November 6, 2007

Top Ten Tiders

Each Monday, BamaOnline's Matt Scalici lists his top 10 Tide performers. In effect, the list serves as a week-to-week ranking of Alabama's most valuable players.

1. DJ Hall Last Week: 1
The Crimson Tide's best player may have faced double coverage all day against LSU, but that didn't stop him from making one of the biggest plays of the game, a 67-yard touchdown reception that sparked an epic Tide comeback. Hall finished with two catches for 76 yards and is quickly approaching several SEC receiving records.

2. Darren Mustin Last Week: 2
The former walk-on continues to provide key leadership and direction for the Tide defense on the field and off registering 4 tackles against LSU including one for loss. Mustin's focus and determination embody Nick Saban's new philosophy for his team.

3. Kareem Jackson Last Week: 4
The true freshman defensive back showed promise as early as last spring but in the past two games Jackson has exploded onto the scene hauling in three interceptions, blocking a field goal and shutting down some of the best receivers in the SEC. The future is bright in the secondary with Jackson at the helm.

4. Rashad Johnson Last Week: 5
A former walk-on, Johnson is now the Tide's leading tackler with 64 stops this season to go along with an SEC-best five interceptions. Johnson has become a major strength for the Tide defense and continues to get most out of his natural abilities.

5. Javier Arenas Last Week: 6
For the first time in many years, the Crimson Tide can say it possesses one of the top return specialists in the nation thanks to Arenas. The Tampa native is ranked sixth in the nation with a 17.16 yard punt return average and trails Tide great David Palmer by one for the most return touchdowns ever at UA.

6. Terry Grant Last Week: 3
Although the LSU defense held him in check, Grant remains a versatile weapon for the Tide able to make plays as both a runner and receiver. Whether Grant can handle 'workhorse' running back duty remains to be seen but the freshman is clearly among the Tide's top playmakers on offense.

7. Matt Caddell Last Week: 9
Each time defenses have attacked Top Tider DJ Hall, Caddell has stepped up as a reliable second option in the passing game. Caddell hauled in three catches for 55 yards against LSU and is the Tide's second leading receiver this season.

8. Ezekial Knight Last Week: 8
Knight summoned his inner wide receiver once again to haul in his second interception of the season against LSU coming up with a huge play at a crucial time for the Tide. Knight's play at the hybrid outside linebacker spot this season has set a fine example for future players to follow in Saban's defense.

9. Wallace Gilberry Last Week: FRINGE
After a quite start to the season, the senior defensive end has come alive with a strong game against Tennessee followed by perhaps his best career performance against LSU with 3 sacks and 2 hurries against the Tigers. Gilberry has finally given the Tide defense something it lacked all season: a legitimate pass rush.

10. John Parker Wilson Last Week: 7
The Tide's signal caller made some mistakes against LSU but more importantly he found ways to make plays in the face of poor protection and constant blitzing. Wilson's 234 yard, 3 touchdown performance may have been inconsistent but it was enough to keep the Tide in the game against an opponent that far outclassed them when it came to talent.

SIX ON THE FRINGE: LB Rolando McClain, CB Simeon Castille, TE Nick Walker, DT Lorenzo Washington, C Evan Cardwell, OT Andre Smith

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