Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (2024)

Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (1)

Players making plays

AL.com's prep sports staff hasspent the summer analyzing the best high school players from the last 25 years at various positions, from beefy linemen to super-fast receivers. That dates back to the fall of 1992.

Today, we’ve got the definitive list – the top 25 players of the last 25 years, regardless of position. Do you think we got it right? Let us know in the comments.

You can also look back at the previous by position rankings:

RELATED:Top 25 WRs of last 25 years

RELATED:Top 25 DBs of last 25 years

RELATED:Top 25 RBs of last 25 years

RELATED:Top 25 QBs of last 25 years

RELATED:Top 25 linemen of last 25 years

RELATED:Top 25 LBs of last 25 years

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (2)

Phillip Barr | AL.com file

25. Tim Castille, RB/WR/KR, Briarwood Christian

AtBriarwood Christian,Castille was a first-team All-State receiver as an eighth-grader, freshman and sophom*ore before taking on more ball carrying duties and earning All-State nods as an athlete (junior) and running back (senior). Yep, that makes him the rare five-time All-State player. He ranks third in AHSAA history in both receptions (243, 41 of which went for touchdowns) and receiving yards (4,122). Castille was a member of the Super 12 in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Castille's brother, Simeon, made AL.com's list of the top 25 defensive backs in the past 25 years. Castille went to Alabama and was used mostly as a short-yardage back and he then spent four seasons in the NFL as a fullback.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (3)

Hal Yeager | AL.com file

24. Rolando McClain, LB, Decatur

McClainhas suffered more than his share of legal problems despite being selected No. 8 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. But before his off-the-field problems, McClain was a prep star atDecatur. As a senior, he posted 106 tackles and was a Parade All-American. He was also a standout basketball player.

And at Alabama, he earned the 2009 Butkus Award as a member of Alabama's BCS national championship team.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (4)

John David Mercer | AL.com file

23. Jameis Winston, QB, Hueytown

Winston was named Gatorade state player of the year and a Parade All-American after his senior season at Hueytownin 2011 in which he threw for 2,424 yards and 28 touchdowns, and ran for 1,063 yards and 15 scores. He is the only Alabama quarterback to have been selected for the Under-Armour All-America Game. Winston is fourth all-time in career total offense (9,853), sixth in completion percentage (59.5) and tied for 10th in touchdowns accounted for (103). Winston won the Heisman Trophy during a controversy-laden career at Florida State and is currently the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Bucs.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (5)

Phillip Holman | AL.com file

22. Brodie Croyle, QB, Westbrook Christian

If not for bad luck, Croyle may hold multiple career passing records. Despite suffering a season-ending ACL tear in the first game of his senior year at Westbrook Christianin 2000, Croyle ranks second all-time in touchdown passes (105), fourth in yards (9,321) and 11th in completions (527). His 3,787 passing yards in 1998 is the fourth-highest single-season total in state history, and his 44 touchdowns that year are tied for the fourth-highest. Croyle set the state record for passing yards in a game that season with 528, a mark that stood until 2005. He signed with Alabama and later played in the NFL.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (6)

Bernard Troncale | AL.com file

21. Saleem Rasheed, LB, Shades Valley

Rasheed starred at Shades Valleyin suburban Birmingham, helping the Mounties advance to the Class 6A semifinals. He signed with Alabama and later played in the NFL. But his post-football life hasn't been a fairytale.In 2013, Saleem Rasheed began serving a sentence after pleading guilty to having sex with two students at Woodlawnwhile he was a teacher at the school.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (7)

Joe Songer | jsonger@al.com

20. Mac Campbell, RB, Alexandria

The 1997 Mr. Football winner is still the AHSAA record holder for yards in a career with 9,839. His career spanned from 1993 to 1997. His best season was his last when he rushed for 2,596 yards for the Valley Cubs. He ran for 2,000 yards or more in three straight seasons. He scored 36 touchdowns as a senior, 37 as a junior and 35 as a sophom*ore. His 1,157 career carries are a state record and his 153 TDs is second only behind Wadley's Terrance Wilkes. He was the Class 4A Player of the Year in three straight seasons. He signed with UAB.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (8)

AL.com file

19. Justin Tuck, TE/DL, Central-Coosa

At tinyCentral-Coosain Rockford, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Tuck was known as a high-flying basketball player who happened to earn All-State and Super 12 honors in 2000. He played on both sides of the ball, excelling as a tight end and defensive end/linebacker. He signed with Notre Dame, added 50 pounds and became a pass-rushing defensive end and set a Notre Dame record with 24½ career sacks. He won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants and finished his NFL career with 66½ sacks.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (9)

Chip English | AL.com file

18. D.J. Fluker, OL, Foley

Fluker rose to prominence as a sophom*ore defensive lineman atMcGill-Toolen, but a family move and Hurricane Katrina left him inFoley. A massive 6-foot-6, 350-pounder, he was named a Parade and U.S. Army All-American. He then went on to a standout career at Alabama, became a first-round NFL draft pick and remains in the NFL today.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (10)

Mike Kittrell | AL.com file

17. Reese Dismukes, OL, Spanish Fort

When Spanish Fort won its first state title in 2010, theSpanish Fortoffense basically followed big No. 75. A road-grading run blocker from his center position, he finished runner-up in Mr. Football balloting. Dismukes signed with Auburn and won the Rimington Award as the nation's top center. He then spent time on NFL practice squads for Pittsburgh, Carolina and Denver.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (11)

John David Mercer | AL.com file

16. JaMarcus Russell, QB, Williamson

Russell is the AHSAA's all-time leader in passing yards with 10,774. He led Williamsonto the state title game as a freshman. Following his senior season in 2002, Russell was named Mr. Football, Gatorade state player of the year and Parade All-American. He signed with Nick Saban at LSU and was later the overall No. 1 draft pick in the NFL, but washed out of the league quickly and is considered one of the biggest busts in pro football history.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (12)

Dennis Victory | preps@al.com

15. Marlon Humphrey, DB, Hoover

Humphrey was a Parade and Under-Armour All-American for the Bucs in 2013. He was a three-time first-team ASWA All-State selection and helped Hooverto state titles in both 2012 and 2013. As a senior, he registered 44 tackles, three interceptions and four pass breakups. He intercepted four passes as a junior and six as a sophom*ore, three of which he returned for touchdowns. He played at Alabama, was a first-round NFL pick and is now in his rookie NFL season.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (13)

Mary Hattler | AL.com file

14. Deandre Green, WR, Blount

At Blount, Green set the AHSAA all-time record fortouchdown catches with 59. He finished with 204 receptions for 3,212 yards. Green was the Class 5A Back of the Year and a member of the Super 12 in 1998. He made the All-State team three times. Green signed with Auburn but was dismissed from the team before making an impact.

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Chip English | AL.com file

13. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Daphne

Yeldon capped a superb Daphnecareer by rushing for 2,193 yards and 31 touchdowns on 232 carries as a senior, an average of 9.5 yards per carry. He also caught 19 passes for 506 yards and a TD. He was named the state's Mr. Football that season. As a junior, Yeldon ran for 1,112 yards and 18 TDs and caught 34 passes for 504 yards and five TDs as the Trojans won the Class 6A state title. He finished his high school career with 4,653 total yards and 65 rushing touchdowns. He had 6,155 yards from scrimmage and 73 total TDs. He played three seasons at Alabama and was then a second-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (15)

Scott Donaldson | AL.com

12. Reuben Foster, LB, Auburn

Foster played just one season at Auburn High, after transferring from Troup County (Ga.), and became a recruiting sensation. On the high school field, few players proved to a dominant player and recorded 80 tackles - 70 solos - with two sacks as his school reached the Class 6A quarterfinals. He signed with Alabama after one of the most intense and publicized recruiting odysseys in Alabama prep history, won the Butkus Award last year, and is now a rookie in the NFL.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (16)

AL.com file

11. Demarco McNeil, DL, Blount

The 6-foot-2, 300-pounder won the Mr. Football award in 1998, and he remains the only defensive player to ever win it. He helpedBlountwin three straight AHSAA Class 5A titles from 1996-98 before signing with Auburn. Slowed by knee injuries, he became an All-SEC defensive lineman at Auburn (No. 92 above) before becoming a college coach.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (17)

Mark Almond | AL.com

10. Stanford Simmons, DB, Clay County

Simmons was a three-time first team ASWA All-State selection (1994, 1995, 1996) and a Parade All-American as a senior. He had eight interceptions as a senior and was named to the ASWA Super 12 and the Birmingham News Super All-State team. He helped lead Clay County to three state titles and a 55-game win streak. He played at Auburn, after facing major academic hurdles, and then briefly transferred to North Alabama.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (18)

Mark Almond | AL.com

9. Dre Kirkpatrick, DB, Gadsden City

Kirkpatrick was considered the No. 1 cornerback in the country out of Gadsden Cityin 2008. He was a Parade, USA Today and U.S. Army All-American. He was named the ASWA Class 6A Back of the Year. He finished his high school career with 193 tackles, 17 interceptions (three returned for TDs), 36 pass breakups and two sacks. He also had a punt return TD, a kickoff return TD and a receiving. He played at Alabama is now in his sixth NFL season.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (19)

Hal Yeager | AL.com file

8. Chad Jackson, WR, Hoover

Jackson was a 2003 Parade All-American, the 2002 Class 6A Back of the Year and a two-time member of the Super 12. He caught 202 passes for 3,553 yards and 40 touchdowns at Hoover. Jackson was rated five stars and the No. 2 receiver in the nation by Rivals. He signed with Florida and was drafted by the New England Patriots, but injuries ended his career afterhe caught just 14 passes in three seasons.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (20)

Kate Reali | AL.com file

7. Chris Samuels, OL, Shaw

The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Samuels emerged as one of the state’s top prospects at now-closed Shaw High in Mobile before going to Alabama and becoming a four-year starter. He won the Outland Trophy and Jacobs Trophy in 1999, when he paved the way for Alabama’s SEC title and running back Shuan Alexander’s Heisman campaign. He started all of his 141 NFL games and was a six-time Pro Bowler before retiring with a neck injury in 2009.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (21)

AL.com file

6. Willie Anderson, OL, Vigor

One of the truly elite left tackles ever, Anderson played offensive line atVigorin the early 1990s, went on to be an All-American at Auburn and a later was a five-time Pro Bowl selection in the NFL. A 6-foot-4, 340-pounder, he played 12 NFL season and started 184 of 195 games. Vigor went 31-7 in his final three seasons of HS football.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (22)

Bob Gathany | bgathany@al.com

5. Kerryon Johnson, RB/DB, Madison Academy

The 2014 Mr. Football is the first player to make a pair of AL.com Top 25 lists, ranking No. 4 on the list of top 25 running backs and No. 6 on the list of the top 25 defensive backs of the last 25 years. He finished his Madison Academycareer with 19 interceptions and is also the AHSAA career leader in interception returns for a touchdown with eight. As a running back, Johnson led the Mustangs to three straight state championships. He rushed for 1,659 yards and 25 TDs as a senior and set at Super 7 record with six touchdowns in the championship game. He finished his prep career with 5,274 yards rushing and 109 total touchdowns. Johnson currently plays running back at Auburn.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (23)

AL.com file

4. Carnell "Cadillac" Williams

Mr. Football 2000, Williams rushed for 2,620 yards and 38 touchdowns as a senior. As a junior, he helped Etowahto an undefeated 14-0 season and a state title. That year, he ran for 1,729 yards and 23 touchdowns. He finished his Blue Devil career with a total of 6,543 yards and 92 touchdowns. Williams was a three-time first-team Class 5A all-state selection and a two-time Back of the Year. The future Auburn star was a Parade All-American as a senior. He starred at Auburn, was a first-round pick by the Tampa Bay Bucs, won the NFL Rookie of the Year award but his career ended after seven seasons because of injuries.

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (24)

Victor Calhoun | AL.com file

3. C.J. Mosley, LB, Theodore

C.J. Mosley is the player that all linebackers playing Alabama high school football are judged by. As a senior, he set a Theodore record with 186 tackles, earning a spot on the 6A All-State Team for the second time in as many years. Mosley enjoyed similar success at Alabama. And now, he's entering his fourth season in the NFL, starring for the Baltimore Ravens.

RELATED:C.J. Mosley should have been Mr. Football

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C.J. Mosley's high school highlights

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (25)

AL.com file

2. Andre Smith, OL, Huffman

There's a legend that an opposing defensive lineman ran away from Smith during a game during his senior season atHuffman, rather than try to deal with the massive mauler. Smith is the only offensive lineman to every win the Mr. Football award, he became an All-American at Alabama, and he was a first-round NFL draft pick. He's still in the NFL.

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Andre Smith's high school highlights

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (26)

John David Mercer | AL.com file

1. Julio Jones, WR, Foley

The best playmaker since Jackson-Olin's David Palmer, Jones was the 2007 Mr. Football, Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year, a Parade All-American and he played in the Under Armour All-America Game. He was also on the Super 12 as a junior. Jones' career numbers at Foleyinclude 194 catches for 3,287 yards and 43 touchdowns (tied for ninth in AHSAA history). He was rated five stars, the nation's top receiver and fourth overall recruit by Rivals. Jones starred at Alabama and now stars for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.

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Julio Jones' high school highlights

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Bama's best 25 HS players of the last 25 years (2024)
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