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Vote for the RBR All-Saban Team: Centers

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Ryan Kelly is by far and away the favorite to win

To finish up the offense, we’ll decide on just who should be the guy that touches the ball more than anyone else on the team: the center.

The rules are fairly simple here, but also they absolutely will not be totally consistent. I’m making them up as we go and each position will be handled differently. I will choose the top candidates for spots on the All-Saban team, and different members of the RBR staff will present their argument to you as to why his player should be considered over the others. There is no criteria on the type of argument, so anything from stats, to important plays, to NFL performance is fair game.

Excluding Barrett Jones, who was already voted at guard, Alabama has had one center that really stood out above the rest: Ryan Kelly. So it would be a waste of time to pit against that next tier of Crimson Tide centers. Instead, this is what we’re going to do: You’ll hear my argument for Kelly, then you’ll vote on which combination of players makes the top 5 on the O-line. Basically I’m taking your top vote-getters from the tackles and guards and then you’re voting on which spot Barrett Jones lands in, forcing either Kelly, a guard, or a tackle back to second team.

It’ll make sense once you see the poll options.

Brent on Ryan Kelly

A 3-star center out of Ohio in the 2011 recruiting class, Kelly was mostly an afterthought for Tide fans enamored with top recruits like Cyrus Kouandjio. He took a redshirt, and then was named to the SEC All-Freshman team as a backup center to Jones in 2012.

In his redshirt sophomore year, he took over as the Tide’s starting center and held that role for three years, getting exponentially better every season. He was a very good center in 2013, an elite, All-SEC center in 2014, and his senior season in 2015 saw him become a consensus All-American, Rimington trophy winner (best center in the nation), and a Jacobs blocking trophy winner (part of the best offensive line in the nation. )

Kelly only allowed 1 sack in his final 2 years as a starter for Alabama. He was such a dominant player that he became a 1st round pick by the Indianapolis Colts in a part of the draft that usually only sees offensive tackles go that early. He’s had some injury issues in the pros, but he’s been one of the better centers in the NFL since joining the Colts when he wasn’t missing an entire season with a broken foot and concussion.

Poll

Which OL configuration is best?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    OT-Jonah Williams OT-Barrett Jones OG-Chance Warmack OG-Ross Pierschbacher C-Ryan Kelly
    (91 votes)
  • 61%
    OT-Jonah Williams OT-Andre Smith OG-Chance Warmack OG-Barrett Jones C-Ryan Kelly
    (221 votes)
  • 12%
    OT-Jonah Williams OT-Andre Smith OG-Chance Warmack OG-Ross Pierschbacher C-Barrett Jones
    (46 votes)
358 votes total Vote Now

As a follow up, here’s your arguments for second team center:

CB969 on William Vlachos

WAIT! Before you skip my prattling on about William Vlachos and vote any preconceived notions you may have, hear me out. Think about what you are about to click.

The FIRST National Championship under Nick Saban at Alabama in 2009 may have been the most important one. It was the Crimson Tide letting the world know that they were back. The followup in 2011 was Bama’s way of saying that it wasn’t a temporary fluke like so many others, and that they will be sticking around for awhile. Vlachos was the starting center for both those teams. Outside of quarterback, center is the most important position on the field for the offense. He calls the assignments for the o-line and every play starts with him.

As a three-year starter, Vlachos helped open holes for Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and Heisman runner-up Trent Richardson, bringing home those two Nattys - the first two building blocks of a dynasty. He also helped an overachieving Greg McElroy and a young AJ McCarron find their ways as quarterbacks. Vlachos was named a finalist for the Rimington Trophy as a senior.

One more thing to consider before you vote: We are talking Alabama career here - not NFL. While Antoine Caldwell had a few years with the Texans and Bradley Bozeman is currently starting for the Ravens, they both did so at guard. While these two guys as well as Ryan Kelly and even Barrett Jones are awesome dudes and great football players, only William Vlachos has two rings as a starting center.

Josh on Bradley Bozeman

Bozeman is one of those guys who was destined to be a fan favorite from the time he walked on campus. Hailing from the metropolis known as Roanoke, AL, Bozeman was offered a grayshirt and committed anyway because he has bled Crimson since he was born. As luck would have it, a scholarship opened for him and he was able to enroll on schedule. After taking a redshirt year in 2013, he got significant action as a reserve in 2014 and 2015. Coming into the 2016 season, the line was wide open and Bozeman wasn’t the most commonly cited favorite for a starting job. He was undeterred once again, nailing down the starting center job for his last two seasons on campus, starting in two consecutive national championship games.

Bozeman left Alabama with two championship rings, and was voted a permanent captain plus first-team All-SEC as a senior. He was then drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, where he still contributes. Not too shabby for a relatively lightly recruited player, and he did it at his dream school.

Roger on Antoine Caldwell

Antoine Caldwell came a long way from a three star center signed by Mike Shula out of Lee High School out of Montgomery,Alabama. Caldwell became a four year starter and a third round draft choice of the Houston Texans.

Caldwell was an immediate starter at guard, for 11 games before moving to center for the season finale. For his efforts he was named Freshman All-SEC and Freshman All- American by Sporting News and Rivals. Permanently moved to center in 2006 he earned second team All-SEC accolades and was on The Remington Watch List as the nations best center, and he remained on the list for the rest of his career.

In 2008 Caldwell was First team All-SEC and consensus First team All-American. The 6’3”, 305 pound player was a third round draft pick by the Houston Texans in the 2009 NFL Draft. From 2009-2012 Caldwell played in 39 games with 19 starts. The next two years Caldwell signed with Buffalo and Jacksonville, but never played in another NFL game.

Caldwell deserves a spot on this roster, so vote!

RTR. Believe in the process

So, who you got for second team center?

Poll

Who should be the RBR second-team All-Saban Center

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    Bradley Bozeman
    (284 votes)
  • 13%
    Antoine Caldwell
    (69 votes)
  • 28%
    William Vlachos
    (140 votes)
493 votes total Vote Now