TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — In time of unusual circumstances, with pandemics and social distancing, Saturday’s Alabama traditional Captain's ceremony prior to A-Day was no different.
Last season’s spring game was called off due to COVID-19 and the 2019 team captains were denied the chance to have their handprint and footprint cemented into the Walk of Fame in front of Denny Chimes.
On Saturday, two sets of team captains were honored. The 2019 team finally got to be recognized, as well as this past season’s 2020 national championship team.
Linebacker Anfernee Jennings, defensive back Xavier McKinney, receiver DeVonta Smith and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa represented the 2019 captains.
The crowd expressed its disappointment in the absence of Tagovailoa, who had an unavoidable circumstance that prevented him from attending. He will have his hand and footprint placed in cement at a later date.
However, the other three captains were there to show their appreciation for the fans.
Quarterback Mac Jones, offensive linemen Alex Leatherwood and Landon Dickerson were captains for the 2020 team. Smith was honored twice, as he was also a co-captain for the 2020 team.
Smith, the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner leaves Alabama as one of the most decorated receivers in school history. Alabama play-by-play radio broadcaster Eli Gold, who introduced each captain, needed nearly a minute to list off all Smith’s accomplishments, and he still wasn’t able to finish his resume.
“These past four years have been amazing,” Smith said. “Just to come to the University of Alabama and play for you wonderful fans is something special.
Jones leaves Alabama as another highly-decorated player. He was a Heisman finalist and was the Davey O’Brien winner for the nation’s top quarterback, and was the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award-winner.
“I’ve played on four great teams here and have played many roles,” 2020 captain Mac Jones said. “It’s been a dream of mine to be a captain and hat’s off to coach Saban for giving me a chance. This is a great honor and it’s something I’ll never forget.
Saban spoke to the crowd after the captains were introduced and talked about how glad he was to see A-Day back after a year off. He also spoke highly of the co-captains.
“I think this is one of the greatest traditions we have at Alabama,” Saban said. “When you are a captain, that means you took responsibility as a leader, which means you set a good example, you were someone that somebody else could emulate – on your team and in your community.”