After the final whistle blows Sunday night and the confetti is streaming from the rafters as a new Super Bowl Champion is crowned, at least three football players with ties to the state of Alabama …
After the final whistle blows Sunday night and the confetti is streaming from the rafters as a new Super Bowl Champion is crowned, at least three football players with ties to the state of Alabama will be seen hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
When the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots take the field in Atlanta, each team will be represented by three players who spent some of their amateur playing days in the state.
For the Rams, the name that most people in this area will recognize is that of veteran linebacker Mark Barron. The seven-year veteran was a fan favorite at the University of Alabama where he played four years and won two national championships. But before that, he played his prep career at St. Paul's in Mobile.
On the other side of the ball for Los Angeles, South Alabama and UAB alum Gerald Everett has been making plays since the team drafted him in the second round in 2017. Everett was the first South Alabama Jaguar to be selected by a team in the NFL Draft, and he's showing everyone how worthy he was of that selection.
He has a knack for making big plays, including a 39-yard catch-and-run to set up a score against the Saints in the conference championship game. Also of note, he played his prep career just 13 miles from where the game is being played.
For the Patriots, another name familiar to Alabama fans is that of linebacker Dont'a Hightower, who also spent his college career at the Capstone. He and Barron manned the same defensive backfield for four seasons, including a total of 29 starts as teammates. Hightower has already notched two Super Bowl victories to go with his two from Alabama.
Joining Hightower in the defense is defensive back Jonathan Jones, who spent his college career with the Auburn Tigers. He has also already captured a Super Bowl ring as a reserve on the Patriots' 2016 Championship team. He's grown into a larger role on the defense this season and will look to earn a ring as a starter Sunday.
One of Jones' teammates from the Auburn secondary also made the Patriots’ roster as defensive back Brandon King who will also be looking to earn a second Super Bowl victory. King isn't a starter, but his role on special teams has steadily increased.
The Rams also boast Auburn alumni Blake Countess, a cornerback who sees most of his playing time on special teams. He came to the Tigers as a graduate transfer from Michigan and was drafted by the Eagles in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Los Angeles picked him up after he was waived by Philadelphia during training camp that year.
So, no matter what professional team wins the Super Bowl on Sunday, fans of the state's college football programs can find solace in knowing one of their team's graduates will forever be referred to as a Super Bowl Champion. Talk about bulletin board material on the recruiting trail.