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Alabama football lands two players on Pro Football Focus’ All-American team

Alabama defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry celebrates a play against LSU
Gary Cosby Jr. - USA Today Sports

We are in postseason awards mode for college football, especially with the Heisman Trophy presentation this weekend.

The University of Alabama returned to Southeastern Conference Champions and is in the College Football Playoff. 

RELATED: Alabama kicker wins SEC Special Teams Player of the Year

Alabama’s had players earn individual awards, including Dallas Turner, Will Reichard, and Caleb Downs. It landed 11 players on the All-SEC Coaches Team with eight first-team selections. Nick Saban had two athletes named to Pro Football Focus’ All-American team for their efforts this season. Both names were on defense as Kool-Aid McKinstry and Caleb Downs were honored.

McKinstry, a junior, is one of the best cornerbacks in the nation. 

The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder has 27 tackles, two tackles for loss, and seven pass breakups. Some NFL Draft pundits have him projected as an early first-rounder for next year. He came to the Tide as a five-star in 2021, but the Birmingham (Ala.) native is looking for a CFP National Championship. McKinstry has been a leader in the secondary and a lockdown defender. 

Downs, a true freshman, has been a special playmaker for Alabama.

He leads the defense for solo tackles (64) and total tackles (99). The native Georgian has 3.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and two interceptions. Downs helped the Tide dethrone Georgia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for an SEC Championship. He is a tackle away from becoming the first freshman defender of the Saban era at Alabama to 100 tackles.

McKinstry and Downs are prepared to guide the Tide’s defense to an elite performance versus Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

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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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