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47 Days ‘Til Alabama Football: John Mangum was the ultimate playmaker

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Fan favorite Mangum still holds a ton of Alabama records

John Mangum
Baby face and a killer’s heart

The Mangum family are a dynastic Southern football family in the vein of the Mannings, the Goodes and Tennessee’s puntin’ Colquitts. We know the sons — John, Kris and Jake — however, the legacy began with Big John Mangum, a stalwart defensive tackle on Southern Miss teams that led the nation in defense in the mid-60s. As good as Pops was with the Golden Eagles, John was even better in Alabama’s defensive backfield. This was my favorite player as a kid.

A Ray Perkins recruit, John Mangum came to Alabama from Magee, Mississippi in 1986. The 5’10”, 179-pound corner was far more physical and athletic than his size would indicate, and John was able to work his way onto the field as a freshman, playing in all 12 games and notching an interception.

In his second year, Mangum exploded on to the scene. As a sophomore, he recorded 5 interceptions that season, good for second in the SEC....then, he did it again in 1988...then he did it again in 1989. For his career, Mangum tallied 16 total picks. That is still 2nd in Alabama History, 3rd all-time in SEC history, and 5th in NCAA history.

Mangum had excellent leaping ability and was very smart reading the quarterback. Since he was a bit undersized, he wasn’t always able to get the pick, but if he didn’t one of two things happened: either he absolutely destroyed wide receivers or he batted passes down.

Mangum was one of the hardest hitters in the secondary in Alabama’s long history, and was the best with the ball in the air.His instincts that made him not just a shutdown corner, but an historically elite defender. His 47 passes broken up/defensed rank first all-time in Alabama history. He also holds the UA record for PBUs in a game (6) and for a season (24.) His 231 bone-jarring tackles are first all-time for a ‘Bama corner.

There are, alas, no highlight for John. But enjoy watching him fly around on the Bill Curry Show. Alabama (No. 4) secured a share of the 1989 SEC title with this win in Baton Rouge

John was drafted in the 1990 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He spent nine years in the Windy City before retiring in 1999. John’s son Jake is a pitcher with Mississippi State. His brother Kris was a tight end at Alabama, winning an SEC and national title with the Tide. He then transferred to Ole Miss, where he is their third all-time leading receiver. Like John in Chicago, Kris had a nearly-decade long NFL career (Carolina Panthers.) He lives back in Mississippi these days and is Sr. VP for Captrust Advisors, a financial services corporation in Jackson.

And he still looks like he could lay you out.

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47 days ‘til Alabama football.

Roll Tide