Alabama football: 5 most underrated players in Crimson Tide history

DeMeco Ryans, Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
DeMeco Ryans, Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Alabama football underrated players
Sylvester Croom. (Photo by NFL Photos) /

These five former Alabama football stars are severely underrated.

Wait, what? Are there underrated players in the history of Alabama football?

While that might come as a shock to many of you, there have been men to star for the Crimson Tide who don’t get the recognition they probably deserved. When you sign up to play for arguably the greatest college football program of all time, you have to be extraordinary to really stand out, even among fellow greatness.

In the proud history of Alabama football, they have claimed 17 national championships, won 31 conference championships and won 42 bowl games. Two former players have won the Heisman Trophy, 20 have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and 74 have been deemed consensus All-Americans at some point in their college careers.

For a program that has seen so much winning, it’s almost unfair for other programs to look in Alabama’s direction. It’s even more challenging if you played for the Crimson Tide during down periods for the program. Sadly, even truly great players end up getting lost in the shuffle at a place like Alabama, even if they are a big part of winning teams. There’s too much greatness to go around.

Here are the five most underrated stars in Alabama football history.

Pick Analysis. (1972-74). 5. player. 829. Scouting Report. C. Sylvester Croom

Sylvester Croom should not be on this list, but here we are. Croom grew up in Tuscaloosa, as his father Sylvester Croom Sr. was the team chaplain for the University of Alabama football team under Paul “Bear” Bryant. After starring in-town at Tuscaloosa High playing linebacker and tight end, the younger Croom committed to play for Bryant, where he would become a star center.

During his senior year in 1974, Croom was named team captain, an All-American and took home the Jacobs Blocking Trophy. Croom was an SEC Champion all three years he played for Bryant, winning a national title in 1973. After spending one season playing in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints, Croom began his iconic coaching career at his alma mater in 1976.

For the next 11 years, Croom coached the linebackers before transitioning into a running backs coach in the NFL for the bulk of his coaching profession. His two most notable coaching roles professionally were as the Detroit Lions offensive coordinator from 1997-2000 and the head football coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs from 2004-2008.

Like his father, Croom was a pioneer, as he became the first African-American head coach in the SEC. Sadly, Croom should have done that at Alabama instead of at Mississippi State. In 2003, he was a finalist for the head-coaching gig that went to former Alabama quarterback Mike Shula. Deep down, we all know it should have been Croom to be the monumental hire at his alma mater.