The first order of business for Alabama players is to finish the season on a high note. The second-ranked Crimson Tide is 9-1 with two regular season games to play. The final home game in Bryant-Denny Stadium is Saturday with kickoff at 3 p.m. CST against Charleston Southern. The SEC Network will televise the Senior Day game.
Meanwhile, there is more news this week on individual awards.
Senior linebacker Reggie Ragland is one of five finalists selected for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, selected by the Football Writers Association of America and presented by the Charlotte, N.C., Touchdown Club to the National Defensive Player of the Year.
Ragland joins safety Jeremy Cash (Duke), defensive end Shaq Lawson (Clemson), linebacker Tyler Matakevich (Temple) and defensive end Carl Nassib (Penn State) as the five nominees for this year’s Nagurski Trophy. The award is named after the legendary Bronko Nagurski, who dominated college football at the University of Minnesota as a bruising fullback and defensive tackles from 1927-29.
Ragland has been a force for one of the nation’s top-ranked units. He has captained a Tide defense that ranks second nationally in rushing defense (77.1 yards per game), fourth in total defense (278.1 ypg), and seventh in pass efficiency defense (100.61) and scoring defense (15.3 ppg). The senior has a team-leading 82 tackles, including 5 1/2 for a loss (-20 yards) and 2 1/2 sacks (-10 yards). He has also recorded five pass break-ups, three quarterback pressures, and two forced fumbles.
He has led the team in tackles in seven of the Crimson Tide’s 10 games and has helped the Alabama defensive unit limit its last seven opponents to only 11.8 points per game.
Off the field, the Madison native has more than 50 hours of community service and double-digit volunteer activities.
Ragland passed up an early entry into the NFL last year and will earn his degree in December.
This will be Alabama’s fifth consecutive season with a finalist for the award. The previous Crimson Tide players to be named finalists include: Landon Collins (2014), C.J. Mosley (2013), Dee Milliner (2012), Mark Barron (2011), Terrence Cody (2009) and Rashad Johnson (2008). This year’s winner will be announced Dec. 7.
Tailback Derrick Henry was selected as one of 15 “Players to Watch” for the 2015 Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. The Yulee, Fla., junior leads the nation in rushing touchdowns (19) and ranks second overall in rushing yards (1,458). Henry has been at his best in the Crimson Tide’s six games against ranked opponents, compiling an FBS-leading 1,072 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has also recorded at least one rushing touchdown in 15 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the country and the longest streak by an SEC player in the last 20 seasons.
The Walter Camp Player of the Year Award is annually presented by the Walter Camp Football Foundation to the most outstanding player in the country. The Award is named after former Yale University athlete and football coach Walter Camp, considered by many to be the “Father of American Football.” A list of five finalists for the award will be announced Dec. 2, as voted on by the 129 FBS head coaches and sports information directors.
Henry is nominated for numerous awards and is also considered among the favorites for the Heisman Trophy, which – like the Camp Award – is given to the nation’s most outstanding player.
Senior center Ryan Kelly and junior defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson were selected as two of six semifinalists for the Outland Trophy, presented to the nation’s best interior lineman, offense or defense. The selection is made by the Football Writers Association of America and presented by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee.
Kelly is the Crimson Tide’s senior leader and a veteran of 31 starts over the past three seasons. As the anchor of the offensive line, Kelly has provided excellent pass protection for Jacob Coker, not allowing a sack and only surrendering three quarterback hurries in 313 pass attempts this season. He has also opened holes to help Henry rank as the national leader in rushing touchdowns and move into second in rushing yards. Kelly was named the Southeastern Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week for his play against LSU, creating running lanes for 250 yards rushing and grading out at a season-high 92 per cent. He is also the only center selected as a semifinalist.
Robinson, the lone defensive lineman to be selected as a semifinalist, has been a disruptive force in the middle of an Alabama defensive line that has been one the best in the nation. He has a career-high 34 tackles this season, including seven tackles for loss (-23 yards) and three sacks (-17 yards). Robinson has a team-high eight quarterback pressures, two pass break-ups, a fumble recovery, and one blocked PAT. He helps lead an Alabama unit that ranks second nationally in rushing defense and sacks (38), and fourth in total defense.
The field for the Outland Trophy will be reduced to three on Nov. 24. The winner of the 70th Outland Trophy will be revealed on Thursday, Dec. 10, on ESPN during the College Football Awards program from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.