Online Now 1326

Top 3 WRs of Saban era revisited

Julio Jones and everyone else.

Cooper wasted no time in taking his place alongside Jones on the list.

Where the wide receiver position at Alabama since 2007 is concerned, that's what this list consisted of a year ago.

However, after watching Amari Cooper eclipse Jones' 2008 freshman marks during a remarkable debut campaign in 2012, now the question is, Julio, Amari and who else?

A year ago, the choice for the second spot was between Marquis Maze and D.J. Hall. With Cooper crashing the party, the race between Maze and Hall has shifted to the third receiver spot.

There's no denying Hall's numbers. We tend to forget that the Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., native left UA as the school's career leader in receptions (194) and receiving yards (2,923). And did I mention that he absolutely lit up Tennessee (13 catches for 185 yards in a win over the Vols in 2007)? However, there's also no denying that his lowest moments during the 2007 season symbolized the struggle Saban faced in changing the culture in Tuscaloosa.

As for Maze, after spending three seasons in Jones' sizeable shadow, he played a large role in the Crimson Tide's run to a second national title in three seasons. While he didn't produce Hall-like numbers as a receiver, Maze brought dependability to the position.

Ultimately, the final impression a player makes on his team (and its fans) is the one that sticks. And that's where Maze more than closed the gap.

1.] Julio Jones (2008-2010)
Previous ranking: 1
Why he's here: One of the most physically-gifted players to ever suit up for the Crimson Tide, Jones brought a toughness to the position seldom seen from a wide receiver. Saved some of his best performances for LSU, the second-best program in college football.
Claim to fame: A starter in all 40 games in which he appeared at Alabama, Jones led the Crimson Tide in receiving in each of his three seasons with the Crimson Tide. Ranks second in career receptions (179) and career receiving yards (2,653) on UA's all-time lists.
Memorable moment: VIDEO: Jones turns the Tide against LSU.
Next level: Selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the first round (No. 6 overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft. As a rookie, Jones caught 54 passes for 959 yards (17.8 ypc) and eight touchdowns. In 2012, Jones earned his first Pro Bowl nomination after hauling in 79 passes for 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns.

2.] Amari Cooper (2012-present)
Previous ranking: Not ranked.
Why he's here: Set UA freshman marks for receptions (59), receiving yards (1,029) and touchdowns (11) in 2012. Freshman all-SEC and freshman all-america a season ago. Finished the season with100-yard receiving performances in four of his last five games.
Claim to fame: On the season's two largest stages -- SEC and BCS Championship Games -- Cooper hauled in 14 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner against Georgia.
Memorable moment: VIDEO: Cooper's catch helps Tide sink Dawgs.
Next level: Cooper won't be draft eligible until after the 2014 season.

3.] Marquis Maze (2008-2011)
Previous ranking: 2
Why he's here: Second to Jones in receptions and receiving yards in the Saban era, Maze also impacted the kicking game as a return man. Didn't have the size of some other guys on this list, but was tougher than most. Played in 54 games at Alabama, including 35 starts. Had a pair of 100-yard receiving games in 2011.
Claim to fame: Second-team All-SEC in 2011.
Memorable moment: VIDEO: Maze's punt return puts Hogs away
Next level: After signing as an undrafted free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers shortly after the 2012 NFL Draft, Maze was waived during training camp.

Next three: D.J. Hall (2004-2007) (PR: 3); Darius Hanks (PR: 5); (2007-2011); Kevin Norwood (2009-present) (PR: NR)/Kenny Bell (2009-present) (PR: NR).

Also see:
Top three running backs of the Saban era revisited
Top three cornerbacks of the Saban era revisited

Already have an account? Sign In