Building the Ultimate Alabama Team: Offensive Line (sans centers)

Kevin C. Cox

At Alabama, everything begins and ends in the trenches.

After thinking about this all weekend I agree, we need to have a multiple selection option for the offensive line. Sadly, the SBN poll option doesn't give me that ability but I think I've something that'll work. This poll below should allow you to vote for multiple players, not just one. So vote away.

I suggest voting for only four players, two tackles and two guards, but I'll leave that decision up to the individual voter.

Rules? We don't need no stinkin' rules.

Below is the list of players (in no particular order) that NLS and I feel should be considered.

— The community will vote and the top 6 offensive lineman will move on to the final round. (we have a separate post for centers)

— Who you choose will be based on your own criteria. If they had a successful NFL career and that is part of your decision, so be it. If you want to focus solely on their career at Alabama, again that's up to you. My suggestion would be to wait to vote and allow the discussions in the comments to guide you. The choice may be obvious but you only get one vote per round, so make it count.

— If I missed a player, and the community feels he should have been included, a single write-in candidate will be allowed.

— Remember, only players who played in the Bear era (1958-1982) to present are included.

*player profiles are from Wikipedia (sue me)

Barrett Jones

Jones started three BCS National Championship Games (2010, 2012, 2013) all at different positions along the offensive line. Following the 2011 season, Jones was recognized as a consensus All-American, and won the Outland Trophy for the best lineman in college football. After another All-American season in 2012, he won the Rimington Trophy for the best center. Jones was chosen by the St. Louis Ramsin the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

John Hannah

Hannah played tackle and guard for the University of Alabama under Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1970 until 1972, and earned All American honors twice, in 1971 and then was a Consensus All American his senior year in 1972. During his tenure Hannah was part of an SEC championship-winning team. He was named to the University of Alabama All-Century Team and also to the Alabama 1970s All-Decade team. During his time at Alabama he also participated in wrestling, the shot put, and the discus throw. Hannah was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999. Bryant would later say that Hannah was the greatest lineman he ever coached.

Chris Samuels

While attending the University of Alabama, Samuels played for the Alabama Crimson Tide football team from 1996 to 1999. As senior in 1999, he was named to the All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) first team by the conference's coaches, the Associated Press, the Birmingham News and the Mobile Press Register, and was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American.[4] He also won the Outland Trophy as the nation's best college interior lineman, and was a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award.

Samuels won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the SEC's most outstanding blocker.[3] He started 42 straight games, from early in his 1996 freshman season until his last regular-season game as a senior, without yielding a sack. Samuels did not allow a quarterback pressure in 1999, had 91 knockdown blocks and played nearly every offensive snap during the regular season


Andre Smith

Smith attended the University of Alabama beginning in 2006, he played for coach Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide football team from 2007 to 2008. In his initial year at Alabama, he started all 13 games at left tackle, becoming only the fourth true freshman offensive lineman to start for the Crimson Tide. Smith played at least 65 snaps in 10 of 13 games and played more than 70 snaps five times, while leading the Crimson Tide with 62 pancake blocks. He also scored a touchdown off of a lateral in the 34-31 Independence Bowl loss against Oklahoma State. Smith earned Freshman All-American honors by the Football Writers Association of America.

In 2007, Smith was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection, after starting every game at the left tackle position. He was named Alabama Co-Player of the Week four times during the season.

Smith was recognized as a unanimous All-American in 2008, as well as the 2008 Outland Trophy winner. He was also considered to be one of the best underclassmen for the 2009 NFL Draft. He was also a firs-team All-SEC selection and shared the league's Jacobs Blocking Trophy with Arkansas center Jonathan Luigs. He led the team with 103 key knockdowns and added seven blocks downfield. He was penalized just twice and he allowed just one QB sack and six pressures on 334 pass plays.

Evan Mathis

Although he bulked up from 240 pounds  to 276 pounds after signing with Alabama in February 2000, Mathis was redshirted as a true freshman. In April 2001, he was named the Paul Crane Most Improved Offensive Lineman for Alabama along with tight end Theo Sanders. He competed with Alonzo Ephraim for the starting center job during spring practice in 2001, but lost out. Instead, he beat out Dante Ellington for the starting right tackle job,[4] making his first start against South Carolina.[5]

Mathis started four seasons on the offensive line for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. His first three years he played tackle, before shifting to left guard as a senior. He started 47 consecutive games beginning in the 4th game of his redshirt freshman year. He helped anchor an offensive line that paved the way for the Tide to lead the Southeastern Conference in rushing yards per game in 2004.

Billy Neighbors

Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, he played college football at the University of Alabama where he was an All-American, and was selected in sixth round of the1962 AFL Draft. Neighbors was also drafted in the fourth round of the 1962 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins.

Neighbors was selected to the Boston Patriots All-1960s (AFL) Team and was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

Neighbors, who played both offense and defense for the Tide, was named to Alabama's All-Century team. He had an eight-year career in pro ball with the Boston Patriots and Miami Dolphins and was twice named All-Pro.

He is a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame as well as the college hall.

Wesley Britt

After redshirting his first year, Britt was a career starter and started in 46 games throughout the 2001, 2002, and 2004 seasons at Alabama. He did miss the final four games of his junior season with a broken leg. He was named third team All-American by the Associated Press, second team by Rivals.com as a senior in 2004, First team All-Southeastern Conference by the Associated Press and league's coaches in 2004, and named to 2004 SEC Good Works Team.

Wayne Freeman

Freeman was an All-american guard for Alabama during the 1964 national title season.

Ray Ogden's unforgettable 108-yard kickoff return and a Namath to Ray Perkins touchdown pass were key plays in a 21-14 win over Auburn on Thanksgiving Day 1964. That victory coupled with Notre Dame's loss to Southern Cal pushed the Tide to No. 1. Namath, halfback-kicker David Ray, tackle Dan Kearley, and guard Wayne Freeman were named to different Ail-American teams.

Mike Johnson

He earned first-team All-American honors from Pro Football Weekly in 2008. The following year, Johnson was named a consensus first-team All-American and was a member of Alabama's first national championship team in 17 years.

Johnson was drafted 98th overall in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. .

Chance Warmack

Warmack graduated early from high school and enrolled in the University of Alabama in January 2009, and played for coach Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide football team from 2009 to 2012. After participating in spring football practice, he served as a backup to Barrett Jones and played in 5 games as a true freshman. As a sophomore, Warmack replaced All-American Mike Johnson in the starting lineup and opened all 13 contests at left guard.

As a junior in 2011, he started 13 more games and helped Alabama win the 2012 BCS National Championship Game over Louisiana State, while earning 2nd team All-SEC honors. After weighing his options to enter the 2012 NFL Draft, Warmack decided to return to Alabama for his final year of eligibility.[Prior to his senior season, he received numerous individual accolades, being on multiple preseason award watch lists and being named to Sports Illustrated's preseason All-American team.

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