Alabama Crimson Tide's 10 Best of 2010
This is a list of who in my opinion will be Alabama's 10 best players in 2010. This is not necessarily a list of who has had the best careers so far at Alabama. Instead, it is a list of who I think will be the most valuable to the Tide in 2010 and hopefully early January 2011.
Let me know what you think.
Best of the Rest
There are many players that didn't quite make the list Top 10 that will still have wonderful seasons for the National Champions in 2010.
NT Josh Chapman— The replacement to Terrance "Mount" Cody. About the only thing that Chapman is missing in the Terrance Cody comparison is the huge fan following and about 50 pounds. Look for the 6'1 310 Junior, and strongest member of the Crimson Tide to give opposing offensive lines fits.
OL D.J. Fluker— Fluker comes in at a gigantic 6-6 350. After red-shirting last year, the Freshman should fill in nicely at the tackle position.
CB B.J. Scott— The 2009 Alabama defense left some big shoes to be filled in the secondary. Scott should be able to fill them nicely. Look for the Sophomore wide-out turned corner to be a lock-down guy that causes fits to opposing receivers.
LB Jerrell Harris— Jerrell is a freak of an athlete. I saw him play basketball in high school and if the whole football thing hadn't worked out, I have no doubt the basketball thing would have. Hopefully he will have a breakout year alongside a talented linebacking core.
LB Courtney Upshaw — Courtney had to help fill in due to injuries in 2009 and did a wonderful job. The junior having a year of experience under his belt should have a great year. He could see a lot of single coverage with other teams having to focus more on some of Alabama's bigger players.
S Robert Lester — The Sophomore Lester saw a significant amount of time in the '09 campaign and should benefit nicely in 2010. He will be a new starter so look for him to also have a break out year this year.
10. Barrett Jones OL
It is always hard to predict just how offensive lineman will do so this is really just a "shout out" to all of the linemen.
Being a Sophomore and missing some time due to a shoulder injury his Freshman year, Barret's inclusion may be a surprise to some. However, I hope that surprise is indeed a pleasant one come season's end.
9. Dre Kirkpatrick CB
The 6'3 Defensive Back out of Gadsden was one of the most sought after recruits in the 2009 class. Playing mostly on special teams in 2009, Dre has a great opportunity to step up and make some gigantic plays for the Tide this year as he will be one of many new starters in the Alabama secondary.
8. Marquis Maze WR
Marquis Maze will get his chance to shine in 2010.
The 5'10 speedster should catch a lot of passes for Alabama in the upcoming year. Being small as he is as well as having the number he does has helped Maze draw comparisons to Crimson Tide great Tyrone Prothro.
Maze may also make his name known in the special teams department as he could possibly be the next in line to inherit the job left behind by Javier Arenas as the teams deadly kick returner.
7. Greg McElroy QB
The signal caller for the National Champs had an up and down season last year that saw pretty big highs against Arkansas and Auburn and some down points against Kentucky, South Carolina and Texas. Greg had a few broken ribs in the National Title game which have healed up nicely.
All the rumors around the team say that Greg has really taken a strong leadership role this off-season and is ready to lead the Tide to another BCS National Title.
6. Dont'a Hightower LB
Most Alabama fans lasting memory of Dont'a in 2009 was him tearing his ACL against Arkansas. However, Dont'a has made a full recovery and looks to get back to the form he was in prior to his injury.
At 6'4 260 Hightower is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Expect him to have a breakout season and possibly be on many All-American teams at seasons end. Its also isn't much of a stretch to believe that baring injury Hightower could have his second straight Butkus Award winner.
5. Mark Barron S
Every time I look at this picture it still amazes me. Not only that a guy can jump that high, but that he can also tip the ball all while wearing pads.
I love Mark Barron and think that he will step up even more this year than he did last year.
The safety led the SEC in interceptions last year with 7 as a sophomore.
Don't be surprised if this guys in the running for the Jim Thorpe award as the nation's top defensive back or even possibly the Nagurski and Bedinark awards as the nation's top overall defensive player when the season draws to a close.
4. Trent Richardson RB
The Sophomore running back should be in for another great season. Although he didn't have a tremendous amount of carries he did the best with what he got, gaining 751 yards on only 145 carries.
He also torched the number 1 ranked rushing defense in Texas in the National Championship game for 109 yards and 2 scores. Although Trent won't necessarily be the number 1 back, don't look for the All Freshman SEC team member to have a lack of carries in 2010.
The sky is the Limit with Trent, it really depends on how much Alabama utilizes him that could determine how many post-season award teams he winds up on.
3. Julio Jones WR
Coming out of high school, Julio was one of the most coveted players in the 2008 recruiting class. The number one player in the state, and one of the most anticipated of all time coming out of Alabama committed to the Tide on signing day.
Many Tide fans will even remember the color of his sweater that he was wearing when he put on the crimson Alabama hat with the white script A(In case you forgot the sweater was yellow).
However Julio hasn't necessarily lived up to all the hype...yet.
After a very successful Freshman campaign, Julio took a step back in 2009, due to injuries to his knee and also the fact that he spent almost every play double teamed. However this year with the emergence of Maze teams wont have that option.
Look for Julio to have a year similar to what Michael Crabtree had in 2008.
2. Mark Ingram RB
Fresh off of winning Alabama's first ever Heisman Trophy, Mark Ingram returns to lead an offense that should put up monstrous numbers in 2010.
The junior running back looks to hopes to be only the second player ever to win back to back Heisman Trophies.
Vegas has him as the early favorite at +380 odds.
After putting up 116 yards and 2 touchdowns, Mark was voted as the BCS National Championship Game Offensive MVP, becoming only the 2nd player ever to win a Heisman and a BCS National title in the same year.
With opposing teams having nothing but respect for backfield mate Trent Richardson, there is no way that all the attention could possibly be placed on Ingram when teams are making there game plan.
With a little help from Trent and Greg in the passing game there's no reason that Mark can't repeat as Heisman winner.
1. Marcell Dareus DE
Coming in at number 1 on my list is Defensive End Marcell Dareus.
This may come as a surprise to some people seeing as how he beat out a Heisman winner, but I don't think it will be a surprise at seasons end.
Marcell had his coming out party against Texas in the National Title game.
In the opening quarter of the game he delivered the hit that knocked out Colt McCoy. As the 2nd quarter was winding down, he picked off a shovel pass and threw a stiff arm with some shake and bake moves to make it 28 yards all the way to the end zone.
Dareus was later rewarded with Defensive MVP honors.
At 6'4 closing in on 300 there is not one single player that could stop this guy one on one. Look for Dareus to bust out much like Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh did last year.
It might not be too crazy to think that he may have some Heisman hype surrounding his name come season's end.