When the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide battle on Monday night for college football’s national championship in Atlanta, both teams will have plenty of Florida flavour on their rosters.
A total of 20 players – 13 for Georgia (many recruited by now Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt during his time with the Bulldogs) and seven for Alabama – come from the Sunshine State. Nearly half of those players, nine in all, come from the talent rich areas of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
For Alabama, the Florida connections starts at wide receiver with former Coconut Creek Monarch star Calvin Ridley (935 yards and four touchdowns) and Deerfield Beach’s Jerry Jeudy (244 yards and two touchdowns) being the leading pass catchers on the team.
The remaining players from South Florida include freshman defensive back Daniel Wright (Fort Lauderdale Boyd Anderson) and freshman linebacker VanDarius Cowan (Palm Beach Gardens).
On the Georgia side, the Bulldogs are led at running back by former Plantation American Heritage star Sony Michel, who is second on the team in rushing yards with 1,129 but leads the team with 16 touchdowns. It will be a sibling rivalry as Riley Ridley – the brother of Alabama’s Calvin – will be lining up at receiver for Georgia looking to add to his 136 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bulldogs other three South Florida players include cornerbacks Deandre Baker (Miami Northwestern) and Latavious Brini (Mater Academy) along with linebacker Juwan Taylor (Hallandale).
Monday’s title game will be just the second time in the modern poll era that two teams from the same conference have played for the national title.