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NCAA - How jersey #s are assigned - interesting tidbits


  • According to NCAA rule book Section 4 Article 1 recommends numbering as follows for offensive players;

    Backs 1–49
    Snapper 50–59
    Guard 60–69
    Tackle 70–79
    End 80–99
    Otherwise all player must be numbered 1–99, the NCAA makes no stipulation on defensive players. Two players may also share the same number though they may not play during the same down.

    The lowest numbers are often considered the most prestigious, and they are frequently worn not just by specialists and quarterbacks but also by running backs, defensive backs, and linebackers. Kickers and punters are frequently numbered in the 40s or 90s, which are the least in-demand numbers on a college roster. The increased flexibility in numbering of NCAA rosters is needed since NCAA rules allow larger rosters than the NFL; thus teams would frequently exhaust the available numbers for a position under the NFL rules. It is not uncommon for NCAA teams to have duplicate numbers, with an offensive player having the same number as a defensive one—this is allowed as long as both players are not on the field at the same time. Usually, one of the players will be a reserve who rarely plays, but this is not always the case: for example, the 2005 Texas Longhorns team had two key players who both wore #4: wide receiver Limas Sweed and linebacker Drew Kelson. The 2007 USC Trojans team had two key players who both wore #10: quarterback John David Booty and linebacker Brian Cushing. The 2008 Missouri Tigers both had key players wearing #1: safety William Moore and running back Jimmy Jackson. In the same season, the Alabama Crimson Tide had four numbers shared by two players each. In the 2009 season, the Ohio State Buckeyes roster also had numerous duplicate numbers: quarterback Terrelle Pryor and cornerback Malcolm Jenkins both wore #2, and running back Daniel Herron and linebacker Marcus Freeman both wore #1,[8] while USC had both running back C. J. Gable and safety Taylor Mays wearing #2. At Texas, both safety Earl Thomas and quarterback Colt McCoy both wore #12. In 2010 at the University of Illinois, both quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and linebacker Martez Wilson wore #2. In 2012, Notre Dame starting linebacker and team captain Manti Te'o and starting quarterback Everett Golson both wore #5.

    Perhaps the most interesting use of duplicate numbers was at South Carolina. Both cornerback Stephon Gilmore and quarterback Stephen Garcia wore #5. However, Gilmore also has played quarterback for the Gamecocks, usually in the "Wild Cock" formation. In 2009 against archrival Clemson, Head Coach Steve Spurrier effectively rotated Garcia and Gilmore at the quarterback position, confusing the Clemson defense (and many fans). Because Garcia and Gilmore were never on the field at the same time, it was perfectly legal.

    Individual schools often have superstitions or traditions involving certain numbers. It may be a great honor to be given the number 1 uniform, for example, such as at the University of Michigan. The top performing walk-on at Texas A&M University will often be issued number 12, in reference to their 12th Man tradition. Syracuse University historically reserved number 44 for its best running backs, including Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, and Floyd Little,[9] finally retiring the number permanently in 2005.[10] The number 12 is also prestigious at the University of Alabama. It is usually reserved for top quarterbacks, although it was worn by 1930s lineman Bear Bryant, who became a coaching legend at Alabama. Since Bryant's era, it has been worn by Kenny Stabler, Joe Namath, Brodie Croyle, and Greg McElroy. At Ole Miss, the #38 worn by defensive back Chucky Mullins, who suffered a paralyzing injury in a 1989 game that ultimately led to his death in 1991, was given each season as an award to a defensive player who was seen as epitomizing Mullins' spirit. The number was eventually retired in Mullins' memory in 2006. Too bad AJ couldn't have had #12, but, he was there at the same time with McElroy!

  • Good read, thanks for sharing.

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    "Nobody makes me bleed my own blood, nobody!"

  • Nice copy and paste from Wikipedia.

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  • I remember reading an interview where AJ said he wanted to start something new with the #10 and never pursued #12. Greg was #17 his first year or two at Bama.

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