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Some former Alabama MVPs from SEC title game will be on hand

Former MVPs, Gene Stallings, Chris Samuels part of SEC Championship Game

Alabama has had six players who have been selected Most Valuable Player of the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, including the first and the most recent, and some of them will be in Atlanta Saturday when the Crimson Tide meets Florida in this year’s title game.

Kickoff Saturday in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta is at 4 p.m. EST (3 p.m. central time) with CBS televising.

In the 1992 game, the first ever, Bama cornerback Antonio Langham earned MVP as he intercepted a pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown with 3:16 to play to give the Tide a 28-21 win over the Gators, en route to the national championship win over Miami in the Sugar Bowl.

In 1999 MVP Freddie Milons opened the fourth quarter with a 77-yard touchdown run to spark Bama to a 34-7 romp over the Gators.

Alabama has won four SEC Championship Games under Coach Nick Saban.

Quarterback Greg McElroy threw for 239 yards and a touchdown and was selected MVP of the 2009 game as the Tide downed No. 1 Florida, 32-13. The Tide went on to a national championship game win over Texas at the Rose Bowl.

In the 2012 game, Eddie Lacy ran 20 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns to earn MVP as Alabama defeated Georgia, 32-28. The Tide went on to defeat Notre Dame for the national championship.

Blake Sims threw for two touchdowns in an MVP performance in leading the 2014 Tide to a 42-13 win over Missouri.

Derrick Henry, who would win the 2015 Heisman Trophy, had 44 carries for 189 yards as Alabama defeated Florida, 29-15, last year en route to Bama’s national championship win over Clemson in Glendale, Ariz.

Saban said that Antonio Langham had attended Bama’s Wednesday practice and the coach mentioned Langham, Henry, McElroy, and Sims as players expected in Atlanta.

Also, in the annual SEC Legends Class, former Tide All-America offensive tackle Chris Samuels (1996-99) will be the Alabama representative. While at Alabama he was winner of the Jacobs Trophy as the SEC’s top blocker and was Bama’s first recipient of the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best lineman. He was the third player selected in the 2000 NFL draft and spent 10 years with the Washington Redskins, earning six Pro Bowl appearances.

Opening ceremonies will include the first two coaches to have teams in the inaugural game participating in the coin toss, Gene Stallings representing Alabama and Steve Spurrier for Florida.

Saban didn’t know Langham as a college player, but was defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns from 1991 to 1994 and was instrumental in Langham being drafted by the Browns.

Saban said, “I do remember coming here to work all those players out, from that (Alabama) team when I was with Cleveland.

“Antonio didn’t run a great time at the combine and everyone was worried about his speed. I think this is a great lesson for a lot of players. There’s a lot of speed in our league. I think there were five or six first-round draft-pick wide receivers that played at Tennessee, Florida, all over this league.

“What convinced us that he could run fast enough was he covered all of those guys – and those were the same guys that he was going to have to cover in the NFL because they were all first-round picks.

“He played just one year while I was there, but he played really, really well and did a great job for us. He’s been a good friend, and I certainly appreciate all that he did as a player to help us be successful, especially the ’94 defensive team that was really pretty good.”

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