More Tiders Cited For Football Honors

Mark Ingram

Right on the heels of Tuesday's announcement that Javier Arenas was a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award as the nation's best defensive back, a trio of Tide players were announced as semifinalists for other national awards. Alabama's head coach was able to do a little recruiting in acknowledging the performances of his players.



Alabama stars Mark Ingram, Rolando McClain and Terrence Cody were the lastest Crimson Tide players to be named as semifinalists for national awards. With the Wednesday announcements, Bama Coach Nick Saban pointed out that honors frequently come to players who are on good teams, an unspoken invitation to prospects to come join Alabama's outstanding program.

Ingram, a sophomore running back from Flint, Mich., was named one of 16 semifinalists for the 73rd Maxwell Award, given annually to the best player in college football. Ingram and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow are the only two Southeastern Conference players to be named semifinalists for the Maxwell Award.

McClain, a junior linebacker from Decatur, and Cody, a senior nose tackle from Ft. Myers, Fla., were among the 16 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the best defensive player in college football. McClain and Cody were among six SEC players named to the Bednarik Award list.

"We're happy to see that some of our players are getting considered and making some of the semifinalists list for national awards," Alabama head coach Nick Saban following Wednesday's practice. "I think these are all function of successful teams. Most people that win these awards are guys that play on good teams and get a lot of recognition because of their team's success. Most of the time when you have good team success there's a lot of positive accolades for everyone involved and we are certainly proud that we have some players being considered on the national level."

Ingram leads the SEC and ranks fifth nationally with 125.5 rushing yards per game this season. In eight games, he has amassed 1,004 yards and eight rushing touchdowns. He joins former UA running back Shaun Alexander (1999) as the fastest Alabama player to reach 1,000 rushing yards in a season as both achieved the milestone in the eighth game of the season. He has been twice named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week after performances against No. 7 Virginia Tech (Sept. 7) and No. 22 South Carolina (Oct. 17), where he rushed for a Bryant-Denny Stadium record 246 yards in the 20-6 win.

In three games against top 25 teams, Ingram has 78 rushing attempts for 568 yards and three touchdowns in wins over Virginia Tech, Mississippi and South Carolina. He is averaging 7.3 yards per carry and 189.3 yards per game against ranked teams this season. In five SEC games, he averages 141.4 yards per game and has scored five touchdowns.

McClain is also a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and Lombardi Trophy this season. He has anchored an Alabama defense that leads the nation in rushing defense (64.88) and ranks second nationally in total defense (236.63), scoring defense (11.0) and pass efficiency defense (88.43 rating) this season.

In eight games, McClain leads the Tide with 57 tackles and ranks second on the team with seven tackles for loss (-28 yards). He has added seven quarterback pressures, two sacks (-21), two interceptions, one pass breakup and one recovered fumble. He was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week after his 12-tackle performance at Kentucky on Oct. 3. He was also responsible for three of the Tide's four takeaways in the 38-20 win. McClain was also named National Defensive Player of the Week twice this season against Kentucky and South Carolina (Oct. 27).

Cody is coming off one of his best games at Alabama, where he blocked two field goals in the Crimson Tide's 12-10 win over Tennessee at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Oct. 24. Cody blocked a Tennessee field goal with 10:33 left in the game and then sealed the Crimson Tide's win when he blocked a potential game-winning field goal on the final play of the game. The two blocked kicks tied the UA single-game record.

Cody has anchored an Alabama defensive front that leads the nation in rushing defense, yielding 64.88 yards per game. Cody has 17 tackles, five tackles for loss (-10), two quarterback pressures and one pass breakup in eight games this season.

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