Tuscaloosa is Title Town, Check Out Alabama’s 2021 Dynamic Duos
The Alabama Crimson Tide athletics program is enjoying a historic year as multiple programs have brought home SEC Championships and competed well at a national level. The Crimson Tide won the SEC Championship in football, basketball, gymnastics and most recently in softball.
The four sports were bolstered by powerful pairs of record-breaking teammates, each sport boasted the SEC Player of the Year and a teammate that helped take the Tide to the top of the conference.
Which sport had the most impressive pair of terrific teammates in the 2020-21 academic year?
DeVonta Smith and Mac Jones
The Alabama football team was undefeated in 2020 and a large part was due to the combination of Smith and Jones.
The "Slim Reaper" took home the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, Biletnikoff Award, Paul Hornung Award, AP Player of the Year, SEC Offensive Player of the Year and was First Team All-SEC. He leaves The Capstone with the career records in receptions (235), receiving yards (3,965) and receiving touchdowns (46). In his final game with the Crimson Tide, Smith hauled in 12 receptions for 215 yards and three touchdowns in the national championship game.
Jones waited his turn to play quarterback at the University of Alabama but made the most of his opportunity in 2020. He won the Davey O'Brien Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Award, Manning Award and was First Team All SEC last season. His 4,500 yards passing last year was a new school record and he manned an offense that averaged 48.5 points per game.
Herb Jones and John Petty Jr.
The Crimson Tide basketball team had a historic season in 2020-21. The Tide won both the SEC regular season and the SEC Tournament titles, the first time to win both in the same season since 1986. The Tide advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament before falling to UCLA.
Jones was the epitome of team leader as he set the tone for the Tide, winning the in house Hard Hat Award for the season. The senior from Greensboro, AL. earned SEC Player of the Year, SEC Defensive Player of the Year and was named Third-team All-American.
Petty Jr. averaged 12.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in 2020-21, he is now the school record holder in 3-pointers made with 311 total makes. He also earned First Team All-SEC while improving his defense, embracing the Nate Oats "Blue Collar" philosophy.
Louisa Blanco and Lexi Graber
The Crimson Tide gymnastics team went 6-2 this season and entered the SEC Championship event ranked No. 8 in the nation. Alabama, behind SEC Gymnast of the Year Louisa Blanco took down No. 1 Florida and No. 4 LSU to win the program's 10th SEC Championship.
Blanco won the SEC Championship in three of the four events, vault, bars and balance beam and won the SEC All-Around Championship due to finishing second in the floor.
Graber won the SEC Championship in the balance beam and finished third in the All-Around competition.
The pair won NCAA Championships in Fort Worth, TX and helped the Crimson Tide place fifth nationally in 2021. Blanco won the balance beam championship and Graber took home the floor exercise title.
Bailey Hemphill and Montana Fouts
Alabama just came off a spectacular weekend at the Rhoads House hosting the SEC Tournament. The Tide entered the tournament seeded third but was able to bring home the championship thanks to its dynamic duo.
Hemphill returned to the Capstone for an additional year after her senior year was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She took advantage of the extra year and won SEC Player of the Year. Hemphill batted .416 with 45 RBIs and 11 homeruns and 47 walks and only striking out five times this season. She led the SEC in several major categories including a batting average of .483, slugging percentage of .897, an on-base percentage of .652 and 25 RBIs.
Hemphill put her team on her back in the SEC Tournament hitting three homeruns, including the game-winner against Tennessee in the semifinals.
Fouts earned SEC Pitcher of the year by striking out a conference-high 132 batters and tied with a conference-high 11 wins. The junior notched record of 19-3 with a 1.63 ERA. Fouts struck out 236 batters this year, and additionally recorded three saves this season from the bullpen.
In the SEC Tournament Fouts was dominant, earning Tournament MVP. She set an SEC Tournament record by striking out 39 batters across three games. Fouts shut out the Florida Gators in the championship it was the first complete game shutout in the championship since 2006.
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