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Building The Ultimate Alabama Team: Wide Receivers

Top receivers for the Ultimate Team

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

In a continuing series of off-season Gump-fest articles, today we look at pass catchers Part Two: wide receivers.

The last article was tight ends. You have hemmed and hawed over the guys who run the ball as well as your favorites who pass the ball. Now we ask you to select the best wide receivers and tight ends. This might not be as easy as you think since Alabama has historically been a run-it-up-the-gut-three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust kinda team for as long as there have been 100 yards on a football field. If you are confused, here is a handy study guide.

Just to recap the concept: "If you were to create a team using only Alabama players starting with the Bear Bryant years to present, who would you pick?"

Think about who you have selected so far and add the top three receivers including tight ends that you think would best make this team win. There may be some guys you like but do they fit into the scheme?

My Ball, My Rules

Below is a list of players in no particular order that maybe I think are worthy of catching passes from your ultimate Bama QB.

  • The community will vote for the top 5 wide receivers and 2 tight ends who will move on to the final round of a combined vote.
  • Who you choose will be based on your own criteria but consider who is throwing the ball to them. You might also want to consider who will be returning kicks. Remember, we are building the Ultimate Bama Team. One vote per poll 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. No, not Duron Carter. He has not academically qualified yet.
  • Only players who played in the Bear Bryant Era (1958-1982, which ironically exclude the Bear himself) up to today. I am including only one WR from the current Bama roster for obvious reasons.
Wide Receivers

Alright, smarties. It gets a little bit tougher now. In no particular order:

Julio Jones (2008-2010) When Julio signed with the Crimson Tide in 2008, it felt like the whole world had changed at the Capstone. Never before had Bama been able to sign such a hyped young pass catcher and you could feel the excitement in the air when the nation's top receiver said "Roll Tide". As a true freshman, he caught four passes for 28 yards and a touchdown in a 34–10 rout of Clemson and never looked back. In three seasons, he had 179 receptions for 2653 yards and 15 TDs. He also ran the ball 10 times for 139 and 2 scores. #8 had seven 100+ yards games. Against Tennessee in 2010, he had 12 catches for 221 yards.

The Atlanta Falcons traded five draft picks to get Jones with the sixth overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. He made the Pro Bowl in his second season after finding the end zone ten times. Jones is tuning up for his fourth season in the NFL.

David Palmer (1991-1993) "The DEUCE is LOOSE!" Palmer was got his nickname because of his jersey number 2 and man could he fly. He ran the Wildcat before it was cool and could take over a game. He caught 102 passes for 1611 yards for 15.8 ypc average and 11 touchdowns as a receiver. In addition, he had 86 rushes for 598 yards and another score. Deuce had four TDs returning punts as well. All this is in only 32 games.

In 1993, Palmer was a consensus first-team All-American and finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting. Watch this video and tell me you don't get goosebumps.

A second-round pick by the Vikings, Palmer spent seven seasons (1994-2001) in Minnesota mostly as a kick returner. He lead the NFL in punt returns during the 1995 season and returned two punts and one kickoff for touchdowns in his career. He also caught 73 for 631 with a TD and a rushing TD.

Amari Cooper (2012-present) In two seasons (one of them injury-prone), Cooper has already ascended to the top ten career receiving stats for Crimson Tide receivers. He is 4 scores away from the most career TDs at the Capstone. The world is his oyster.

Dennis Homan (1965-1967) 87 rec, 1495 yds, 17.2 ypc, 18 TD. You are probably wondering "who the heck is Dennis Homan?" He just happens to hold the record for most career receiving touchdowns at Alabama - and this was in the 1960s!  An All-American and Academic All-American in 1967 and All-SEC 1966-1967, he had 54 receptions for 820 yards and 9 touchdowns as a senior.

A first round pick by the Cowboys, he played 5 NFL seasons with Dallas and Kansas City. He spent two seasons with the Birmingham World Football League team until the team folded.

D.J. Hall (2004-2007) TRIVIA TIME! What Alabama receiver has the most career catches and receiving yards? Yes, it is Hall with 194 for 2923. He is second to Homan in career TDs with 17. He was All-SEC in 2006 and 2007 which were both 60+ catch 1000 yard seasons.

As a sophomore, Hall became the only Alabama player to have consecutive games with ten or more catches, coming against Tennessee and Utah State. In the 2007 season, he became the first Alabama player to record five straight 100-yard receiving games.  Against Tennessee, he had a school record 13 receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

Though, he did not go on to NFL greatness, many fans forget how talented a receiver he was.

Keith Brown (2004-2007) In 2004, the Pensacola (FL) native turned down Florida and FSU to roll with the Tide. Brown saw the field immediately as a true freshman catching 17 balls for 295 yards. By his sophomore year, he was a regular in the rotation with 34 rec, 642 yds, 18.9 ypc, and 4 TDs. Consistent and reliable, KB was a wiz at moving the chains and had could turn on the jets. He finished his career with 117 grabs, 1863 yds (4th behind Hall, Julio, & Ozzie), a 15.9 average and 13 scores.

Freddie Milons (1998-2001) Third in career yards at Bama, Milons had 152 catches for 1859 yards and 6 receiving TDs. He also had a 77-yard TD run out of the "Wildcat" in the 1999 SEC Championship. He returned a punt 65 yards for a score against Southern Miss in 1999 and another for 71 yards against UCLA in 2000. Stealing Freddie from MSU's back yard of Starkville, Mississippi was delicious as he lit them up year in and year out.

He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round of the 2002 NFL Draft but injuries sidelined his career. He also played for the Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals.

Marquis Maze (2008-2011) Sitting at fourth in career catches at Alabama (136 for 1844 yards, 8 rec TDs), Maze also excelled as a punt and kickoff returner amassing 1261 return yards. He might have had more had he not injured his hamstring in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game against LSU. Though devastated from the career-ending injury, he still cheered on his teammates and celebrated like he should.

Maze had an incredible 83-yard punt return for a TD vs Arkansas in 2011 that broke the undefeated 14th ranked Hogs' hearts. In 2009, he pulled in his longest catch on an 80-yard touchdown again against Arky. He threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Michael Williams against Florida in 2010. Maze was an intricate part in getting the Crimson Tide two crystal footballs.

Tyrone Prothro (2003-2005) Though his career was cut short by a devastating injury in the 31-3 win over Florida (5 rec, 134 yds, 2 TD), Prothro still brings up fond memories among Bama fans far and wide. Most memorable was his amazing catch around the helmet of a Southern Miss defender. He ran for a 21-yard TD against Mississippi State and returned a a kickoff 100-yards for a score against Kentucky in his 2004 sophomore campaign.

In 2 seasons plus 5 games, he amassed 58 receptions, 863 rec yds, 14.9 ypc, and 7 all-purpose TDs. Never complaining or giving up, Prothro stayed on at the University and received his bachelor's degree in 2008. (Of course his candidacy is as a healthy receiver.)