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Saban, trio of Tide standouts, recognized by SEC football coaches with awards (via Crimson Magazine)

07 Dec 2016 Stan J. Griffin

By Stan J. Griffin: December 7, 2016

Although his level of success as head football coach at the University of Alabama can only be described with adjectives such as prolific or staggering, it can be argued that he did his best job at the Capstone in 2016, as he took a Crimson Tide squad that entered the season with a host of questions marks and has guided it to a season-long stay at No. 1, and a 13-0 record entering the upcoming College Football Playoffs.
Of course a major reason for Alabama's success this season has been the steady and productive play of UA freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts, senior defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and junior offensive lineman Cam Robinson.
On Wednesday,  the Tide coach and that trio of Alabama standouts were recognized for their contributions to yet another special Crimson Tide season.
Saban,  Hurts,  Allen and  Robinson took home five of seven individual conference awards announced by the SEC.
Saban was voted the SEC Coach of the Year, Hurts was named Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, Allen was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year and Robinson was honored with the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, emblematic of the SEC’s top offensive lineman.
The honors were voted on by the league's 14 head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own players.
Saban, who was named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson and American Football Coaches Association coach of the year awards on Monday, is in his 10th season at Alabama. This season, he has led the Crimson Tide to a 13-0 record, its 26th SEC championship and a No. 1 seed in the 2016 College Football Playoff. This is the ninth consecutive season the Tide has won 10 games under Saban and the sixth straight with 11 wins. Alabama will enter the 2016 postseason on a 25-game winning streak, the longest current streak in the nation.

Hurts is Alabama’s first Freshman of the Year selection and is the first true freshman to be named the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Year since the league split its Player of the Year honor into separate offensive and defensive awards in 2003. The last true freshman to win SEC Player of the Year honors was Herschel Walker in 1980. Hurts has started 12 games for the Tide this season and is the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Alabama since 1984. He is already the school’s single-season quarterback rushing leader and is on the verge of breaking the season records for touchdown responsibility and total offense.
Allen, who was honored with the Nagurski Trophy as the national defensive player of the year on Monday and is a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, has been a force for a defense that leads the nation in total defense, rushing defense, scoring defense and defensive touchdowns. Allen leads the Tide in quarterback hurries (15) and shares the team lead in sacks (8.5) to go along with 13.0 tackles for loss. He has also returned a team-leading two fumble recoveries for 105 combined yards and two touchdowns. His 26.5 career sacks places him second on the Tide's all-time list behind former Crimson Tide standout and NFL Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas.
Robinson, who is a finalist for the Outland Trophy, leads an Alabama offensive line that has provided protection for a balanced attack that leads the SEC in scoring at 40.5 points per game and is second in total offense (471.3 yards per game), rushing offense (245.0 yards per game) and yards per rushing attempt (5.7). He earned first-team All-SEC honors on Monday and is the second Alabama player to win the Jacobs in as many years. Center Ryan Kelly won the award in 2015.
The SEC All-Freshman Team will be announced Thursday.

Special thanks: Alabama Athletics Communications

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