For helping Alabama win one BCS national championship and earn the chance for another, AJ McCarron might have been the Press-Register's 2012 Coastal Alabama Sportsman of the Year. But the Mobilian is being awarded that honor today over 11 other finalists for what he did off the field, too.
The Alabama secondary entered the season with a chip on its shoulder. Dee Milliner quoted the prognosticators who said he and his fellow defensive backs would be the team's handicap, the reason the Crimson Tide might not make a return trip to the national championship. It's hard enough to repeat, let alone without three-quarters of a secondary that allowed the fewest passing yards and points in the country last year. With Dre Kirkpatrick, Mark Barron and DeQuan Menzie all gone to the NFL, Alabama surely would falter. "They say we're going to be the weak link," Milliner said after Alabama throttled Michigan 41-14 in the season-opener, sending a message to the country that it might not be 2010 or 2011, but the Crimson Tide defense would not fall off. It would not be the secondary that would let them down. "We always take it upon ourselves and compete and voice our opinion when we come on the field."
Tide DBs sure to be tested-TideNation ESPN
Secondary still a concern, despite stellar statistical ranking