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Alabama Crimson Tide

Tua named Sporting News’ National Player of the Year

It was a busy day Monday. On top of All-America teams being announced, two Alabama players received national recognition, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban was named a finalist for a national award and at least one senior is set to compete in an offseason all-star game.

Tua Tagovailoa was named the national player of the year by Sporting News, it was announced Monday. 

The sophomore quarterback has turned in a record-setting season in his first year as the Tide’s starting quarterback while leading UA to its 27th Southeastern Conference championship and fifth straight College Football Playoff appearance. His list of honors this season already includes the Maxwell and Walter Camp Player of the Year awards as well as SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors and first-team All-America recognition from Walter Camp. 

Tagovailoa has thrown for 3,353 yards and a school-record 37 touchdowns with just four interceptions on 199-of-294 passing (67.7 percent) this season. He has passed for 300 or more yards an Alabama-record five times in 2018 and has five games with four or more touchdown passes, which is also a UA single-season record. Tagovailoa’s 42 combined passing and rushing touchdowns (37/5) is a Crimson Tide season touchdown responsibility record. He is also 134 yards shy of the school record for passing yardage in a season. 

Under Tagovailoa’s direction, the Alabama offense has set school records for total offensive yards (6,859), passing yards (4,231) and points scored (623) this season and is on pace to shatter the UA per-game average in all three categories.

Anderson earns CoSIDA Academic All-America honors

Alabama football student-athlete Keaton Anderson was voted to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-All-American team, it was announced Monday. 

The redshirt junior defensive back graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in marketing with a 3.82 GPA and is now pursuing a master’s in marketing while carrying a 4.0 GPA. 

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Alabama safety Keaton Anderson (Photo: John David Mercer, USA TODAY Sports)

A member of the Crimson Tide’s 2015 and 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship squads, Anderson has also been a part of three Southeastern Conference Championship teams. The Florence, Ala., native has appeared in 13 games this season, primarily on special teams, and has recorded 14 total tackles, including eight solo stops. 

Among SEC teams, only Alabama and Kentucky put student-athletes on this year’s Academic All-America football list. Crimson Tide football players have now earned Academic All-America honors eight times under head coach Nick Saban, the most notable being Barrett Jones, who was the first four-time honoree in CoSIDA Academic All-America history.  

Overall, a total of 23 Alabama football players have now earned Academic All-America recognition 28 times with Jones, Johnny Musso and Randy Hall all earning multiple honors. 

Anderson, senior tight end Hale Hentges and sophomore offensive lineman Jedrick Wills Jr. all earned First Team CoSIDA All-District IV honors earlier in the fall. Alabama football has now tallied 17 CoSIDA All-District honors since 2009.

Buggs accepts invite to play in 2018 Senior Bowl

The Reese’s Senior Bowl announced its first accepted invitation from a Crimson Tide player, as Alabama senior defensive end Isaiah Buggs is set to play in the all-star game for NFL draft hopefuls.

Buggs is the sack leader of the Crimson Tide defense that ranks fifth nationally in sacks (42) and seventh in sacks per game (3.23). He is tied for 14th nationally and is fourth in the SEC in sacks with 9.5 (-49 yards) and sacks per game at 0.73. The Ruston, La., native ranks ninth in the league in tackles for loss at 12.5 (-54 yards) and has totaled 37 tackles, six quarterback pressures, three pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery this season. 

Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy said three invites were sent to Alabama players, but Saban was holding onto them until after the SEC Championship Game. Buggs is the first to accept.

The 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl will take place Saturday, Jan. 26, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. The game will kick off at 1:30 p.m. CT and will air nationally on the NFL Network.

Saban named a finalist for Munger Coach of the Year

In addition to the player recognition, Alabama head coach Nick Saban was announced as one of six finalists for the George Munger Coach of the Year Award by the Maxwell Football Club on Monday.

In his 12th season at Alabama, Saban has led the Crimson Tide to a 13-0 record, its 27th Southeastern Conference championship and the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff. This is the sixth time Alabama has won 13 games under Saban and the fifth consecutive season the Tide has won at least 12 games, the longest such streak in Football Bowl Subdivision history.

Saban was also announced as a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award and Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Trophy last week. Saban won the George Munger Award in 2016. 

Contact Charlie Potter by 247Sports’ personal messaging or on Twitter (@Charlie_Potter).

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