The 2023 University of Alabama football team had three Southeastern Conference individual award winners, the league office announced Wednesday in Birmingham.

 

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Edge rusher Dallas Turner was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year while kicker Will Reichard is the league’s Special Teams Player of Year. Safety Caleb Downs rounded out the group as the conference’s Freshman of the Year. All three were selected by a vote of  the conference's head coaches.

 

Dallas Tuner, Defensive Player of the Year

Turner has been a threat off the edge consistently. He is one of the most productive defenders in Power 5 college football/ Turner has made 50 tackles, including a team-high 13.5 for loss (-86 yards) and nine sacks (-66 yards).

He's also added a team-leading 13 quarterback hurries to go with two forced fumbles and one pass breakup.

Jimmie Mitchell/SEC
Jimmie Mitchell/SEC
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Will Reichard, Special Teams Player of the Year

Reichard is considered one of the most reliable placekickers in college football history. The Hoover native is the NCAA’s career points leader with 539 thanks to 82 field goals and 293 PATs.

He has totaled 13 points in his final season on 20-of-23 field goals and 53 PATs in as many tries. Filling in for an injured James Burnip, Reichard punted four times for 165 yards [a 41.25 average] while adding 82 kick-offs, 47 of which went for a touchback.

Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics
Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics
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 Caleb Downs Freshman of the Year

Downs, who hails from Hoschton, GA, earned the starting strong safety spot for the Tide in year one as a college player. He leads UA and ranks fourth in the conference with 99 tackles, including 3.5 for loss (-11 yards). Downs has been a part of four turnovers on the year, forcing a fumble, recovering a fumble and picking off a pair of passes.

The Mill Creek High grad has also broken up three passes and added four punt returns for 87 combined yards and a touchdown of 85 yards vs. Chattanooga.

Downs, Turner and Reichard are all considered future NFL prospects, the latter two for next April's draft.

 

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