The Alabama Crimson Tide football program held its annual awards banquet last weekend. The press release from UA Athletics with the list of awards and players recognized is below. I’ve also included my comments on the awards in “Vince’s View” below the release.
Alabama Holds Football Awards Banquet
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Alabama football team held its annual awards banquet Sunday night at The Cahaba Grand Conference Center in Birmingham, Ala.
Alabama head football coach Nick Saban addressed an audience that included members of the team, coaching staff, administration and support staff following the awards session in which he recapped the 2010 season and stated the goals for the upcoming bowl game.
The complete list of award winners is as follows:
Iron Man Award:
Dee Milliner, Josh Chapman, Courtney Upshaw and Michael Williams
Commitment to Academic Excellence Award:
Mark Ingram, Barrett Jones, Brad Smelley, Trent Richardson, Cade Foster and Julio Jones
Outstanding Senior Scholar:
Greg McElroy and Drew Bullard
Unsung Hero Award:
Dre Kirkpatrick, Earl Alexander, Chavis Williams and Dequan Menzie
Outstanding Defensive Performer Award:
Mark Barron and Dont’a Hightower
Marcell Dareus and Courtney Upshaw; and from the offense Barrett Jones and William Vlachos
Most Inspiring Player:
Defensive Achievement Award:
Robert Lester, C.J. Mosley and Josh Chapman
Offensive Achievement Award:
Chance Warmack, Marquise Maze and Trent Richardson
Nick Gentry, Luther Davis, Darius Hanks and James Carpenter
Special Teams Award:
Brandon Gibson, Will Lowery and Trent Richardson
Defensive Player of the Year:
Dont’a Hightower and Mark Barron
Offensive Player of the Year:
Greg McElroy and Mark Ingram
Pat Trammell Award:
Preston Dial and David Ross
Jefferson County Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus Award:
Most Valuable Player:
Mark Barron, Dont’a Hightower and Greg McElroy
The Most Improved Player Award should go to FS Robert Lester. Lester went from a little known (relative to how much Bama fans know about their players) teammate of Julio Jones sliding into a possible starting spot virtually by process of elimination to third in the nation in interceptions (7) and anticipating plays as well or better than even Mark Barron at times.
I agree with the Julio Jones selection as MVP. He has been underrated in his impact to a football game by fans and the media. Defenses have had to account for his presence by rolling safeties to his side. In the run game, he is a devastating blocker. Julio Jones may be the best blocking wide receiver in the country. Once he started putting up big numbers week after week, then people started noticing. Numbers don’t always equate to wins. He helped the team win by sacrificing his numbers.
I also think that he was under-utilized, especially this season. Why Alabama didn’t throw the ball up to him down the field and let him go make plays is still a mystery. I think Alabama allowed teams to neutralize him more than defenses did on pure talent. Alabama did not take advantage of match-ups when he was in single coverage. Why Alabama rarely used him on jump ball fades in the redzone throughout his career is hard to explain.
One thing that’s easy to understand is why he’s so good. He was the best player for Alabama in 2010.
Enjoy and appreciate watching Julio Jones at the Capital One Bowl, because as much as you may not want to believe it, it will be his last game with the Crimson Tide. He's projected way too high in the draft to return for his senior season and not leave for the NFL. That's just the way it is these days.