The Saban 250, Bonus: The Ultimate All-Saban Team at Alabama

BamaCentral marks the end of the Nick Saban coaching era with the definitive rankings of his top 250 players with the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Nov 4, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban runs onto the field before their game against the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Nov 4, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban runs onto the field before their game against the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium. / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
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How good was Alabama under Nick Saban? My first All-Saban Team, which included players from his previous coaching stops, was published in 2010. The program developed so quickly that the initial Crimson Tide version was composed in 2012.

From there it basically came down to updates and adding second-team selections, and so on. Consequently, instead of doing position rankings for The Saban 250, it seemed fitting to do a final All-Saban team, and have it go five teams deep.

There are a couple of things that are unique to this version in addition to the quality of unprecedented depth.

  • There are 11 players on offense, 11 on defense, and four specialists on each team. No one is listed at more that one spot. The aim was to get the best overall players as close to the top as possible, so the return specialists are at times more reflective of general impact.
  • Similarly, the RB/TE slot was an effort to promote the best players . Think of it this way, if someone had to coach the offense and only had 11 slots, would he rather have a second running back or a tight end?
  • The WR/RB was basically the best remaining playmaker. However, no more than two running backs were listed on any offense.
  • OLB/DB reflects Saban’s defensive approach, which often utilized a fifth defensive back in the nickel package in obvious passing situations. The nod went to the next player in the rankings between linebackers and defensive backs.

There is one place that we went out of order, the fifth-team OLB/DB. Tim Williams was not the next player up, but selected as more of a pass-rushing specialist. There’s also a unique selection at the end in special teams.

1. First Team

Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Jonathan Allen returns a fumble in the College Football Playoff
Dec 31, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (93) runs after recovering a fumble during the first quarter of the 2016 CFP Semifinal against the Washington Huskies at the Georgia Dome. Alabama defeated Washington 24-7. / Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

QB: Bryce Young, QB, 2020-22
RB: Derrick Henry, RB, 2013-15
RB/TE: Mark Ingram II, RB, 2008-10
WR: DeVonta Smith, WR, 2017-20
WR: Julio Jones, WR, 2008-10
WR/RB: Amari Cooper, WR, 2012-14
T: Andre Smith, T, 2007-08
T: Cam Robinson, T, 2014-16
C: Ryan Kelly, C, 2012-15
G: Barrett Jones, OL, 2009-12
G: Chance Warmack, G, 2009-12

DL: Jonathan Allen, DE, 2013-16
DL: Quinnen Williams, DT, 2017-18
DL: Da'Ron Payne, DT, 2015-17
ILB: C.J. Mosley, LB, 2010-13
ILB: Rolando McClain, LB, 2007-09
OLB: Will Anderson Jr., OLB, 2020-22
OLB/DB: Dallas Turner, OLB, 2021-23
CB: Patrick Surtain II, CB, 2018-220
CB: Marlon Humphrey, CB, 2015-16
S: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, 2015-17
S: Mark Barron, S, 2008-11

K: Will Reichard, K, 2019-23
P: JK Scott, P, 2014-17
RS: Javier Arenas, DB/RS, 2007-09
LS: Thomas Fletcher, LS, 2017-20

2. Second Team

Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy scores a touchdown for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (4) scores a touchdown against New Mexico State defensive back Austin Perkins (19) at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday September 7, 2019. / Mickey Welsh, Montgomery Advertiser via

QB: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, 2017-19
RB: Najee Harris, RB, 2017-20
RB/TE: Trent Richardson, RB, 2009-11
WR: Jerry Jeudy, WR, 2017-19
WR: Jaylen Waddle, WR, 2018-20
WR/RB: Calvin Ridley, WR, 2015-17
T: Jonah Williams, T, 2016-18
T: Jedrick Wills Jr., T, 2017-19
C: Landon Dickerson, OL, 2019-20
G: Alex Leatherwood, OL, 2017-20
G: Evan Neal, T, 2019-21

DL: Terrence Cody, DT, 2008-09
DL: A'Shawn Robinson, DT, 2013-15
DL:  Marcell Dareus, DT, 2008-10
ILB: Dont'a Hightower, LB, 2008-11
ILB: Reuben Foster, LB, 2013-16
OLB: Courtney Upshaw, LB. 2008-11
OLB/DB: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, 2009-11
CB: Dee Milliner, CB, 2010-12
CB: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, 2021-23
S: Landon Collins, S, 2012-14
S: Rashad Johnson, S, 2007-08

K: Leigh Tiffin, K, 2007-09
P: James Burnip, P, 2021-23*
RS: Jameson Williams, 2021
LS: Cole Mazza, LS, 2013-16

3. Third Team

Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Terrion Arnold breaks up a pass at Texas A&M.
Oct 7, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Terrion Arnold (3) defends against a pass intended for Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Ainias Smith (0) during the fourth quarter at Kyle Field. / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

QB: AJ McCarron, QB, 2010-13
RB: T.J. Yeldon, RB, 2012-14
RB/TE: O.J. Howard, TE, 2013-16
WR: John Metchie III, WR, 2019-21
WR: Henry Ruggs III, WR, 2017-19
WR/RB:  Damien Harris, RB, 2015-18
T: DJ Fluker, T, 2010-12
T: Cyrus Kouandjio, T, 2011-13
C: Antoine Caldwell, C, 2007-08
G: Mike Johnson, G, 2007-09
G: JC Latham, OL, 2021-23

DL: Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, 2013-16
DL: Jarran Reed, DT, 2014-15
DL: Raekwon Davis, DL, 2016-19
ILB:  Reggie Ragland, LB, 2012-15
ILB: Rashaan Evans, LB, 2014-17
OLB: Ryan Anderson, LB, 2013-16
OLB/DB: Brian Branch, DB, 2020-22
CB: Terrion Arnold, CB, 2021-23
CB: Kareem Jackson, CB, 2007-09
S: Eddie Jackson, DB, 2013-16
S: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, 2011-13

K: Adam Griffith, K, 2013-16
P: Cody Mandell, P, 2010-13
RS: Josh Jacobs, RB, 2016-18
LS: Carson Tinker, LS, 2010-12

4. Fourth Team

Alabama Crimson Tide place kicker Jeremy Shelley lines up a field-goal attempt at Arkansas.
Sep 15, 2012; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide place kicker Jeremy Shelley (5) prepares to kick during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Alabama defeated Arkansas 52-0. / Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

QB: Mac Jones, QB, 2018-20
RB: Glen Coffee, RB, 2005-08
RB/TE: Eddie Lacy, RB, 2010-12
WR: ArDarius Stewart, WR, 2014-16
WR: Jermaine Burton, WR, 2022-23
WR/RB: Marquis Maze, WR, 2008-11
T: Tyler Steen, T, 2022
T: James Carpenter, T, 2009-10
C: Bradley Bozeman, OL, 2014-17
G: Ross Pierschbacher, OL, 2015-18
G: Tyler Booker, G, 2022-23*

DL: Christian Barmore, DT, 2019-20
DL: Phidarian Mathis, DL, 2018-20a
DL: Byron Young, DL, 2019-22
ILB: Christian Harris, LB, 2019-22
ILB: Henry To'oTo'o, ILB, 2021-22
OLB: Anfernee Jennings, LB, 2016-19
OLB/DB: Jordan Battle, DB, 2019-22
CB: Trevon Diggs, CB, 2016-19
CB: Anthony Averett, DB, 2015-17
S: Xavier McKinney, S, 2017-19
S: Ronnie Harrison, S, 2015-17

K: Jeremy Shelley, K, 2010-12
P: P.J. Fitzgerald, P, 2007-09
RS: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, 2022
LS: Kneeland Hibbett, LS, 2021-23*

5. Fifth Team

Alabama Crimson Tide running back Brian Robinson Jr. in the BCS Championship Game
Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) runs the ball against Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Kelee Ringo (5) during the third quarter of the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

QB: Jalen Hurts, QB, 2016-18
RB: Brian Robinson Jr., RB, 2017-20
RB/TE: Irv Smith Jr., TE, 2016-18
WR: Kevin Norwood, WR, 2010--13
WR: DJ Hall, WR, 2007
WR: Christion Jones, WR/RS, 2012-15
T: Kadyn Proctor, OL, 2023*
T: Austin Shepherd, OL, 2011-14
C: William Vlachos, C, 2008-11
G: Emil Ekiyor Jr., OL, 2019-22
G: Arie Kouandjio, G, 2012-14

DL: Justin Eboigbe, DE, 2019-23
DL: Josh Chapman, DT, 2008-11
DL: Isaiah Buggs, DT, 2017-18
ILB: Dylan Moses, LB, 2017-20
ILB: Mack Wilson, LB, 2016-18
OLB: Chris Braswell, OLB, 2020-23
OLB/DB: Tim Williams, OLB, 2013-16+
CB: Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB, 2019-21
CB: Cyrus Jones, DB/RS, 2012-15
S: Caleb Downs, S, 2023
S: Deionte Thompson, S, 2016-18

K/P: Andy Pappanastos, K, 2016-17
Holder: Greg McElroy, QB, 2008-10 #
RS: Kenyan Drake, RB, 2012-15
LS: Brian Selman, LS, 2007-09

# Years after his career had ended, Greg McElroy had Nick Saban on one of his shows and they joked about whether the former quarterback could still play on the Crimson Tide. They settled on one position, holder.  

See also: The Saban 250 Official Rankings Cheat Sheet


Published
Christopher Walsh

CHRISTOPHER WALSH

Christopher Walsh is the founder and publisher of BamaCentral, which first published in 2018. He's covered the Crimson Tide since 2004, and is the author of 26 books including Decade of Dominance, 100 Things Crimson Tide Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die, Nick Saban vs. College Football, and Bama Dynasty: The Crimson Tide's Road to College Football Immortality. He's an eight-time honoree of Football Writers Association of America awards and three-time winner of the Herby Kirby Memorial Award, the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s highest writing honor for story of the year. In 2022, he was named one of the 50 Legends of the ASWA. Previous beats include the Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, along with Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks. Originally from Minnesota and a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, he currently resides in Tuscaloosa.