Alabama football has been a family affair throughout its storied history, with royal names like Goode and Britt and Castille producing so many memorable players. The 2012 squad had four sets of brothers on the roster, and the current QB room includes Braxton Barker, son of legendary Alabama QB Jay, and Paul Tyson who is named after great grandfather Paul “Bear” Bryant. Freshman twins Tommy and James Brockermeyer are expected to be stalwarts on the offensive line in years to come.
Perhaps no other in Tide history, however, carries quite the star power of the name Humphrey.
Current middle aged Alabama fans were youngsters when Bobby Humphrey was toting the rock for Ray Perkins and then Bill Curry. The featured back on run heavy teams, Humphrey left school as the all time leading rusher in Alabama history with 3,420 yards, and now sits fourth behind Najee Harris, Derrick Henry and Shaun Alexander.
Bobby’s signature game was probably the 1987 effort against Penn State. He ran all over the Nittany Lions for 220 yards, including this phenomenal 73-yard scamper that has appeared on many a highlight reel through the years.
When his football days were done Bobby and wife Barbara, a former track athlete at UAB, raised their children in Hoover. All five inherited the athletic genes and, according to daughter Breona, were blissfully unaware of their father’s celebrity.
“He was never one to brag,” Breona said of her dad, football star Bobby Humphrey. “We saw the pictures, but we never considered the magnitude of how great he was and that he was a celebrity.
“When our friends came over and saw him, they would go crazy, and we were like, ‘What in the world?’ He was just dad to us. We slowly came to realize that our dad was a big deal,” Breona said, reflecting on her father’s legacy as Father’s Day approaches.
It became clear early in middle child Marlon’s athletic career that he would have the opportunity to follow in his father’s footsteps. A five-star cornerback in the 2014 class and an elite hurdler on the track, Marlon strongly considered heading south to Florida State. Fortunately, Nick Saban and company were able to convince him to stay home, where he chose to don his father’s old number.
After taking a redshirt year, Marlon starred on the 2015 national title squad and the more revered 2016 defense that came excruciatingly close to carrying the team to a repeat. His most iconic moment in Crimson came in the 2015 national title game.
We will never know if Alabama would have won that game without the onside kick, but it certainly would have been difficult.
Marlon left for the NFL after his junior season and was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. He was named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons.
Will Ogburn produced a great documentary about the Humphrey family a few years ago, which is embedded below for your enjoyment.
We are now 26 days from kickoff.