Nick Saban Names 1 Of Alabama’s Most Important Players Ever

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Nick Saban has coached a plethora of eventual NFL stars during his time in Tuscaloosa, most of whom left a profound impact on Alabama football. One of Saban’s players in particular stands out, though.

Saban revealed during his press conference on Thursday that Julio Jones, his former wide receiver, is one of the “most important” players in Alabama history. Why? The former college football star helped implement the championship culture Saban was attempting to build during his early days with the Crimson Tide.

Jones joined Alabama football after the Crimson Tide went 7-6 in 2007. He made an immediate impact his freshman year when he caught 58 passes for 924 yards and four touchdowns. Alabama went 12-2 that year. Jones didn’t just contribute by catching passes, though.

Saban detailed on Thursday how Jones helped implement a “culture of toughness” from the moment he stepped on campus. Despite having a major role on offense, Jones still played a major role on the Crimson Tide’s special teams. It was that type of mentality Saban was hoping for – and got – from his players early on in Tuscaloosa.

“There’s nobody that we’ve had that was a better leader or did more to enhance the culture of toughness, giving effort, finishing plays, being a great competitor than Julio Jones did,” Saban said, via Saturday Down South. “I mean, he used to run down on kickoffs and wouldn’t come off the kickoff team during the games, and he’s one of the best receivers in the nation.

“So from a culture standpoint, from an impact standpoint in the early years, there were a lot of guys that made a great impact, but Julio was one that probably led the way as much as anyone.”

Believe it or not, Alabama hasn’t won fewer than 10 games since that 2008 season that Julio Jones stepped on campus. Not even Nick Saban could have imagined how much success the Crimson Tide would have 13 years later.

Alabama is once again the favorite to win this season’s national championship. The Crimson Tide dominated Miami in a 44-13 blowout last Saturday.

Nick Saban and the Tide get back to work this Saturday against Mercer.

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