The Alabama football team is preparing for its third playoff appearance in as many seasons the College Football Playoff has existed.
Today we continue our countdown of the Crimson Tide’s 10 best players this season. It’s a loaded list. You could toss a dozen or so names in a hat, pick them and come up with the order. But we’ve come together with a not-so scientific way or ranking them. Let us know what you think on Twitter or at our Alabama Insiders Facebook page.
No. 8 FS Ronnie Harrison
Why he’s here: As a freshman in 2015, it was obvious that Harrison would contribute sooner than later on defense. He brings everything to the table you want in your free safety: size, solid run support, bone-jarring hits and big-time playmaking ability.
Harrison is second in tackles on the most-dominating defense in the country with 70. He also has 7 pass breakups and a pair of interceptions.
He returned one interception 58 yards for a touchdown against Tennessee. It was a screen play, Harrison read it from the start and caught Josh Dobbs’ pass in full stride toward the end zone. The score doubled Alabama’s lead in the first quarter of that game to 14-0.
In a surprisingly tight game in the first half against Kentucky, he scooped up a fumble and sprinted to another score to stretch Alabama’s lead to 14 points.
Those were timely turnovers. But there’s more.
Leading Florida 33-16 in the third quarter of the SEC Championship Game, Alabama came up with a huge four-down stop inside the 5. And it all started because of Harrison. Austin Appleby hit Lamical Perine for a long gain down the sideline. It looked like he might score, but Harrison tracked down Perine and delivered this huge hit to prevent the score.
Four plays later from inside the 2, it was Alabama’s ball and the Crimson Tide rolled from there.
Ronnie Harrison out here flattening human beings https://t.co/rr02jJuVEe
— Jack McGuire (@TailgateHeisman) December 3, 2016
And this play shows Harrison’s knack for the finding the ball against Tennessee.
Ronnie Harrison : 7 tackles & a 58-yard pick 6 pic.twitter.com/ktNro1xCI3
— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) October 16, 2016
What’s ahead in 2017
Harrison has future NFL safety written all over him, but he’ll have to wait at least another year. He’ll enter his junior season as a key cog in Nick Saban’s defense. Alabama will field another talented secondary in 2017.
Alabama Top 10 players
No. 10: DB Anthony Averett
No. 9: LT Cam Robinson
No. 8: FS Ronnie Harrison
No. 7: OLB Tim Williams
No. 6: LB Ryan Anderson