Every college football program wants to be known for something.
Ohio State, Texas and Miami (FL) were both recognized at one point for their defensive backs, while Baylor has churned out exceptional talent at wide receiver in the last few years. Alabama’s reign as “Linebacker University” still holds firm with stars like DeMeco Ryans, Donta Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, Rolando McClain, Adrian Hubbard and C.J. Mosley being productive in the National Football League.
Senior linebacker Reggie Ragland will join them after this season. He leads the team in tackles (90) and has 6.5 tackles for loss with 2.5 sacks. Ragland had five tackles last week in Alabama’s 29-13 win over Auburn. He is a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, Dick Butkus Award, Bronko Nagurski Award and Senior CLASS Award.
Alabama’s fortune with running backs is about to increase as well. Since 2000, only one back has won the Heisman Trophy and it was former Crimson Tide standout Mark Ingram in 2009. Aside from Ingram, the coveted bronze award has gone to quarterbacks. Ex-Oregon signal-caller and Pac-12 star Marcus Mariota held the trophy last season. Hope for a ball carrier to win the Heisman may prove special this year, as Alabama running back Derrick Henry leads all conversations and polls. He has 22 rushing touchdowns (school-record).
Henry averages 6.09 yards per carry and 149.75 yards per game.
The junior has shined in prime time action, accounting for four 200-yard rushing performances. He joins two Southeastern Conference legends in that regard, Bo Jackson and Hershel Walker. His 1,797 rushing yards have surpassed Trent Richardson for most in a single season. Henry’s 271 rushing yards against Auburn placed him third all-time for most in a single game, behind Bobby Humphrey (284) and Shaun Alexander (291).
The 81st Heisman Memorial Trophy will be presented on Dec. 12 in New York City.
Another strong outing from Henry against Florida in next week’s SEC Championship Game will give Alabama its second Heisman winner. The Crimson Tide would have two winners in the 2000 era, tying it with Southern Califorina (Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart), Oklahoma (Jason White, Sam Bradford) and Florida State (Chris Weinke, Jameis Winston) for having two during this span. “Running Back University” looks legit for Alabama.