Ross Pierschbacher was the 73rd-rated recruit in the Class of 2014. The 4 star recruit from Cedar Falls, Iowa committed to the University of Iowa in January of 2013, but that wouldn’t last. The Alabama staff convinced him to come to the Capstone, and he flipped to the Tide in August.
Pierschbacher stuck with that pledge and joined Cam Robinson, Josh Casher (you can and should read Erik’s salute to him here), Dominick Jackson, and Montel McBride (who wound up going the JUCO route after not qualifying). Pierschbacher redshirted that freshman season, and that’s the last rest he would get.
With the loss of Arie Kouandjio after 2014, the left guard position opened up. Pierschbacher was slotted in there in spring practice, and he locked the position down. He started all 15 games that season and earned All-SEC Freshman honors while winning his first national championship.
After the 2015 season, the staff moved Pierschbacher to center - a move that sparked me to write my first film room and submit it as a fanpost on RBR. The move looked like it would stick; however, near the end of fall practice, Pierschbacher slid over to right guard while Bradley Bozeman took over the center spot while Lester Cotton tried his hand at left guard. This lasted just three weeks before Pierschbacher flipped back to the left side. Again, he started every game and earned Second Team All-SEC honors this time while starting in his second straight national championship.
2017 rolled around, and Pierschbacher remained entrenched at left guard. However, before the season started, he graduated completing the first of three goals he set for himself.
“I wrote down three goals (coming out of high school) and posted it on my mirror in the bathroom,” said Pierschabcher, who is from Iowa. “It said, ‘Get drafted, graduate in three years and get my master’s.’
During the season, he was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after the win against Vanderbilt - when Bama rushed for 496 yards - and the staff named him one of the offensive players of the week against Tennessee and then Auburn. This season also saw Pierschbacher miss his first game. He suffered an ankle injury against Mississippi State and sat out the Mercer contest entirely.
Pierschbacher was on the bench to start the Iron Bowl as well, but a concussion knocked his replacement, J.C. Hassenauer out of the game. So Pierschbacher stepped up and went in. He was ready to go for the playoffs and started in his third straight national championship. Oh, and he nabbed First Team All-SEC honors this time.
Bradley Bozeman, Alabama’s starting center, exhausted his eligibility; so the staff brought back the Pierschbacher-to-center move. After 42 career starts at guard, Pierschbacher started every game at center and joined some rarefied air. Those 57 starts are the most in college football history, and he’s one of just three players (J.K. Scott and Clemson’s Mitch Hyatt are the other two) to hit that mark.
The accolades and accomplishments didn’t stop there. Pierschbacher is believed to be the only player to start in four straight national championships. He was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy. He was named a First Team All-American by The Sporting News and Second Team by the Associated Press and Sports Illustrated. And, most importantly, he completed the second of his stated goals, earning his master’s degree.
As for his third goal, getting drafted, Pierschbacher was one of two Bama players invited to the Senior Bowl. With the added benefit of having experience at all three interior positions, Pierschbacher should hear his name called in April.
Congrats on a great career, Ross, and Roll Tide.