Amari Cooper Selected Tide’s Most Valuable

Junior wide receiver Amari Cooper was selected by his Alabama teammates as the Crimson Tide’s most valuable player for 2014. That was among the awards announced at the team banquet Sunday at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center in Birmingham.

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Amari Cooper, who set numerous Alabama single season and career records, along with the Southeastern Conference record with 115 receptions in a season this year, was also selected as one of the team captains along with seniors quarterback Blake Sims, fullback Jalston Fowler, and safety Landon Collins. The captains were also selected by the team.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban addressed the audience that included members of the team, coaching staff, administration and support staff following the awards session in which he recapped the 2014 season and stated the goals for the upcoming semifinal game in the College Football Playoff at the Sugar Bowl.

The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide will face the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Sugar Bowl on Thursday, Jan. 1 inside the Superdome. No. 2 Oregon and No. 3 Florida State will play in the Rose Bowl. The winners will meet in the finals of the inaugural College Football Playoff in Dallas Jan. 12.

Southeastern Conference champion Alabama (12-1 overall) and Big Ten champion Ohio State (12-1) have met three times, but will be meeting for the first time since Jan. 2, 1995 (Citrus Bowl). The Crimson Tide owns a 3-0 series lead over the Buckeyes with two of the games taking place in the postseason.

The teams first met in the 1978 Sugar Bowl (1977 season) when the Crimson Tide won 35-6 in the Superdome. The squads matched up again to start the 1986 season with Alabama claiming a 16-10 win at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. The Tide won the last meeting between the two schools at the 1995 Citrus Bowl (1994 season) in Orlando, Fla., 24-17.

The Tide will be making a record 15th appearance in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama owns the Sugar Bowl record with eight wins in the game. The last Sugar Bowl appearance for the Tide was following last season when Alabama took on Oklahoma. The Crimson Tide was also hosted by the Sugar Bowl for the 2012 BCS National Championship Game, when the Crimson Tide knocked off LSU, 21-0, for Alabama's 14th national title. The Crimson Tide also secured national championships with wins in the Sugar Bowl in 1979, 1980 and 1993, and validated the 1961 championship with a victory in the 1962 Sugar Bowl.

The Tide is making its seventh straight New Year’s Day Bowl appearance and under Saban. The Crimson Tide also played in the 2009 Sugar Bowl (2008 season - a 31-17 loss to Utah), the 2010 BCS National Championship Game (2009 season - a 37-21 victory over Texas), the 2011 Capital One Bowl (2010 season – a 49-7 win over Michigan State), the 2012 BCS National Championship Game (2011 season - a 21-0 victory over LSU), the 2013 BCS National Championship Game (2012 season - a 42-14 victory over Notre Dame) and the 2014 Sugar Bowl (2013 season – a 45-31 loss to Oklahoma).

Alabama will be playing a post-season game at the Superdome for the 10th time in school history and the Tide has a 6-3 record in those nine prior contests. Overall, this will be Alabama's 16th bowl game appearance in the city of New Orleans with the Tide owning an 8-7 record. Alabama also participated in the Sugar Bowl in 1945 (a 29-26 loss to Duke), 1948 (a 27-7 loss to Texas), 1962 (a 10-3 win over Arkansas), 1964 (a 12-7 win over Ole Miss), 1967 (a 34-7 win over Nebraska), 1973 (a 24-23 loss to Notre Dame), 1975 (a 13-6 win over Penn State), 1978 (a 35-6 win over Ohio State), 1979 (a 14-7 win over Penn State), 1980 (a 24-9 win over Arkansas), 1990 (a 33-25 loss to Miami), 1993 (a 34-13 win over Miami), 2009 (a 31-17 loss to Utah), 2012 (a 21-0 win over LSU) and 2014 (a 45-31 loss to Oklahoma).

Alabama has played in more bowl games (62, not counting one vacated appearance and including the upcoming Allstate Sugar Bowl) and earned more bowl wins (34) than any school in college football history. The Crimson Tide has posted a 34-23-3 all-time bowl record. The Crimson Tide is making its eighth consecutive bowl appearance under head coach Nick Saban and the 11th straight overall for the school. Saban is 5-2 in bowl games at Alabama, defeating Notre Dame in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game, defeating LSU in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game, defeating Michigan State in the 2011 Capital One Bowl, defeating Texas in the 2010 BCS National Champion

Other team awards presented Sunday night are:

Unsung Hero Award (To the player who has made significant contributions to the success of the team and received the least recognition for it)

Jarrick Williams, Denzel Devall, Leon Brown, Kenyan Drake

Outstanding Senior Scholar (To the senior with the highest GPA)

Nick Perry, Arie Kouandjio

Commitment to Academic Excellence Award (To the player who has demonstrated the greatest commitment and achievement in his academic endeavors during the previous year)

Denzel Devall, Adam Griffith, Jonathan Allen, JK Scott, O.J. Howard, Geno Smith

Iron Man Award (To the players who have shown the most dedication to the individual and team goals of the Crimson Tide’s year-round strength and conditioning program)

Ryan Anderson, Derrick Henry, Brandon Greene, D.J. Pettway

Most Inspiring Player (To the player who affects the whole team by his attitude as well as his performance as voted by the players)

Blake Sims

Pat Trammel Award (To a senior player whose character and contributions to the Alabama Football Team most personify the All-America youth of today and has reflected qualities of integrity, character, importance of academics, and inspirational leadership during his time at Alabama)

Brandon Ivory, Brian Vogler

Outstanding Defensive Performer (To the player with the most tackles/points)

Landon Collins, Trey DePriest

Up-Front Award (To the outstanding lineman from each unit)

Arie Kouandjio, Cam Robinson, A'Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed

Defensive Achievement Award (To the player who has played a critical role in the effectiveness of this unit)

Cyrus Jones, Reggie Ragland, Xzavier Dickson, Eddie Jackson

Offensive Achievement Award (To the player who has played a critical role in the effectiveness of this unit

Austin Shepherd, Derrick Henry, Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White

President’s Award (To a player from each unit who has shown perseverance in making outstanding contributions to the team’s success)

Ryan Kelly, T.J. Yeldon, Jalston Fowler, Blake Sims

Special Teams Player of the Year Award

Christion Jones, JK Scott, Adam Griffith, Dillon Lee

Offensive Player of the Year Award

Amari Cooper, Blake Sims

Defensive Player of the Year Award

Trey DePriest, Landon Collins

The banquet was held in conjunction with the Jefferson County Alumni Association, which presented its Distinguished Alumnus Award, which is given to a former player who has exemplified the principles, values, character and attitude that make a person successful either during a particular life experience or over a period of time

Wayne Davis, former Tide linebacker


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