Yes, Alabama only has four games remaining, but that is four games on their regular season schedule. Win against LSU and they’re closer to clinching the SEC West. Win the SEC Championship, they are going to the playoffs, win the Cotton or Orange Bowl, they are going to the championship, so Alabama could really have seven more games remaining on their schedule. Alabama has actually played 10 games this year if you count the 2018 Sugar Bowl and 2018 National Championship game. Anyways, here are my midseason Alabama football superlatives.
Most Entertaining Play
The first Alabama touchdown of the season. When Tua Tagovailoa faced a 2nd and 2. A read-option pull from Tua, then he avoids a Louisville defender by spinning back to the pocket, then hits Jerry Jeudy in the end-zone. It’s the play that set the tone for the greatness we’ve seen so far. How he made that throw? We’ll never know.
Runner-up for Most Entertaining Play
The 63-yard punt return from true freshman Jaylen Waddle against Louisiana. The Five-star speedster fielded the ball at the 37-yard line, then another freshman by the name of Jaylen Moody had the decleater of the midseason, and after that it was all-speed and a nice cut back for a play that had fans cheering for 17 seconds.
Other than Tua? Let’s go that direction to keep it interesting. You can watch my video on why Tagovailoa will win the Heisman here. Jerry Jeudy has had an incredible season and while he would not be having the season he’s having without Tagovailoa, he has made play after play and has looked like one of the best receivers in college football. On the season Jeudy has caught for 31 receptions for 777-yards with 10 touchdowns. His per catch average is 25.1 and in his last three games, he’s hauled in 354-yards off just 12 receptions.
Midseason Freshman MVP
This was a tough call between Patrick Surtain and Jaylen Waddle, but the fact that Surtain has become a starter at corner aka the toughest position to play in college football speaks volumes about his overall ability. This season, Surtain has played 444 snaps and his overall grade is 74.0, that is outstanding for a true freshman at the corner position. On the season, Surtain has been targeted 32 times and has allowed just 14 receptions for 147-yards and has not allowed a touchdown. Surtain is also a good open field tackler his season tackle grade is an 83.0.
Comeback Player of the Year
Christian Miller missed a majority of the 2017 season with a torn bicep. While Miller did come back to see time against Auburn, Clemson, and Georgia, he was a key pass rusher that Alabama missed having on the field throughout the year. This season, Miller has started in each of the eight games at outside linebacker and has 5.5 sacks. His overall grade is a 78.0 and his play has been very steady. Miller has already graduated from Alabama and is working on his Master’s degree in sports business management.
Surprise Player of the Year
Wow oh wow, at the play of redshirt sophomore Quinnen Williams. Raise your hand if you knew he’d be Alabama’s most effective player on defense up to this point. Through eight games, Williams has played better than Da’Ron Payne who was drafted No. 13 overall in this past season’s NFL Draft to the Washington Redskins. Payne’s best defensive grade through eight games during the 2017 season was a 93.0 and his average through eight games was 65.0. Williams graded out at 94.0 against Ole Miss and his average grade through eight weeks: 95.6. That is incredible. On the season he has 33 tackles and 9 quarterback hurries.
Deionte Thompson. The thing is, Alabama fans already love him and appreciate him, I just had to find somewhere on this stacked list to list him. His season grade out is an incredible 92.0, which is the second highest grade on the team after Quinnen Williams. The 6-foot-2, 196-pound ball-hawk is also the team’s hardest hitter and he’s been lighting them up this year, go back and watch some film and you’ll see. Thompson leads the team in tackles with 47 and has two interceptions this season.
Most compelling blowout
58-21 victory over Tennessee. Really? Yes, and the reason is that of their offensive potency they showed along with their superior rush defense. Alabama could have done evil things to Tennessee if they really wanted to and all they did was jump out and score 28 points to zero in the opening quarter. Alabama was up four touchdowns with 2:44 left in the opening quarter. The offense racked up 545-yards, 327-yards through the air and 218-yards on the ground. On defense, Tennessee was held to 3 of 13 on 3rd downs and was held to 31-yards rushing the football. While a win over Tennessee is nothing to really brag about, the overall dominance on both sides of the football by Alabama is.
Best single game performance
Tua Tagovailoa against Texas A&M. The Aggies are the best pound for pound team Alabama has played this season and Tagovailoa balled out as you would expect. On the day he was 22 of 30 passing for 387-yards with four touchdowns, his quarterback rating was an incredible 94.4. Tagovailoa also scored a rushing touchdown during the game and connected with eight different targets.
Highest graded offensive players (minimum 200 snaps)
1. Tua Tagovailoa 92.7
2. Jonah Williams 89.3
3. Jaylen Waddle 88.8
4. Jerry Jeudy 84.0
5. Irv Smith Jr. 82.6
Highest graded defensive players (minimum 200 snaps)
1. Quinnen Williams 95.6
2. Deionte Thompson 92.0
3. Xavier McKinney 84.4
4. Raekwon Davis 82.0
5. Shyheim Cater 79.7
The lowest graded offensive starter through eight games
Ross Pierschbacher 65.9
The lowest graded defensive starter through eight games
Mack Wilson 67.3
The biggest loss to a season-ending injury
Terrell Lewis – OLB – ACL
Tua not throwing a pass in the 4th quarter through eight games.
Funniest thing Nick Saban said so far
“You fans just think we just sh*t out another player.” Saban on August 18, 2018.
Midseason Position Awards
Best QB: Tua Tagovailoa
Best RB: Joshua Jacobs
Best WR: Jerry Jeudy
Best TE: Irv Smith
Best OL: Jonah Williams
Best DL: Quinnen Williams
Best LB: Christian Miller
Best DB: Deionte Thompson
Best Specialist: Josh Jacobs
Top Assistant Coach: Mike Locksley