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Top 3 safeties of Saban era at UA

Nick Saban is regarded as one of the top producers of cornerback talent in college football. But when it comes to interceptions since 2007, Alabama's safeties have had most of the fun.

In his three seasons as a starter, Barron wore multiple hats for the Alabama secondary.

In Saban's six seasons in Tuscaloosa, Crimson Tide safeties have picked off 55 passes, with 49 of those coming from the quintet of Mark Barron, Rashad Johnson, Robert Lester, Justin Woodall and HaHa Clinton-Dix.

With those players in mind, here are the top three safeties of the Saban era at UA.

1.] Mark Barron (2008-2011)
Why he's here: The versatile Barron handled conventional safety duties in the base defense in addition to serving as the dime back when UA put six defensive backs on the field. Physical enough to drop into the box and play the run and athletic enough to man a variety of roles against the pass, Barron ranks among the top five defensive talents to suit up for Alabama in the Saban era.
Claim to fame: Three-time first-team All-SEC and two-time first-team All-America selection. Picked off 12 passes while making 39 career starts.
Memorable moment:
VIDEO: Barron flattens Jordan Rodgers
Next level: Selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round (No. 7 overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft. Started all 16 games as a rookie, posting 88 total tackles, 10 passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble.

2.] Rashad Johnson (2005-2008)
Why he's here: As talented as Barron is, a strong case could be made for Johnson, a former walk-on, at the top of this list. Recorded 183 tackles and 11 interceptions in two seasons (2007-2008) as a starter. And that's before you factor in Johnson's ability to quarterback the defense, something he did as well as any UA safety under Saban to date.
Claim to fame: Two-time first-team All-SEC selection who led UA in interceptions in 2007 and 2008.
Memorable moment: VIDEO: Johnson's second pick of the game helps sink LSU in 2008
Next level: Selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Cardinals, Johnson has recorded 157 total tackles and three interceptions.

3.] Robert Lester (2009-2012)
Why he's here: Made 40 consecutive starts at safety, the most by any player at the position under Saban. Lester's 14 career interceptions are the most by a UA safety dating back to 2007.
Claim to fame: Second-team All-America and second-team All-SEC choice in 2010. Honorable mention All-SEC in 2012.
Memorable moment: VIDEO: Lester picks off Ryan Mallett in 2010
Next level: Projects as a mid-round selection for the 2013 NFL Draft.

Next three: HaHa Clinton-Dix (2011-present); Justin Woodall (2006-2009); Vinnie Sunseri (2011-present).

Also see:
Top three nose guards of the Saban era
Top three tight ends of the Saban era
Top three offensive tackles of the Saban era
Top three wide receivers of the Saban era
Top three running backs of the Saban era
Top three cornerbacks of the Saban era

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