Awards season for college football is now in full swing with No. 8 Alabama continuing to be mentioned. We told you Thursday that Jalen Mlroe is a Manning award finalist. Now, there's news on one freshman and one senior defensive starter.

Freshman safety Caleb Downs was named a finalist for the Shaun Alexander Award, the Maxwell Football Club announced Friday.


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Downs is one of five finalists for this year’s award along with Rueben Bain (Miami (Fla.)), Kevin Concepcion (NC State), Noah Fifita (Arizona) and Dillon Thieneman (Purdue). The 2023 recipient of the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award will be announced on Dec. 29.


Alabama’s lone winner of the Alexander Award was Will Anderson Jr. following his standout 2020 campaign.

Heres a look at Downs through 12 regular season games:

  • made an immediate impact on the Tide defense, earning the starting strong safety spot during fall camp
  • Leads the Crimson Tide and ranks fourth in the SEC with 95 tackles, including 2.5 for loss (-10 yards)
  • Part of four turnovers on the season, forcing a fumble, recovering a fumble and picking off a pair of passes
  • Also took on punt return duties as of late, combining for 87 yards and a touchdown across his four returns

  • But there's more.

    Getty Images
    Getty Images

    Senior defensive end Justin Eboigbe was named a semifinalist for the Associated Press/College Sports Communicators Comeback Player of the Year Award, the AP and CSC announced this week.

    Eboigbe is one of 15 semifinalists for the Comeback Player of the Year Award, which has been given each year since 2018 to recognize the college football players from all divisions for overcoming injury, illness or other circumstances. At the conclusion of each season, in a vote by a panel of college football writers, editors and sports information directors, three college football student-athletes are honored as Comeback Player of the Year Award winners at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl.

  • Alabama has never had a Comeback Player of the Year in program history. Here's a look at Eboigbe's season:

  • Played in only four games of the 2022 campaign before suffering a season-ending spine injury
  • Spent the next 10 months recovering to full strength for the 2023 season
  • Tied for third on UA with 57 tackles as a redshirt senior, including 10.5 for loss (-47 yards) and six sacks (-37 yards) and also contributed four quarterback hurries and one pass breakup this season
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