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Every year, Alabama’s roster is stacked with the best players in college football. 2017 is no different. The undefeated and No.1 ranked Crimson Tide rely on future NFLers like running back Damien Harris, wide receiver Calvin Ridley, and defensive stars Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison. And of course, no one forgets about quarterback Jalen Hurts.
However, the most valuable player for the Crimson Tide could be someone that is constantly overlooked. Senior punter JK Scott made a convincing case as the Tide’s most important player in the team’s win over LSU this last Saturday.
Scott kicked eight punts with an average of 51.6 yards per kick. During the game, he also passed 10,000 career punting yards.
Although Scott is averaging less this year (42.5 yards a kick), distance doesn’t tell the whole story nor validate the player’s worth.
In the game against LSU, Scott has one of his punts returned for the very first time this year. Normally, Scott pins opponents down within the 20-yard line without a chance to return the kick. 62.5 percent of Scotts punts end up inside the 20. Also, following a Scott punt, SEC opponents this year have scored only three points.
So, to put it simply, even if opposing defenses manage to slow down the Alabama offense, they hardly ever find themselves in a position to actually put points on the board themselves. The combination of the Tide’s stingy defense and Scott’s ability to place the ball wreak havoc on opponents’ ability to score.