Alabama Football: Power Ranking Tide's MVP Candidates Through 5 Games
After cruising to a 5-0 start and posting some impressive numbers along the way, Alabama has had several players step up to give the team plenty of momentum heading into October.
With a blockbuster slate of anticipated matchups this weekend, Nick Saban and the top-ranked Crimson Tide can sit back and watch the drama unfold on its bye week.
There have been plenty of faces—old and new—who have stepped up to ensure that there would not be any drop-off from last season’s title team.
Which players have proven to be the biggest factors in the Tide’s success this season?
Find out in this breakdown of Alabama’s MVP candidates through the first month of the 2012 season.
4. T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper
Yeldon has accounted for 386 yards of total offense through 5 games.
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After bringing in the consensus top-rated recruiting class in 2012, Saban was able to lure several studs that were able to enroll in January which helped them adjust to the college level.
Yeldon and Cooper are a pair of early enrollees that have stepped up to become two of the Tide’s standouts in a deep group of skill players.
Yeldon—the breakout star of the season-opening romp over Michigan—is averaging almost six yards per carry and sits just behind junior Eddie Lacy for the team lead in rushing yards.
Cooper, whose huge performance against Ole Miss helped him become the team’s leading receiver, will likely earn himself a featured role moving forward after the recent loss of DeAndrew White.
Two of the more highly touted prizes of the 2012 class, Yeldon and Cooper have proven to be as good as advertised.
3. Dee Milliner
Milliner has proven to be one of the best ballhawks in the entire country.
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The biggest reason that Alabama’s secondary has reloaded has been the play of Milliner.
The 6’1’, 199-pound junior has been tested often in his four starts this season.
His answers have come in the form of two interceptions, nine pass breakups and 11 passes defended, with the latter two ranking him in the top five nationally in both categories.
There may be some corners nationally that may have a stronger reputation, but none have looked better than Milliner in 2012.
2. C.J. Mosley
Mosley has emerged as the defense's biggest playmaker this season.
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Alabama’s defense leads the nation in scoring defense and has looked eerily similar to last season’s juggernaut that was the most dominant unit in the BCS era.
Mosley has arguably been the Tide’s biggest impact player, and he has starred against the run (team-leading 39 tackles) and remained one of the nation’s top linebackers in pass coverage.
He’s led the team in tackles in four of Alabama’s five games and his pick-six against Michigan—his third career interception returned for a touchdown—effectively slammed the door shut on the Wolverines.
While he may not get the attention of linebackers like Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o and Georgia’s Jarvis Jones, Mosley has been one of the most dominant linebackers in the country this season.
1. AJ McCarron
McCarron has been one of the most impressive quarterbacks in the nation through September.
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On a team loaded with stud players, but still lacks the star power of last season’s squad, McCarron has been more than the caretaker or game manager that he’s been perceived to be up to this point in his career.
His numbers (73-of-111, 999 yards passing, 12 touchdowns, no interceptions) have been impressive, but it’s his command of the offense and the team that has been the most eye-opening attribute to watch.
He’s been elite. He’s been the best quarterback in the SEC and one of the best in the country near the midway point of the season.
Simply put, he’s been the Tide’s MVP through the first half of the 2012 season.