The Duel

3 Greatest Receivers in Alabama History

By michael obermuller
The greatest wide receivers to play for Alabama make for a long list, but talents like Julio Jones and Amari Cooper top the list.
The greatest wide receivers to play for Alabama make for a long list, but talents like Julio Jones and Amari Cooper top the list. / Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The University of Alabama has one of the most storied program histories in all of college football, if not the most. Many famous NFL pros had their beginnings at Alabama, while some went on to have incredible careers at the next level and others lived out their best days at the collegiate level.

At the wide receiver position, the alumni class is as star-studded as any. It has been debated at great length which Bama wideouts should sit atop this all-time list, but in 2020 more names have joined the discussion. Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley has developed into a rising NFL star, and projected first-round draft pick Jerry Jeudy should also be involved in the discussion now with the fourth-most career receiving yards for the Crimson Tide.

Previous honorable mentions include D.J. Hall, whose prolific college career never translated as well in the pros, and even Tyrone Protho, whose legacy in Tuscaloosa will always be anchored by one incredible catch. One thing is for sure, these three names on the list below have cemented themselves as Alabama WR icons forever.

3. Ozzie Newsome (1974-77)

Ozzie Newsome makes a diving catch for the Cleveland Browns.
Ozzie Newsome makes a diving catch for the Cleveland Browns. / Focus On Sport/Getty Images

The tight end/wide receiver hybrid at Alabama put up ridiculous numbers for his time period, with 2,000-plus receiving yards at a career average of 20.3 yards per catch – the highest mark among top-20 Crimson Tide WRs by career yardage. As an athlete, Newsome was unmatched, with expert blocking and exceptional ball skills. After his college career, Newsome went on to a Hall-of-Fame career in the NFL too, and he was later known for his prowess and success as an NFL general manager. Few Alabama players are as well respected and well decorated as this football legend.

2. Julio Jones (2008-10)

Julio Jones has become a famous NFL star.
Julio Jones has become a famous NFL star. / Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Julio Jones may be the most established NFL talent at wide receiver to ever come out of Alabama. He currently ranks fifth in career receiving yardage with the Crimson Tide, along with 17 total touchdowns. Jones was named SEC freshman of the year in 2008, helped Nick Saban establish his dynasty with the tide after leading Bama to its first National Championship under Saban in 2009 and also earned First-team All-SEC honors in 2010. Now one of the faces of the Atlanta Falcons' franchise, Julio has already cemented his legacy as a legend at both the highest levels of competitive football.

1. Amari Cooper (2012-14)

Amari Cooper during his days at Alabama.
Amari Cooper during his days at Alabama. / Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Even though Julio projects to finish his career as a better NFL receiver, no one can deny Amari Cooper's record-setting numbers and achievements during his tenure with Alabama. Cooper leads the Tide in total receiving yards ( 3,463), single-season receiving yards (1,727; 2014), total receptions (228), single-season receptions (124; 2014), total receiving TDs (31) and single-season TDs (16; 2014). A BCS National Champion in 2012, Cooper was a unanimous All-American (as well as First-team All-SEC) and a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2014. He also won the 2014 Fred Biletnikoff Award for most outstanding wide receiver that season. Now with the Dallas Cowboys, Cooper's pro career has been up and down, but he is still considered a top-flight talent at his position.

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Michael Obermuller is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Michael Obermuller also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username king_mizzard. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.