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Appreciating Alabama’s Blake Sims

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Sims' story, from changing positions to changing the Crimson Tide's offense to changing the status quo, is an impressive and important one.

The iconic Tua Tagovailoa just finished a college career for the ages. His impact and production will be talked about for years. Jalen Hurts' legacy is obviously another all-timer. At a place where it takes more that just milestones to make history, Blake Sims' 2014 season deserves to be reflected on as well. Often-overlooked given the superstar power that has come through Alabama during the Nick Saban dynasty, Sims was quite the impact player for the superpower program.

At one point a running back for the Crimson Tide, Sims went on to be a difference-maker, a leader and an example at quarterback for Alabama. His career is one worth celebrating.   

Sims actually finished 7th in the nation in passer rating as a senior, ahead of the likes of current NFLers Bryce Petty, Brett Hundley, Dak Prescott, Jared Goff and Jameis Winston. Furthermore, the only SEC quarterbacks this millennium with at least 28 passing touchdowns and seven rushing scores in a year are Chad Kelly, Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton, Dak Prescott, Tim Tebow and Sims; of that group, each of the players that finished with a higher passer rating won the Heisman Trophy.

In addition to leading the league in passer rating, Sims, in 2014, paced the conference in passing touchdowns and yards per pass attempt, ranking second in completion percentage. He did that while averaging over 4.2 yards per carry.

A September showdown with Florida resulted in Sims having one of the greatest single-game performances the SEC has ever seen. He threw for 445 yards, the second-most in school history at the time, and four touchdowns and averaged 13.5 yards per attempt on 70% passing. That season, the Gators finished in the national top ten in pass defense rating. Sims also scored five total touchdowns in helping Alabama score a series-tying 55 points, matching a total from 1948, in an Iron Bowl win over Auburn.   

Though Sims led the Crimson Tide to an SEC Championship and a College Football Playoff berth, he, unlike Tagovailoa, Hurts, Jake Coker, A.J. McCarron and Greg McElroy, did not win a national championship as a starter. Sims did, however, rush for 187 yards and two touchdowns and throw ten passes in helping Alabama to a national championship in 2012 and, rushing for 107 yards and catching two passes, helping the Crimson Tide to a national title in 2011 as well. Along the way, Sims, relatively-quietly, broke McCarron's single-season program passing mark.

Sims, as an African-American quarterback at Alabama, was also a powerful person and, even at a young age, a  role model. His story, from changing positions to changing the Crimson Tide's offense to changing the status quo, is an impressive and important one. That example will long remain even as the highlights, and there were amny, start to fade.  

Everyone, in some ways, simply blends into the media guide at Alabama. Sims is another name worth remembering.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports