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Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick, JK Scott finalists for national awards

Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

Minkah Fitzpatrick and JK Scott have been stand outs for the University of Alabama football program since arriving on campus in their respective signing classes. 

Both players have been marquee in the Crimson Tide’s journey back to a College Football Playoff, and as of Monday, the duo was recognized as finalists for national honors.  

Fitzpatrick, a junior, was one of three candidates selected as a finalist for both Chuck Bednarik (best defensive player in college football) and Jim Thorpe (nation’s top defensive back) awards. 

He did not play in the Tide’s game versus Mercer due to a hamstring injury, but the New Jersey native is the heart and soul of Jeremy Pruitt’s defense. He stands fifth on the team in tackles (44) and chimes in with 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, six pass breakups, three quarterback hurries and an interception through 10 games. Fitzpatrick lines up at safety in regular, safety or “Star” (slot cornerback) in nickel and dime back or dime linebacker in Alabama’s various schemes. 

The projected first-round pick of next year’s NFL Draft joins Bradley Chubb of North Carolina State and Roquan Smith of Georgia for Bednarik honor, while sharing the list with DeShon Elliot of Texas and Josh Jackson of Iowa for Jim Thorpe Award. 

As for Scott, he was one of three finalists chosen for the Ray Guy Award – which is presented annually to college football’s top punter. After not winning the honor as a freshman, he’s put together a strong case this season. Scott has averaged 43.11 yards a punt on 38 boots, and dropped 21 balls inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Twenty-four of his 38 attempts were not returned (21 fair catches, three touchbacks) and he has 13 punts that traveled 50 yards or more.

The Denver, Colo., native makes the list with Michael Dickerson of Texas and Mitch Wishnowsky of Utah; the recipient of the honor last season. Both Scott and Fitzpatrick are focused on this week’s Iron Bowl contest with Auburn, but it’s great seeing both up for national honors. 

The Guy, Bednarik and Thorpe winners will be announced and honored at the Home Depot College Football Awards show in Atlanta via ESPN on Dec. 7.

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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