The Alabama football team is 13-0, two wins from becoming the first team to go 15-0 in college football.
Everyone knows the Crimson Tide are loaded with NFL talent.
Today, we start our countdown of the Top 10 Alabama football players this season.
10. Anthony Averett
Why he’s here: When Anthony Averett arrived on the Alabama campus in 2013 there were two no-brainers.
First, Averett must be good. He was a 4-star prospect out of Woodbury, N.J., showing the huge recruiting net Nick Saban casts every year. The assumption always is if Saban recruits you, you must be good.
And second was the more obvious of the two: Averett was fast. Real fast.
Because of that it seemed that Averett, despite not being one of the top-rated prospects in Alabama’s 2013 recruiting class, would find a place on the field earlier than later. But that wasn’t the case.
Averett took a redshirt in 2013, played in one game in 2014 and on special teams last season while battling injuries.
In some cases, that’s the path to success for Alabama players. With so many talented recruits arriving year after year, playing time is not guaranteed. That’s especially true in Alabama’s secondary.
And this season, the 6-1, 180-pound defensive back has made the most of his opportunity. He has 35 total tackles and leads the team with eight pass breakups. According to CFB Film Room, Averett has been targeted in coverage 40 times this season and opponents have completed 18 of those passes.
He made his mark in the season opener against USC. The Trojans managed just 130 passing yards and Averett was a big part of that success. He came off the bench and led the Tide with 8 tackles that game. He led the team with 2 breakups against Tennessee and was fourth on the team with 4 tackles including a tackle-for-loss in the SEC Championship Game win.
— Anthony Averett Jr (@AD2LIVE_4) December 2, 2016
His speed makes him tough on receivers. His teammates rave about the way he runs. He’s been timed at 4.3 in the 40.
While Averett may not make headlines the way other members of Alabama’s dominating defense do, he’s been a vital part to its success and will continue that in 2017.
Anthony Averett’s 2016 stats
What’s ahead in 2017?
While Averett is eligible to enter the NFL Draft — he’s a redshirt junior — it’s unlikely he takes that route. With just one season of significant playing time, he’ll have the opportunity to play alongside two of Alabama’s biggest secondary playmakers in Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison. Both those players will be juniors. And that gives Alabama a lot of experience in the back.