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Alabama Football Impact Players

Alabama freshman safety named AP Newcomer of the Year

Alabama freshman safety Caleb Downs (#2) in pregame warmups before SEC Championship matchup with Georgia.
Dale Zanine - USA Today Sports

Everyone knows Alabama football belongs in the College Football Playoff after seeing it defeat Georgia for a Southeastern Conference Championship.

On Monday, the Associated Press released its All-SEC teams and individual honors. A freshman safety for the University of Alabama was highly impactful in helping this Crimson Tide team become conference champions and make the CFP.

RELATED: Alabama QB Jalen Milroe left out of the Heisman Trophy top four

Caleb Downs, a native Georgian, came into Alabama’s 2023 recruiting class as a five-star. 

He exceeded expectations with his leadership, maturity, production, and technique. Downs leads the team with 99 tackles, one shy of becoming the first true freshman of the Nick Saban era at Alabama and the first safety of the Saban era at Alabama to total 100 tackles. He also has 64 solo stops (team-high), 3.5 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, a forced fumble, and two interceptions. The 6-foot, 203-pounder assisted the Tide in taking down the marquee program of his home state at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Downs received AP Newcomer of the Year for the SEC and made second-team All-SEC on defense. 

He earned several honors in Sunday’s annual awards banquet for the Tide, including Iron Man and Outstanding Defensive Performer honors. Downs has had an incredible freshman campaign, and he has a chance to finish it with a CFP National Championship. He is prepared to aid Alabama’s defense against Michigan in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. 

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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 @CoachingMSmith.

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