Those who have been watching Alabama football’s Bama Cuts, the online show filmed inside the athletic facility’s new barbershop, were rewarded during the episode last week when Nick Saban offered a little news.
While talking with Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry, Biletnikoff Award winner Amari Cooper and two-time national champion Ha Ha Clinton-Dix when they were in town to participate in graduation ceremonies, the coach outlined plans for the Crimson Tide’s new trophy room in the expanding football building.
“It’s going to be in the shape of a football, and it’s going to have the national championship trophies, and the lights that hang from the ceilings are going to have national championship rings,’’ Saban said.
The way Saban described it, the former players were left wide-eyed, so you know the impact on recruits will be even more lasting. This will be in addition to the Bryant Museum, which once did a fun promotional video about having so little space for all the trophies, and the Walk of Champions, which is running out of room after Alabama’s latest national championship.
One has to assume that the Heisman trophies might also be allowed in the new trophy room, although you never know. Currently they’re on pedestals in the middle of a hallway the players walk through daily, with an assortment of national honors encased along one wall.
Obviously the idea is to remind the players of what can be accomplished.
But has to wonder whether the players even know what they’re looking at.
Last year, when Minkah Fitzpatrick won Thorpe and Bednarik awards for best defensive back and outstanding defensive player, respectively, he became just the third player in college football history to win both during the same season (Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997, LSU’s Patrick Peterson in 2010).
But would you recognize either trophy if they weren’t labeled?
The Thorpe looks like the legendary athlete. The Bednarik, presented by the Maxwell Football Club, is similar to a big plaque with the image of the player Chuck Bednarik on a stand. In many ways they’re the exception.
So this is to put it to the test, as this an interactive column. Below are pictures of five major college football awards. How many can you name without looking them up?
All five photos were taken at Alabama, so that’s a very small hint due to all the honors Cimson Tide players have won during the Saban era:
- Heisman Trophy (outstanding player): Mark Ingram Jr. (2009), Derrick Henry (2015)
- Maxwell Award (outstanding player): AJ McCarron (2013), Derrick Henry (2015)
- Walker Camp Award (player of the year): Derrick Henry (2015)
- Doak Walker Award (running back): Trent Richardson (2011); Derrick Henry (2015)
- Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (outstanding senior quarterback): AJ McCarron (2013)
- Fred Biletnikoff Award (receiver): Amari Cooper (2014)
- Outland Trophy (interior lineman): Andre Smith (2008); Barrett Jones (2011), Cam Robinson (2016)
- Chuck Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year): Jonathan Allen (2016), Minkah Fitzpatick (2017)
- Bronko Nagurski Award (defensive player of the year): Jonathan Allen (2016)
- Dick Butkus Award (linebacker): Rolando McClain (2009), C.J. Mosley (2013), Reuben Foster (2016)
- Jim Thorpe Award (defensive back): Minkah Fitzpatrick (2017)
- Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman): Jonathan Allen (2016)
- Ted Hendricks Award (defensive end): Jonathan Allen (2016)
- Rimington Trophy (center): Barrett Jones (2012), Ryan Kelly (2015)
- Campbell Trophy (top scholar-athlete): Barrett Jones (2012)
- Wuerffel Trophy (community service): Barrett Jones (2011)
Incidentally,there are only five major individual awards that an Alabama player has never won: Davey O’Brien (quarterback), John Mackey (tight end), Lou Groza (kicker), Ray Guy (punter) and Paul Hornung (most versatile). The Hornung Award has only been around since 2010.
If you know some college football history, this is the easiest of the group.
Unlike the Lombardi Trophy, which goes to the winning team of the Super Bowl, the Rotary Lombardi Award is a block of granite, paying homage to Vince Lombardi’s playing days as an offensive lineman at Fordham University. His line was referred to as the Seven Blocks of Granite.
Yes, it looks like something out of a production of Peter Pan, but this actually is the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. It’s supposed to be remindful of the game’s roots and children playing.
While a number of people will guess that this is the Rimington Trophy, it’s actually the Outland Trophy. It’s named after John H. Outland, one of the few players to be named an All-American as a lineman and halfback. He played at Pennsylvania.
This is the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award.
Actually, it’s not — this is a trick question.
It’s from The Historic Waysider Restaurant in Tuscaloosa, where the legendary coach was known to eat. Saban has won the Bryant award, but not at Alabama. He did so in 2003 at LSU.
The photo glare aside, the trophy with the Statue of Liberty-type coloring is the Maxwell Award for the best all-around player. It was named after Robert “Tiny” Maxwell, a Swarthmore College football player, coach and sportswriter. Although it’s been handed out since 1937, no Alabama had won it until AJ McCarron in 2013 (and Derrick Henry in 2015).
Regardless, there are two conclusions to draw from Alabama’s growing trophy collection: As long as the Crimson Tide stay in the hunt for the following trophy, the one that matters most of all, the individual awards will continue to roll in, and no matter how big the new trophy room is it won’t be big enough.