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Alabama Crimson Tide: Alabama’s unsung heroes of 2014

Star players. These are ones that know their role(s). Primary individuals attracted attention, but football is a team sport. Alabama has its share of NFL caliber athletes, but it’s been some unsung heroes that have made this season special for the Crimson Tide.

Top 10 Unsung Heroes

10. Alabama’s secondary

  • Cyrus Jones has emerged as the Crimson Tide “most consistent” cornerback.
  • Jones is fifth on the team in tackles (21) with four pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
  • Defensive back Nick Perry has brought the wood this season. The fifth-year senior has 28 tackles, three pass breakups and a forced fumble.
  • Eddie Jackson hasn’t played much, but his appearance was crucial in four games this season. Jackson registered six tackles and a sack in Alabama’s 14-13 victory over Arkansas.
  • Tony Brown isn’t an average freshman corner. He’s played physical all season and has eight tackles to show for it. Alabama lost to Ole Miss 23-17, but Brown made some critical plays in the contest. He recorded four tackles, a pass breakup and a blocked extra-point.

9. Reuben Foster—Linebacker

  • Reuben Foster has been a mad man this season.
  • He contributed a lot on special teams and is starting to see some time at inside linebacker.
  • Foster has 17 tackles and a sack.
  • He started the season explosive against West Virginia, but went beast mode against Texas A&M.
  • Foster totaled seven tackles against the Mountaineers. He had five stops against Florida, including three punishing tackles on special teams.

 8. Brian Vogler—Tight End

  • Brian Vogler isn’t discussed a lot, but he’s one of the reasons why Alabama’s offense is successful.
  • Alabama is passing the ball more, but it still depends on a solid run game.
  • Vogler is an underrated blocker. He locks up well and sets the edge for Alabama’s backs.
  • Vogler is mentoring teammate O.J. Howard. Howard is an explosive play maker, but Vogler is helping Howard’s complete game come together.
  • He’s been target twice this year and has one touchdown reception.

7.  Jalston Fowler—Fullback/H-back

  • Jalston Fowler is a complete player. He is the definition of a “does it all” fullback.
  • Fowler hasn’t received carries this season, but he blocked well for T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry.
  • Fowler is a team player that has become an efficient pass catcher.
  • Folwer totaled five touchdown receptions in 2013. He has six catches for 52 yards and two scores this season.

 6. Xzavier Dickson—Linebacker/Defensive Line

  • Xzavier Dickson was quiet in 2013, but he’s made a solid impact this season.
  • Dickson has 21 tackles (8.0 tackles for loss) and two pass breakups.
  • He leads the team and is fourth in the Southeastern Conference in sacks (5.5).
  • Dickson was dominant against Ole Miss and Arkansas.
  • He collected 14 tackles and three sacks combined against both programs.

 5. Alabama’s defensive line

  • Alabama lacked a consistent pass rush in 2013. The Crimson Tide has it now.
  • Alabama’s recorded 19 sacks this season (2013—22 sacks).
  • Jonathan Allen anchors the front line with 17 tackles (6.5 tackles for loss), two sacks, a pass breakup and a blocked field goal.
  • JUCO transfer Jarran Reed has been a stud. Reed has 16 stops, one sack and five pass breakups (tied for team lead—Landon Collins).
  • A’Shawn Robinson has been quiet in the sacks department, yet he’s been productive against the run. Robinson has 14 tackles, a pass breakup and a forced fumble.
  • J. Pettway wanted a second chance at Alabama. He’s rightly earned it with his play. Pettway has 10 tackles, a sack and two pass breakups.
  • Ryan Anderson was reserved jack linebacker in 2013. He’s made a huge splash defensively this season. Anderson has three sacks, 14 stops and a fumble recovery.

 4. Reggie Ragland—Linebacker

  • He played behind an All-American (C.J. Mosley) in 2013, but now Reggie Ragland is shining.
  • Linebacker Dillon Lee was the object of conversation in the offseason, but Ragland has been Alabama’s impact player at linebacker.
  • He recorded six stops against West Virginia, but Ragland has been a force against SEC programs.
  • Ragland has 34 tackles, 1.5 sacks and an interception in four SEC games (Florida, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Texas A&M).
  • He is second on the team in tackles (45) with two pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.

3. Blake Sims—Quarterback

  • Who had Blake Sims tossing for 1,000+ yards this season? Not many.
  • Sims has exceeded expectations and has played well.
  • His mobility has been special and Alabama’s offense has confidence in him.
  • Sims has been stellar at Bryant-Denny Stadium. He’s completed 71.3 percent of his passes for 1,109 yards (277.3 yards per game) and 11 touchdowns.
  • He sizzled against Florida, but had a monster game against Texas A&M.
  • Sims threw for 445 yards and four touchdowns against the Gators. He tossed for 268 yards and totaled three touchdowns (one rushing) against the Aggies.
  • He has to develop more confidence on the road, but Sims has done well overall.
  • He has 1,748 passing yards, 17 total touchdowns and three interceptions.

2.  JK Scott—Punter

  • Cody Mandell didn’t win a Ray Guy award at Alabama, but JK Scott has a chance to it.
  • The freshman has been nothing short of sensational on special teams.
  • Only two of Scott’s 23 punts have been returned for positive yardage (eight yards).
  • He’s averaged 47.3 yards per punt.
  • 5 percent (13-23) of Scott’s punts have pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line.
  • He has 10 kicks of 50+ yards and three touchbacks.
  • Scott’s performance against Arkansas helped Alabama secure a victory. He averaged 44.2 yards per punt. Seven of Scott’s eight kicks pinned Arkansas inside its 20-yard line.
  • He is ranked 4th nationally in punting.

1Cameron Robinson—Offensive Line (Left Tackle)

  • Andre Smith and D.J. Fluker were good, but Cameron Robinson is greatness in the making.
  • He’s stepped up to the learning curve and has been an asset on the line.
  • Robinson has held his own against some stiff defensive competition (Dante Fowler—Florida, Robert Nkemdiche—Ole Miss, Trey Flowers—Arkansas).
  • Alabama’s run game has been successful going to his side.
  • Robinson’s allowed four sacks of Blake Sims.

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