31 January 2010
Roy Upchurch – RB –
The classic case of “what if?”
And it really never got any better. Four games into his sophomore season he was injured again, this time it was his ankle that ended the season. In his junior year it was a neck injury that required off season surgery that cost him the second half of the season. And in his senior season it was once again an ankle issue that caused him to miss time.
All of this begs the question – How good would Roy Upchurch have been had he ever been healthy? Considering the impact that he had despite all of the injuries, I’m guessing he would have been pretty damn good.
Even with the injuries he managed to be one of Bama’s most consistent third down backs over the past three seasons. Not only was he a solid receiver out of the backfield, and a bruising runner that could pick up the final tough yards for a first down, but he was extremely adept at picking up a blitzing linebacker.
We got a few glimpses over the years at what would have been possible, some long touchdown runs that showed that he had an open-field burst that most running backs dream of. In the end, though, we only got to see
His injury history will probably keep him from getting drafted by an NFL team, but he stands a solid shot at earning a free agent contract. His heart and work ethic will doubtless earn him a recommendation from Coach Saban, and that will get him his shot. If he can stay healthy, he’s likely to have a long NFL career as a third down back and special teams player.
Career Stats – 168 attempts for 941 yards (5.6 avg) and 8 touchdowns, 28 receptions for 224 yards and 1 touchdown, 7 tackles
Lorenzo started his career by heading to
After playing in seven games at defensive tackle for Joe Kines’s defense in 2006, he made the move to nose guard under Nick Saban and Kevin Steele prior to the 2007 season. He was massively under-sized for the role, but made up for his lack of size with strength and technique. He followed that season by winning the Billy Neighbors Defensive Lineman Award during spring practice.
That set him up perfectly to have a great season at nose guard for the Tide in 2008… right? Terrence Cody’s emergence forced him to defensive end, though he ended up starting two games at nose guard when Cody was out with injury. That versatility made him a favorite of Tide defensive line coach Bo Davis, which set him up perfectly for the 2009 season.
He got the start at defensive end in all 14 games for the Tide in 2009, and he responded with his best season. The Tide coaches also used his versatility in sliding him inside to a tackle position in the rabbit rusher package. While he was never one to pile up a ton of stats, he leaves Bama having played in 48 games – starting in 26 of those. That type of experience along the front line will be difficult to replace.
He’s not quite explosive enough to jump out at the NFL scouts, but the fact that he’s played both inside and outside will make him appealing to general managers who are looking for versatility in one of the final guys to fill out their 53 man roster. He might be a late round draft pick, but is more than likely looking at a free agent contract.
Career Stats – 70 tackles, 12 for a loss of 68 yards, 6 sacks for a loss of 56 yards, 15 QB hurries
Justin Woodall – DB –
Not only did Justin spurn the hometown Ole Miss Rebels to come to
After playing just 17 games over his first two years, almost entirely on special teams, Justin made the decision to give up playing baseball to concentrate solely on football. And during the spring of 2008, the light finally came on. He started to grasp the mental aspects of Nick Saban and Kirby Smart’s defense, and more importantly, he began to grasp the level of intensity and toughness that those two men require in their defense backs.
While he was never had the ideal speed for safety, he made up for that with his size and physicality. More importantly for most fans, he also became quite a ball hawk. He intercepted 7 passes over his final two seasons at
His measureables at Pro Day and at the NFL Combine will probably make a few NFL GMs raise their eyebrows, though his speed will likely hurt him the most. If he can demonstrate the toughness to potentially play as a hybrid safety/linebacker (think of the money position in Bama’s dime), then he could get a real shot.
Career Stats – 98 tackles, 4 for a loss of 15 yards, 2 forced fumbles, 7 interceptions, 14 passes broken up, 1 QB hurry
Brian Selman – LS –
At the request of one of our readers, I am including Brian on this list. He was a walk-on during his entire career, but played a vital role in Bama’s success. As such, I should have intended on including him all along, and I thank reader henry37 for reminding me.
There are two things that you need to know about Brian Selman
- He worked his butt off for four years without the benefit of a scholarship. He did this because he loved playing football, and specifically, he loved playing football for the
. Universityof Alabama
- Between field goals, extra points, and punts Brian snapped the ball 411 times during his
career, and not one of them was a bad snap. Alabama
Think about how many times you’ve watched football games over the last three years and seen a snap sail over the punter’s head or two-hopped the holder on a field goal. Every single snap in Brian Selman’s career was handled cleanly. His perfection kept him virtually anonymous.
As Bama breaks in a new long snapper next season, let’s hope he stays just as anonymous.
Career Stats – 411 snaps with no mishandles, 2 tackles, 1 fumble recovery
As Bama says goodbye to these 20 seniors, as well as 2 juniors, we get the opportunity to reflect back on the final two years of their career as being two of the best in Bama history. I know that 2008 had a disappointing ending, but the sheer surprise of how quickly that team got good was something I will always remember. And the dominating fashion in which the Tide ran through its 14 games en route to championship #13 needs no description.
These guys were the foundation upon which Bama’s recent (and near future) success was built. They were the leaders that ushered in a new era of toughness and class at
One final time….
Eryk Anders, Javier Arenas, Terrence Cody, Drew Davis, Brandon Deaderick, P.J. Fitzgerald, Baron Huber, Kareem Jackson, Marquis Johnson, Mike Johnson, Tyrone King, Rolando McClain, Mike McCoy, Colin Peek, Cory Reamer, Chris Rogers, Brian Selman, Ali Sharrief, Leigh Tiffin, Roy Upchurch, Lorenzo Washington, Justin Woodall
Thank you, guys! And Roll Tide!
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