Trey Sanders Shares How Much Nick Saban Meant During Recovery
Trey Sanders had a turbulent start to his career in Tuscaloosa. After famously, or rather infamously declaring that he was going to win the Heisman his freshman year upon committing, not many players have had worse luck injury wise than Sanders over his first two seasons.
Sanders received a medical redshirt in 2019, his freshman year, after suffering a serious foot injury in August that required season-ending surgery.
During the 2020 campaign, his redshirt freshman season, Sanders appeared in four games, totaling 30 carries for 134 yards. He had 12 carries for a career high 80 yards against Mississippi State in his final appearance of that season.
During the ensuing bye week, Sanders was involved in a serious car accident that derailed his season and put him out for the rest of the year once again.
Battling back in 2021 and stepping up with others around him suffering injuries, Sanders ran the ball 72 times for 314 yards and two touchdowns, adding six receptions for 55 yards. After being knocked down for two straight years, 2021 felt like a vindicating year for Sanders, and coach Nick Saban was a huge part of helping him to get there.
“I think Coach Saban was one of the main persons who kept me going throughout the process because it was times where I felt like I couldn’t do it. It was times I was in a wheelchair and I was just rolling around the facility and going out to practice, watching other dudes practice and stuff like that. I wasn’t able to go out there and practice, and Coach Saban would call me into meetings and he’d talk to me and he’d give me hope on the future."
In addition to Saban, Sanders' close relationship with the training staff kept him going through a lot of dark days.
"Some days, I didn’t wanna get up. It was a lot of times I didn’t wanna get up. But having the training staff push me every day, having them in my corner no matter how hard things get, they’re on my side, keep on pushing me through."
For Sanders, having such difficulties with injuries easily could have allowed him to lose his drive and heart for the game and effectively ended his career, but his determination as well as Saban and the training staff did not let that happen.
As he enters his redshirt junior season, Sanders looks to be a big piece of an extremely talented running back room. Now the most seasoned veteran in the room in terms of time at Alabama, Sanders can look to use the experience he has to lead younger players, as well as contribute to the committee himself.