The final home game for Alabama’s seniors is coming on Saturday. The Crimson Tide will honor 19 players in a ceremony before the Iron Bowl kicks off at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Even before that, many of the players will start to feel the weight of their final game.
“I’m sure it will (sink in) whenever I think about the last night you say in Hotel Capstone and the last Walk of Champions,” senior tight end Hale Hentges said. “Each successive thing I do along our normal pregame ritual will definitely hit home for me. And I think as that starts to unfold, it’ll really start to sink in.”
Alabama could play up to three more games after Saturday’s meeting with Auburn, but the class is already one of the most accomplished in history. The fourth-year seniors are 52-3 in their careers with national championships in 2015 and 2017 to go with SEC titles in 2015 and 2016 and three College Football Playoff appearances. Their 52 wins are the second-most in a four-year span in NCAA history, exceeded only by Alabama’s 2017 seniors, who went 53-5. They’ll have a chance to tie that record on Saturday and break it in the postseason.
The fifth-year seniors claim a record of 64-5 with four College Football Playoff appearances and three SEC championships thus far. Alabama went undefeated against Tennessee and LSU in the careers of its seniors. Four-year players are 2-1 against Auburn entering Saturday while the redshirt seniors contributed to a 3-1 record against the Tigers. There’s no shortage of favorite moments for the seniors.
“It’s kind of hard just to choose one, but obviously everybody’s going to probably say winning the championship because there’s just no other feeling like it,” outside linebacker Christian Miller said. “Especially last year being able to come back (from injury), and then I had a sack in the championship game. It just meant a lot because I remember coming out of high school just watching those games and stuff, it’s hard to even see yourself doing something like that. And then the next thing you know, a few years down the road, you’re the one playing in it, you make a sack in it. It’s like a dream come true.”
Miller and Hentges said they may be misty-eyed during the ceremony with their families on the field before the game. Redshirt senior Ross Pierschbacher, the only four-year starter on the team, said he’s unlikely to cry.
“I could see someone like Josh Casher doing it, but he’s just a really emotional guy and we all feed off that emotion and energy, so we love him for it,” Hentges said. “I would say either me or him (is most likely to cry).”
Their careers won’t end on Saturday, but it will be a final moment at Bryant-Denny Stadium for them and their families.
“It’s been such an awesome journey,” Miller said. “I’ve been through a lot. I’ve made so many awesome memories, but at the same time, I’m just excited to get to this point and reach some of the milestones I’ve reached. It’s bittersweet. It might be me crying. I don’t know. It’s gone be emotional though.”
Alabama’s 19 seniors
Lester Cotton Sr.
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