Hanks Tries To Earn Another Gaudy Ring

The rings given to players, coaches, and others connected with the team that wins the national championship will be gaudy. Gone are the days of the 1960s and 1970s when Alabama national championship rings were gold signets with a small diamond. Now they are bling.

The reason you don't see the ring Darius Hanks earned as a member of the 2009 Alabama national championship team is because Darius' mother won't let him wear it. "It's too flashy and gaudy," is his mother's reasoning, Hanks said.

His mother keeps it in a drawer at their home in Norcross, Ga.

That doesn't mean that Hanks doesn't want another one.

"I think it's something to cherish 10 years down the road," he said. "You work so hard for it. That has been on my mind since the end of last year -- to win the national championship."

The 6-0, 185-pound wide receiver will get a chance to earn a second ring when Alabama, 11-1 and ranked second in the nation, takes on top-ranked LSU (13-0) in the BCS National Championship Game Monday night. The teams kick off at 7:30 p.m. CST at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. ESPN will televise the game.

Victory Monday night would be sweet for Hanks, who has had some sour times in his final season. "It wasn't the type of season I would have preferred," he said. "I couldn't play in the first two games and I was hurting the last two. I would have liked to have changed those things, but there was nothing I could do about it, so I just had to go with the flow."

Hanks was held out of the first two games by an NCAA eligibility ruling to allow his redshirt season in 2007, when he played briefly. He sprained an ankle in the Mississippi State game and was unable to play in the final two regular season contests.

"It was a low tackle on the first play of the game, and just got rolled up a little bit," he said of his ankle injury. "It's a lot better. It was really hurting in the Auburn game."

Hanks has had 21 catches for 270 yards and one touchdown this year. Two of his receptions, both gaining 19 yards and earning a first down, came in the first game this season against LSU. Last year he was able to start all 13 Tide games and had 32 catches for 456 yards and three touchdowns. For his career he has 79 receptions for 1,092 yards and seven touchdowns.

Hanks said, "It's been a long process with a lot of ups and downs --more ups than downs. Heading up to this game is really exciting and I'm hoping to bring a ring back to T-Town.

"Everyone is watching. All eyes are on us and LSU this year. It's an exciting game."

Hanks said the first game was exciting, and it was also very physical. He admitted that after Alabama lost the overtime game, 9-6, in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 5 that he didn't expect to get another chance. Too many things had to happen.

"But we got there," he said. "Now it's just a rematch.

"You never expect to be playing against another SEC team in a bowl game, but here we are. LSU is the number one team in the country, and we have to go into battle."

Hanks said he is seeing things he didn't see before the first game. "We're working out some kinks from the first game we played those guys, finding new ways to beat them."

He knows it won't be easy.

"Coach (Les) Miles has a great defense over there, just like us," he said. "You have to be almost perfect to score against them.

"The accolades and awards speak for themselves. I feel it's a great opportunity for our receivers and tight ends to come out and make a name for ourselves."

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