Editor’s note: Coming off its fourth national championship in seven seasons, Alabama returns a ton of talent, and has a great opportunity to repeat as champions in 2016.
Over the next few weeks, SEC Country will take a look at Alabama’s 25 most important players. Obviously, there’ll be coaches and other key members around the program who’ll have a big impact on the team’s success. But this list is strictly for the top 25 players for the Crimson Tide heading into 2016.
16. ArDarius Stewart
It’s hard to truly put a value on a player like Stewart because he does so many things that often get overshadowed in the big picture. He’s a great blocker, and is probably the best non-offensive lineman blocker on the team. He makes tough, contested catches in key situations (see Tennessee and Clemson).
Stewart is the type of player every coach would like to have on their teams. The former 4-star prospect doesn’t seem to care about the headlines. He just goes out and does his job.
Last season, Stewart totaled 700 receiving yards and four touchdowns on 63 receptions.
Stewart seemed to raise his level of play this spring. During Alabama’s first spring scrimmage, Stewart led the receivers with seven catches for 100 yards, including touchdown grabs of 40 and 18 yards.
This year, Stewart will be one of the veteran receivers tasked with leading the group for Alabama. Alabama has a ton of talent at receiver, and there’s a chance this could be the best group during Nick Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa. Stewart will play a big part in the group’s success this season.
We’re assassins. We’re the ones who come down when you need something clutch. We’re going down there, going up for the ball up and sacrificing our bodies, all that. I consider the receivers assassins, and I tell them that all the time. — Stewart on Alabama’s receiver group
Coming Monday: A powerful defensive lineman