University of Alabama

Alabama great Bobby Humphrey enjoys watching son establish own legacy

Former Alabama running back Bobby Humphrey, left, and current secondary coach Derrick Ansley sign autographs for fans at the Chattahoochee Valley Bama Club annual spring dinner Monday night at the Green Island Country Club in Columbus.
Former Alabama running back Bobby Humphrey, left, and current secondary coach Derrick Ansley sign autographs for fans at the Chattahoochee Valley Bama Club annual spring dinner Monday night at the Green Island Country Club in Columbus. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Bobby Humphrey’s name is still all over the University of Alabama’s record books.

The former Alabama running back, a two-time All-American, set a then-single season rushing record for the Crimson Tide with 1,471 yards in 1986. It’s down to fourth on the list now, but he’s the only player in the top 10 listed twice.

He is one of Alabama’s career rushing leaders — his 3,420 yards are third on the list — and appears three times on the list of top single game performances.

Humphrey remains proud of his accomplishments, but doesn’t spend much time thinking of himself as a former player these days.

With his son Marlon Humphrey starting in the Crimson Tide’s secondary, Bobby Humphrey’s perspective on football has changed.

“It’s a different level of excitement,” Humphrey said. “When you are playing the game you are so involved in the outcome, you have to control your emotions. I’m not a former player when it comes to watching the game now. I’m just a fan, I can let myself go.”

The Birmingham native was a featured guest at the annual Chattahoochee Valley Bama Club spring dinner Monday night along with defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley and university president Dr. Stuart Bell.

Before speaking at the Green Island Country Club, Humphrey smiled describing the experience of watching Marlon start for Alabama in a 45-40 win over Clemson for the national title.

“Unbelievable,” Humphrey said. “I was very happy to enjoy that moment with him and be able to enjoy it with my wife. It’s an appreciation. I never won a championship playing football at any level.”

In the national title game, Marlon Humphrey recovered the Tide’s onside kick in the fourth quarter and had five tackles, one for a loss, with two pass breakups. Winning a championship was one of the goals Humphrey set for himself before stepping on campus two years ago.

“He’s trying to achieve greatness,” Bobby Humphrey said. “He has a goal of being an All-American, he has team goals and other individual goals. He wrote them all down before he got there and he set those goals high.”

The former five-star defensive back out of Hoover High School made the freshman All-SEC Team with 45 tackles, three interceptions, eight pass breakups and two forced fumbles. He is one of the players in Alabama’s secondary expecting to help replace Cyrus Jones.

“He’s got a bunch of natural skills, he’s a very, very talented guy, but he just has to continue to grow at his position and become a technician so to speak,” Ansley said.

Bobby Humphrey can’t wait to be in the stands for the next chapter in his son’s playing career, a career that the elder Humphrey believes will “stand on its own.”

“He didn’t go to the university to challenge what I did, he went to University of Alabama to establish his own legacy,” Humphrey said. “I think that’s very special about him. He wasn’t fearful of the things I accomplished or worried about comparisons.”

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