Tide Coaches Pick Seven As Honorees
Alabama junior linebacker Dont'a Hightower was recognized by the Alabama coaching staff as one of the defensive players of the week and was also named the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week and the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week.
Hightower had an overpowering game on Saturday, recording seven tackles, one sack and three quarterback hurries plus being credited with breaking up two passes. He also tallied his first career interception, adding a 29-yard return that set up a touchdown.
Hightower was joined in the Alabama coaches' selections on defense by fellow linebackers Nico Johnson, who had five tackles and broke up a pass, and Courtney Upshaw, who had seven tackles with a sack and forced a fumble.
Alabama now leads the nation in four major defensive categories – rushing defense, pass efficiency defense, total defense and scoring defense.
Hightower is following in the footsteps of recent Crimson Tide greats DeMeco Ryans (the Lott IMPACT Trophy winner in 2005, now with the Houston Texans) and Rolando McClain (a Lott finalist in 2009 and now with the Oakland Raiders). In recognition of Hightower's performance, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, sponsors of the Lott IMPACT Trophy, will make a $1,000 donation to the general scholarship fund of The University of Alabama.
On offense, the coaching staff selected wide receiver Marquis Maze and right guard Alfred McCullough. Maze led all receivers with five catches for 106 yards. It was the second 100-yard game of Maze's career and he is now seventh on the all-time UA receiving list with 1,699 yards. He had a 69-yard catch in the game, which was his longest of the season and the second longest of his career. McCullough stepped in for an injured Anthony Steen at right guard and answered with the highest grade on the Alabama offense line in the victory over the Volunteers. The senior had no penalties, no sacks, no pressures and no missed assignments as the Crimson Tide offense totaled 437 yards.
On special teams, Hardie Buck and Cade Foster were selected. Foster handled all kickoffs and connected on his only field goal attempt of the night. He booted a 45-yarder that increased Alabama's lead to 30-6 with 11:22 left in the game. Foster had one touchback and the Vols had an average drive start of the 26-yard line on his eight kickoffs. Buck is a member of the kickoff coverage and punt return teams. He was credited with one tackle inside the 20 on kickoff and also had an assist.
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