88 solo tackles, 133 total stops, 6 interceptions and 1.5 sacks from 2010-12. He then was taken in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Jets.
Landon Collins, S
Why he makes the cut: Collins chose Alabama over LSU on national television during the Under Armour All-American Game — much to the displeasure of his mother April Justin. Collins went on to make 122 solo tackles, 190 total stops, 8.5 tackles for loss and 5 interceptions. He was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S
Why he makes the cut: One of 7 true freshmen to play in 2011, Clinton-Dix finished his 3 seasons at Alabama with 58 solo tackles, 99 total stops and 7 interceptions. After earning consensus All-American honors in 2013, Clinton-Dix was taken by the Packers in the 1st round of the 2014 NFL Draft.