Derrick Henry, Reggie Ragland and A'Shawn Robinson were all winners Saturday afternoon as the Crimson Tide defeated Florida for the 2015 Southeastern Conference Championship in the Georgia Dome. The trio of all-star performers returned to Atlanta on Wednesday in anticipation of The Home Depot 25th Anniversary College Football Awards. Henry is a contender for three prestigious honors – the Maxwell Award (presenter Danny Wuerffel) given to the College Player of the Year and the Doak Walker Award (presenter Eddie George) presented to the Nation’s Premier Running Back. The third, Walter Camp Player of the Year, will be presented during the 5 PM CT ESPN edition of SportsCenter.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: We will have an award open thread at 4:30 this afternoon so we can crow, mourn, piss and moan, or full-on Gump during tonight's Home Depot Awards ceremony. The first award, as noted above, is the Walter Camp trophy, and will be presented live during the 5:00 CST edition of SportsCenter. The rest of the awards begin at 6:00 CST.
Henry was watching with Alabama director of football communications Josh Maxson inside Maxson's office Monday night when Henry was unveiled as one of three Heisman finalists, along with Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Stanford running Christian McCaffrey. "It would mean everything," Henry said of winning the Heisman. "It would be a dream come true. It makes my heart beat even thinking about it."
What a great leader Henry has been. More than anything, I want this for him. You couldn't ask for a better teammate, a more selfless player or a harder worker.
"He's big," Fournette said. "He's fast. He's like a machine to tackle. That's pretty much it. He has an outstanding [offensive] line and coaching. Same with me. And if you give him a hole, give him a crease, he's going to take it."
Lost in the accolades regarding Henry is that his vision and footwork are just so much better this year too. He is a one-cut back who then uses his freakish speed to break away. And, if by chance a safety or corner catch him, he has the power to knock out another 10-15 yards.
On Saturday, Henry will try to replicate what Walker did in 1982, when he hoisted the Heisman Trophy. As his candidacy progressed, Henry asked his inner circle not to talk about the Heisman no matter how much reporters asked. In interviews, he refused to take credit for his yardage—dishing it instead to his offensive line. "He's going to give all the credit to us," Kelly says, "but I'll give the credit to him." If Henry is indeed the locomotive his former tacklers claim him to be, he is carrying an entire offense on board. "I don't know that I've coached many players that actually set a better example to affect other people," Saban says. "He doesn't really do it for himself. He does it for them." Just another way Henry makes a big impact.
This is just a wonderful longform by Andy Staples on Derrick Henry. Go. Read this now.
Alabama's workhorse running back put up some eye-popping numbers, and did so against top competition, to solidify his Heisman campaign.
There really is no competition this year. Henry has done the most, against the best competition. Without King Henry, Alabama is an 8-4 team.
Michael Wilbon joins Russillo & Kanell to break down why race could potentially hinder Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey's chances at being the Heisman Trophy winner.
Want to hear the stupidest s*** you'll listen to all week? Try a heaping helping of Michael Wilbon and Danny Kanell talking about race, and how the (overwhelmingly white) Heisman voters hate the White devil, slavemaster at Stanford.
ESPN's Trevor Matich argues to keep a 4-team playoff and predicts the winner of the CFP.
The WWL's Gentle Bear, Trevor Matich, w does a heel turn and renounces his misguided adoration of Air Raid and Spread teams as CFB Playoff favorites.
Behind enemy lines
"The last year at Auburn was fantastic for me to sit back and see how (Gus Malzahn) administers some things and that's really, identity-wise, what we want to be," Muschamp said. "We want to be on the ball, we want to be fast (and) we want to be physical."
South Carolina is going to have be pretty damned patient to build this kind of offense. Everyone in the East is getting fast, and everyone in the East has a better offensive line. The latter is a huge concern, because the Malzahn offense requires a workhorse RB, a veteran OL, and a difference maker at QB -- Sakerlina has none of the above. Still, Boom is right, when the offense is clicking, and Gus isn't trying to outsmart himself, it is ridiculously physical at the point of attack.
Auburn's last two defensive coordinators will team up at South Carolina. South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp has hired Ellis Johnson to coach a position for the Gamecocks. Johnson will likely coach linebackers, according to a source familiar with the decision.
When did Ellis Johnson become untouchable? Yes, he's a great LB and DL coach, but he also coached up some hellacious units for Spurrier's Gamecocks as a DC. The man can still coach, but I think he needs a competent front man ahead of him...Safe to say, I do not trust Coach Boom to be that man.
"It's very important to me that I finish the right way over there," Smart said. "A lot of the young men playing for the University of Alabama I sat in their homes three, four, five years ago and convinced them to come to the University of Alabama. I don't think it'd be doing justice to turn and walk away from those kids."
Just when I want to hate Coach Smart, he says things like this....sigh.