TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama’s defense tops every major statistical category in the national rankings. And it entered December with a pile of finalists for all the individual awards that come with such team success.
Still, not one Tide defender received a trophy.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower said the team goals come first, but he couldn’t help notice the lack of awards.
“I was pretty upset, I’m not going to lie,” Hightower said. “That happens. But we all got what we wanted Jan. 9, so we’ve got to go out and get it.”
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The junior linebacker was a finalist for the Lombardi, Bednarik, Lott and Butkus awards without a win. Fellow linebacker Courtney Upshaw made most of the same lists, but Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly won all four of the awards.
Hightower still can list the positive experiences he had traveling to Texas for the Lombardi Award ceremony.
“A lot of taking pictures and signing autographs, a lot more than I anticipated or wanted to do,” he said. “But I definitely had fun in Houston. The Texas trip, the hospital, just walking around meeting kids and making those guys feel a little special.”
Alabama wasn’t completely shut out of the awards. Left tackle Barrett Jones won the Outland Trophy and running back Trent Richardson was awarded the Doak Walker Award.
Offensive lineman Chance Warmack said he will return for another season at Alabama after considering a jump to the next level.
The junior left guard is in his second season as a starter.
“I talked to my parents about it, and we discussed it, and I’m pretty much going to be here another year,” he said. “I like my teammates -- I love them to death -- and I like the program. I think I still have a lot of stuff to do as far as developing as an offensive lineman. I want to help the team out one more year.”
Right guard D.J. Fluker also has said he will be back, while junior left tackle Barrett Jones is still undecided. Center William Vlachos and right guard Alfred McCullough are seniors.
Even after Warmack graduates from Alabama, another family member could be on his way.
Dallas Warmack is a 14-year-old offensive lineman in suburban Atlanta who is already rivaling his big brother’s size. Chance (6-foot-3, 320 pounds) said the rising star is 6-1, 255.
Dallas plans to attend Alabama’s camp this summer. He just finished his freshman season at North Atlanta High School.
“We’re real close,” Chance said. “He’s always asking me questions about being up here.”
Scared of Santa?
Alabama defensive end Damion Square had a good laugh talking about his coach’s childhood memories of Christmas.
Wednesday, Alabama coach Nick Saban recalled his fear of Santa Claus as a child growing up in West Virginia. Square doesn’t believe the story.
“That is very surprising,” Square said. “I think he had it misunderstood. I think Santa Claus was scared of him.”