Nov. 17, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama junior linebacker Rolando McClain and sophomore running back Mark Ingram headline the 15 college football players named as “Players to Watch” for the 2009 Player of the Year Award, the Walter Camp Foundation announced Tuesday.
Joining McClain and Ingram on the list are Stanford running back Toby Gearhart, Cincinnati wide receiver Mardy Gilyard, TCU defensive lineman Jerry Hughes, Houston quarterback Case Keenum, Pittsburgh running back Dion Lewis, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers, Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley, Clemson receiver/kick returner C.J. Spiller, Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.
“It’s been an exciting college football season with many teams and players still in the hunt for national recognition,” Walter Camp Foundation president Alphonse Paolillo, Jr. said. “We’ve identified some outstanding players and we know the final weeks of the regular season should be even more thrilling.”
Alabama and Texas are the only schools with two players on the 15-man list, which includes four quarterbacks, four running backs, four receivers and three defensive standouts.
McClain, who is one of three defensive players on the list, and the only linebacker, has proven to be the heart and soul of the Tide’s defense this season. He not only leads the team in tackles with 77, but is the on-field coach for Alabama. McClain is responsible for making all of the defensive calls and is especially proficient at checking the Crimson Tide into the correct play.
He has also added 10.0 tackles for loss (-45 yards), three sacks (-26 yards), two interceptions (21 return yards), one pass breakup, eight quarterback hurries and a forced fumble. McClain’s play has garnered him extensive national recognition. He was the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week after his 12-tackle performance against Kentucky. He was named the Lott Trophy IMPACT Defensive Player of the Week following the Tide’s 20-6 win over South Carolina.
McClain was named a midseason All-American by Sporting News and was selected as a semifinalist for the Lombardi and Butkus Awards as well as the Chuck Bednarik Award, which goes to the best defensive player in the nation.
Ingram is one of four running backs on the list and is one pace to shatter the Alabama single-season rushing record this season. In 10 games, Ingram has 194 rushing attempts for 1,297 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is averaging 6.7 yards per carry and leads the SEC with 129.7 yards per game. He has also caught 25 passes for 225 and added three more touchdowns.
Against top 25 teams, He is averaging 178 yards per game this season against Virginia Tech, Mississippi, South Carolina and LSU. He has 812 yards after contact this season, accounting for 53.4 percent of his total yards. He was named SEC Player of the Week following wins over Virginia Tech and South Carolina. In the win over the Gamecocks, Ingram set a Bryant-Denny Stadium record with 246 rushing yards in the 20-6 win.
He was named midseason All-American by Sporting News and was selected as a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award (player of the year) and the Doak Walker Award (top running back).
The Walter Camp Award is the fourth-oldest national award and is presented annually to the national player of the year. A list of five finalists will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 2. The 2009 Walter Camp Player of the Year recipient, who is voted on by the Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors, will be presented live on Thursday, Dec. 10 during the 6 p.m. (ET) edition of ESPN SportsCenter.
The winner will receive his trophy at the Foundation’s annual awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010 at the Yale University Commons in New Haven.
TUESDAY PRACTICE REPORT: The Alabama football team practiced for two hours in full pads Tuesday afternoon at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility as preparations continue for Saturday’s home finale with Chattanooga.
“(Chattanooga) is very well-coached and they are always going to be where they need to be,” sophomore running back Mark Ingram said after Tuesday’s practice. “We are just going to approach the game like we always do every week. We go out and practice hard and try and perfect the game plan. They won one game last year and they’ve won six already (this year), so they are feeling pretty good about themselves. They are going to come here ready to play, I’m sure of it.”
Alabama will host Chattanooga in its final home game of the season on Saturday, Nov. 21, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will be televised by the SEC Network with kickoff set for 11:21 a.m. (CT), with Doug Bell and Chris Doering calling the action. The game can also be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network with Eli Gold, Phil Savage and Barry Krauss. The game can be heard locally in Tuscaloosa on WFNN-FM (95.3).