The University of Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, the University of Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, and Ohio State University’s C.J. Stroud all had impressive seasons this year in college football. At the end of the day though, it was a Crimson Tide star who brought home the school’s fourth Heisman Trophy back to Tuscaloosa, quarterback Bryce Young.
Stepping into the spotlight after the likes of Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones dominated under center was no easy challenge, but Young asserted himself on the gridiron from game one. Due to Young’s stellar play, the Crimson Tide are on the precipice of winning another championship, and start their journey on New Years Eve with a game against the University of Cincinnati.
Alabama has been an NFL prospect factory for decades, but their run of success with regards to Heisman Trophy winners only got started in 2009. Let’s take a closer look at the four seasons that captured the Heisman for the Crimson Tide, ranked from four to one.
4. Mark Ingram-2009
Considering the storied history the program had, it was somewhat surprising that Mark Ingram was the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner in 2009. It was one of the closest votes in history, as Ingram just edged out Stanford running back Toby Gerhart for the honors. Ingram had 227 first place votes, to Gerhart’s 222. Ingram had a significant impact on the ground, rushing for 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns in his sophomore season. He was also a threat in the passing game as well, catching 32 passes for 334 yards and another three touchdowns.
3. DeVonta Smith-2020
We don’t have to strain our memory too much to remember DeVonta Smith’s memorable Heisman campaign of a year ago. The senior wide receiver had been a problem for opposing defenses throughout his entire career, playing with the likes of Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs. However, given a greater opportunity to shine in 2020, Smith took full advantage and then some, scoring an astonishing 23 touchdowns through the air on 117 receptions. In a year that was tumultuous to say the least because of the pandemic, Smith’s experience and talent allowed him to have a special campaign due to his comfort level in Alabama’s offense.
2. Bryce Young-2021
Ingram has had a very solid NFL career, and Smith is just starting what appears to be a very promising one with the Philadelphia Eagles. But Bryce Young’s Heisman Trophy season this year was probably better than the ones Ingram and Smith authored while in Tuscaloosa. Alabama’s offense lost four offensive players to the NFL in the 2021 Draft not including Mac Jones—Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Alex Leatherwood and Najee Harris. Even for a stalwart like the Tide, that’s a lot of proven talent to part ways with. Be that as it may, Young stepped in seamlessly for a team looking to re-ignite its explosive ways. He threw for 43 touchdowns to only four interceptions, and has come up big when it has mattered most so far.
1. Derrick Henry-2015
It turned out that Derrick Henry’s college career with the Crimson Tide was a perfect foreshadowing of what he was about to do in the NFL. In the SEC, he ran around, through, and over anyone who was willing to get in his way. Clocking in at a robust 6’3”, 242 pounds, Henry dictated the terms of the game by controlling the clock and wearing down defenses early on. He has the unique distinction of rushing for over 2,000 yards in a 16 game NFL season, and over 2,200 yards in a 15 game slate in college. In his Heisman Trophy-winning 2015 campaign, he punched in 28 touchdowns on the ground, on 395 carries. Henry was a man among boys then, just as he is today with the Tennessee Titans.