Data Scout Notes: 2018: 01-11-18 - Announced Early Entry into 2018 NFL Draft...**2017: BednarikWinner/ThorpeWinner/1stC...ThorpeFinalist/NagurskiFinalist/BednarikFinalist/LottIMPACTFinalist...PMaxwell/PBednarik...2016: 1stC...2015: NAC
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Minkah Fitzpatrick Alabama Crimson Tide Cornerback 6-0, 201, 4.52, #29 Old Bridge, N.J. St. Peter's Prep High School
12/13/17 - 2017 ALL-SEC FIRST TEAM (COACHES): DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama,...Junior defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick was a first-team selection. The first-team honors are the second for Fitzpatrick (2016). Fitzpatrick is the Tide's fifth-leading tackler with 52 stops this season and added six tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, seven pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and a blocked kick through 12 games in 2017. - Alabama Football
12/07/17 - 2017 CHUCK BEDNARIK AWARD WINNER: S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama,..
Simply put, Minkah Fitzpatrick might just be the cleanest NFL prospect in college football.
Over the past three years the New Jersey native started every game at Alabama except his first one - the 2015 season opener against Wisconsin in which he recorded five tackles, including a sack and a pass broken up. He has since emerged as the most versatile and dependable player on arguably the most talented team in the country, earning All-American honors all three seasons while alternating between both safety roles, cornerback (outside and inside), linebacker and Alabama's STAR position, a hybrid role of all three.
Fitzpatrick possesses the raw athleticism, instincts and toughness to continue playing multiple roles at the next level, projecting as an early first round pick and a serious contender to be the first defender selected in 2018. The question is not whether Fitzpatrick can play cornerback or safety in the NFL but which position the team lucky enough to select him needs help at most.
Like many of the top-ranked NFL prospects dotting Alabama's roster, Fitzpatrick was nearly universally regarded as a five-star prep recruit when he signed with the Tide, choosing Nick Saban's bunch over the likes of Florida State, Auburn, Oklahoma and Boston College, among others.
With future NFL draft picks starting at cornerback and safety, Fitzpatrick initially "starred" at the STAR position, quickly living up to his hype by recording 45 tackles (including three for loss and two sacks), 11 passes broken up and two interceptions as a true freshman. Starting a trend which would ultimately earn him a spot in Alabama's record books, Fitzpatrick returned both of his interceptions, standing out a as a true freshman on a squad that ultimately won the national championship. Fitzpatrick also blocked a punt, returning it for a score, as well.
By the conclusion of his true sophomore season, Fitzpatrick had already set a new Alabama record for career interceptions returned for touchdowns with four, ranking among national leaders with six picks on the season despite making the move to free safety due to injuries to teammates. Besides the gaudy interception totals, Fitzpatrick also registered 66 tackles, including five for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and seven pass breakups.
Finally allowed to move back to his high school position of cornerback in 2017, Fitzpatrick capped his career at Alabama in fine form, earning both the Bednarik and Thorpe Awards. Those who questioned whether he possessed the agility to remain at this position in the NFL were quieted when he blanketed highly regarded Texas A&M wideout Christian Kirk in one of the more eagerly anticipated one-on-one showdowns of the season.
Universally recognized as one of the elite prep defensive backs in the country, earning five stars from Scout.com and Rivals.com and was named a 2015 Parade All-American. Recorded 60 tackles and three interceptions as a senior in 2014 after accounting for 62 tackles with four picks and 21 pass breakups in 2013. Grew up in a blue collar family (father is a truck mechanic) which was uprooted by Hurricane Irene in August, 2011, forcing Fitzpatrick, his four siblings and both parents to live in the basement of his maternal grandparents' home for a year while their house - which was not covered for flood insurance because it did not lie in a traditional flood zone - was fixed.
STRENGTHS Possesses an athletic, well-distributed musculature with above-average height, weight and long limbs. Light on his feet, accelerating quickly and showing the loose hips necessary for changing direction quickly, often lining up inside against the smaller, quicker slot receivers. Possesses good downfield speed and plays even faster than he will time in workouts due to terrific instincts.
Commitment to the film room is evident with Fitzpatrick's recognition of tendencies and route anticipation, as well as the fact that he makes many of the secondary calls - a rarity for an underclassman. Shows a legitimate second gear to close on the ball (see Texas A&M, LSU 2017 games) and excellent ball-skills, intercepting eight passes over his first two seasons and returning half of them for touchdowns with another score coming in 2015 when he recovered his own blocked punt... Good spatial awareness of would-be blockers and receivers around him. Comfortable in the close quarters near the line of scrimmage amidst the big bodies. Frequent blitzer who shows savvy in defeating blocks. Coordinated feet and hands to avoid would-be blockers and uses a quick swim move as well as a physical punch when necessary to disengage quickly. Reliable open-field tackler who can deliver a blow and wraps his arms securely around the legs of ball-carriers. Seemingly always around the ball.
WEAKNESSES Jack of all trades who was moved around so much in Alabama's scheme that some question his best fit in an NFL defense. Quicker than fast, lacking the straight-line speed some would prefer on the boundary. A bit high in his back pedal and loses a step in his transition. Almost too competitive... Can get down on himself for giving up a reception and has to continue working on playing with amnesia, forgetting the last play and moving on to the next. -- Rob Rang 12/9/2017
COMPARES TO: Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams, Cardinals. They have similar grades for their versatility, instincts and knack for turning interceptions into touchdowns, Fitzpatrick evokes memories of a young Williams, who earned eight Pro Bowl invitations (seven as a cornerback, one at safety) in large part because of his 55 career interceptions - 9 of which he returned for scores.
IN OUR VIEW: Few non-quarterbacks will enter the 2018 NFL Draft more decorated than Fitzpatrick, a standout regardless of where Alabama asked him to line up since his true freshman season and the reigning winner of the Chuck Bednarik (nation's top defender) and Jim Thorpe (nation's top defensive back) awards. The first round cinch joins legends Charles Woodson (Michigan, 1997) and Patrick Peterson (LSU, 2010) as just the third player to ever win both the Bednarik and Thorpe awards in the same season.
Blessed with the athleticism and competitive handle cornerback, as well as the diagnosis skills, range and physicality to slide back to safety, the only question scouts might have for Fitzpatrick is how best to take full advantage of an obvious athletic skill-set and the mental maturity gained from his blue-collar upbringing. --Rob Rang 12/13/17
High effort player passionate in pursuit. Standout on special teams coverage units, excelling in the gunner role with two career blocked kicks, including one just before the half to preserve a 10-7 lead over Florida State in the 2017 season-opener. Characterized as having "off the charts" intangibles including a rare work ethic and competitive drive. - Rob Rang 12/9/2017
(All Stats are before Jan. 1 Allstate Sugar Bowl against Clemson) Regarded as one of the top defensive backs in the nation ... ranks fifth on the team in tackles with 52 while recording six tackles for loss (-27 yards) and contributing 1.5 sacks (-15 yards) ... added seven pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, one interception, a forced fumble and a blocked field goal to his stats ... winner of the Chuck Bednarik and Jim Thorpe awards ... was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski and Lott IMPACT trophies ... selected as a unanimous All-American by the five major outlets (Walter Camp, FWAA, Associated Press, Sporting News and AFCA) ... also earned first team All-America honors from Sports Illustrated ..
Named All-SEC First Team by both the AP and the conference coaches ... tabbed as a First Team Midseason All-American by the Associated Press and Sports Illustrated as well as a Midseason All-American by USA Today, ESPN.com, CBSsports.com and TheAthletic.com ... selected as a First Team Preseason All-American by six different outlets ... named to Preseason Watch Lists for the Bednarik, Paul Hornung, Maxwell Awards along with the Nagurski ... also chosen to the Walter Camp Player of the Year Preseason Watch List ... his off-the-field efforts were also recognized as he was selected as an AFCA Good Works Team nominee and added to the Wuerffel Trophy Watch List .
Earned Bednarik, Lott IMPACT and Nagurski Defensive Player of the Week honors for his play at Texas A&M ... also selected as the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in College Station ... earned special teams player of the week honors from the Alabama coaching staff for his play against Florida State and at Texas A&M and defensive player of the week from the coaches after the Ole Miss and Texas A&M games. Florida State: Wrapped up the night with five tackles, including half a tackle for loss (-1 yard) ... added a field goal block on the final play of the first half to help Alabama maintain its lead at the break ... his efforts earned him special teams player of the week honors from the UA staff.
Fresno State:Totaled two tackles in the Tide secondary. Colorado State: Tied for second on the team with six stops against the Rams ... added his first pass breakup of the season by night’s end. Vanderbilt: Made an impact all over the field ... notched two tackles while registering a career-high two quarterback hurries ... also matched his career mark for pass breakups with two ... captained a Tide defense that limited the Commodores to only 78 total yards of offense and just three first downs.
Ole Miss: Finished with a career-high eight tackles on the night ... added two tackles for loss (-17 yards), including one sack (-12 yards) ... led a Tide secondary that held the Rebels to only 165 yards passing, well below their season average of 427 yards entering the contest ... earned defensive player of the week honors from the Alabama coaches for his efforts.
Texas A&M: Selected as the SEC Defensive Player of the Week and earned Bednarik, Lott IMPACT and Nagurski Defensive Player of the Week honors for his play against the Aggies ... also recognized by the UA coaches as a player of the week on both defense and special teams ... collected five tackles with two for a loss (-3 yards) ... forced one fumble, broke up a pass and picked off his first pass of the season ... the interception came at the Alabama 1-yard line to keep the Aggies off the board late in the game ... helped limit A&M to 308 yards of total offense and just 19 points, well below its season average entering the contest ... also returned his first career kickoff, totaling 39 yards. Arkansas: Totaled four tackles against the Razorbacks ... his play was key in limiting the Hogs to only nine points and just 227 yards of total offense.
Tennessee: Recorded three tackles, including half a stop for a loss (-1 yard) against the Volunteers ... directed a defense that held UT to 108 total yards made up of just 44 yards passing and 64 yards on the ground. LSU: Played in a limited role after sustaining injuries on back-to-back drives early in the game ... still managed three stops with half a sack (-3 yards) and added one pass breakup. Mississippi State: Registered six tackles, a quarterback hurry and one pass breakup. Auburn: Returned to the field after sitting out the Tide’s final home contest, finishing with a career-high tying eight tackles ... added half a tackle for loss (-2 yards) and one pass breakup to his totals against the Tigers
Selected as a first team All-American by the Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association and Pro Football Focus ... earned second-team honors from Walter Camp and Sporting News ... tabbed as a first team All-SEC selection by both the coaches and the Associated Press ... semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award ... midseason All-American by CBS Sports and ESPN . Returned four interceptions for touchdowns during his career to set the Alabama all-time mark for pick-sixes ... led the team in interceptions (6) and interception return yards (186) ... his 186 return yards ranks near the top nationally while his six picks tied for seventh in the FBS ... tied for second on the Alabama defense in pass breakups (7) and is tied for fourth in tackles (62) ... his 41 solo stops ranked third on the team ... also added five tackles for loss (-14 yards) and one sack (-9 yards) to go with a forced fumble. Sselected as the Walter Camp Defensive and Bednarik Player of the Week as well as the Thorpe Defensive Back of the Week for his three-interception performance at Arkansas ... selected as SEC Defensive Player of the Week against Arkansas ... named by the UA coaching staff as one of its players of the week on special teams against USC, Western Kentucky, Auburn and Washington, and one of the staff’s defensive players of the week against Kent State, Arkansas, Chattanooga and Florida. USC: Finished with six total tackles, including one on kickoff coverage, and a career-high tying two pass breakups by night’s end ... helped limit the Trojan offense to only 130 yards through the air.
Western Kentucky: Recorded five tackles with a pass breakup and a forced fumble ... caused the fumble on the opening kickoff, recording his second special teams tackle of the season ... helped limit the Hilltoppers to 216 yards through the air. Ole Miss: Registered six tackles, including half a tackle for loss, against the Rebels ... exited the game early due to an injury, missing most of the second half. Kent State: Had a huge half of play, registering three tackles, including 1.5 sacks (-13 yards) ... the sacks were the first of his career ... helped limit the KSU passing game to only 84 yards through the air. Kentucky: Wrapped up his night with a pair of tackles against the Wildcats ... played a key role in limiting the UK offense to only 89 yards receiving.
Arkansas: Collected a career-high three interceptions for 114 return yards with one pick going for six ... also had five tackles and a pair of pass breakups ... his 100-yard interception return for a score set the Alabama all-time record for longest pick-six and gave him the third interception return for a score of his career to tie the UA all-time career mark ... earned three National Defensive Player of the Week awards along with SEC honors. Tennessee: Totaled a season-high tying six stops ... played a key role in limiting the Volunteer passing game to only 131 yards through the air. Texas A&M: Made three solo tackles and helped the Crimson Tide limit No. 6 Texas A&M to just 278 yards of total offense. LSU: Picked off his fourth pass of the season in the fourth to help secure a 10-0 shutout ... had three tackles and his sixth pass breakup of the season ... helped limit LSU to just 92 yards passing and 125 total yards, including just 25 total yards in the second half.
Mississippi State: Tied for the team lead in tackles with six, including three solo stops ... added a tackle for loss (-2 yards) ... helped limit the MSU quarterback to a 61.15 quarterback rating. Chattanooga: Recorded three solo total tackles with a tackle for loss (-1 yards) ... earned Alabama Defensive Player of the Week accolades for his efforts in holding the Mocs to 184 total yards, including just 70 yards rushing. Auburn: Totaled four tackles and one pass breakup against the Tigers ... earned UA coaches’ special teams player of the week honors, highlighted by one tackle on kickoff coverage to stop the Tiger returner after a gain of 14 yards.
Florida: Set the Alabama all-time mark for pick-sixes with the fourth of his career, returning it 44 yards for a touchdown ... the interception was his team-leading fifth of the season ... added four tackles, including 1.5 for loss (-2 yards) ... his efforts earned him defensive player of the week honors from the UA coaching staff. Washington: Picked off his team-leading sixth pass of the season, returning the interception 28 yards to seal the Crimson Tide victory ... added six tackles on the day with one coming on kickoff coverage and another on punt team ... earned special teams player of the week honors from the UA coaching staff for his efforts. Clemson: Registered four tackles against the Tigers from his start safety spot.
Named a Freshman All-American (Sporting News) and to the Freshman All-SEC Team ... slotted into the lineup immediately, notched 45 total tackles, with three for a loss (-18 yards), two sacks (-17 yards), two interceptions (both returned for scores), 11 pass breakups and one quarterback hurry ... on special teams, had six tackles and one blocked punt, returning that same punt for a score ... claimed three weekly awards following the Texas A&M contest, including SEC Freshman of the Week to go with Walter Camp and FWAA Defensive Player of the Week honors.
..Named one of the players of the week by the Alabama coaching staff in consecutive weeks for his efforts against ULM and at Texas A&M on defense, and at Georgia and home against LSU on special teams. Wisconsin: Made an impact on defense and special teams in his first career game with the Crimson Tide, finishing with five tackles (three unassisted, two assisted), including one sack for a loss of nine yards, and one pass breakup. Middle Tennessee: Earned his first career start on defense, beginning the game at the star position ... finished the game with three total tackles while adding one pass breakup. Ole Miss: Rounded out his night with two tackles and added one pass breakup for the third straight game. ULM: Set a career-high and led the team with seven tackles, including one for a loss (-1 yard) ... helped limit the Warhawk offense to just 92 yards of offense.
Georgia: Made an impact all over the field in his four consecutive start ... finished the day in Athens with four tackles, including a sack (-8 yards), and one pass breakup ... on special teams, blocked a Bulldog punt and returned the ball for a touchdown, the Tide’s first blocked punt returned for a score since 2013. Arkansas: Recorded one tackle while breaking up a career-high two Razorback passes, one of which he nearly picked off. Texas A&M: Became the first player in Alabama history to record two pick-sixes in the same game, returning two interceptions for scores from 33 and 55 yards out ... his 88 return yards in one game ranked as the seventh most in a single game in program history ... also added two tackles. Tennessee: Tied his season high with seven tackles against the Vols ... added one pass breakup in the secondary.
LSU: Notched two special teams tackles against the Tigers ... his first tackle came on the Tide’s first punt of the game, hitting the LSU returner the instant he caught the boot and stopping the ball for no return. Mississippi State: Recorded six tackles in limited action ... exited the game after suffering a leg injury midway through the second quarter. Auburn: Returned from injury after sitting out the Charleston Southern game ... recorded one tackle, pass breakup and his first career quarterback hurry ... helped limit the Tigers to 169 yards through the air. Florida: Notched one tackle in his start in the Crimson Tide secondary ... provided coverage on the Gator wideouts to limit UF to a 37.5 percent completion rate. Michigan State: Broke up one pass against the Spartans ... helped force MSU into two picks and a 19-of-39 passing day. Clemson: Made the start against the Tigers, finishing with four tackles and a season-high tying two pass breakups.
Attended St. Peter Pep High School in Old Bridge, N. J. One of the top cornerbacks in the 2015 recruiting class … named to the 2015 Parade All-America team … selected to participate in the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game and Nike’s 2014 “The Opening” … a five-star prospect by Rivals.com and Scout.com … 2014 second team All-USA selection by USA Today … first team MaxPreps.com Junior All-American in 2013 … the nation’s No. 2 corner by Rivals.com and No. 24 in the Rivals100.
No. 1 player in the state of New Jersey by Rivals.com, ESPN and Scout.com … No. 2 in the final NJ.com Top 50 … No. 36 in the Scout300 and the outlet’s No. 6 cornerback while ranking as the No. 1 corner in the East region … No. 27 in the ESPN300 and the No. 4 corner … ranked No. 3 among all players in the East region … the No. 5 cornerback and No. 30 overall in the 247Composite … ranked 49th in the Top247 and the No. 6 cornerback … No. 28 on the Prepstar Top 150 Dream Team …
Made 60 tackles and caught three interceptions as a senior in 2014 … accounted for 62 tackles with four picks and 21 pass breakups as a junior in 2013 while earning first team All-State honors (non-public) and first team All-Hudson County … was No. 1 player in the 2013 NJ.com Top 50 … had two interceptions and 12 pass breakups as a sophomore … played for head coach Rich Hansen at St. Peter’s Prep (N.J.) … chose Alabama over Florida State, Oklahoma, Auburn and Boston College.
Draft Scout Player News
02/28/18 - 2018 NFL Combine Quotes: What stands out about Minkah Fitzpatrick and do you think he can play corner or safety in NFL: "He has the ability to play both. Again, when you put him in your system, let's see where the best fit is for him within your system, but he's a very talented player. There's no question that he can play both positions." Have you seen enough that he can play outside: "He can play outside. Yes, he can." Do you know where you'd want to play him: "Well, we haven't, again, we haven't worked with him or talked to him or any of those things. He's not on our football team. So I think that's the most important thing. Let's see where this all goes, and if he's a Cleveland Brown, believe me, we'll have the right spot for him to play for us." - Hue Jackson, Head Coach, Cleveland Browns
01/11/18 - National champion Alabama is losing four more underclassmen to the NFL draft, including All-America safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick, safety Ronnie Harrison and tailback Bo Scarbrough announced Thursday they're skipping their senior seasons. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban says defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne is also entering the draft. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley already had announced his departure. Fitzpatrick is a unanimous All-American who won the Bednarik Award and Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive player and defensive back, respectively. Harrison led the team in tackles and had three interceptions. Payne was a key run-stopper in the middle and also had an interception and touchdown catch in the semifinal win over Clemson. Scarbrough ran for 596 yards and eight touchdowns. - AP College Football
01/09/18 - Alabama was voted No. 1 in the final Associated Press college football poll after the Crimson Tide beat Georgia in the national championship game. Unbeaten Central Florida finished sixth. The Crimson Tide received 57 of 61 first-place votes from the media panel after its 26-23 overtime win on Monday night. UCF received the other four and finished with the best ranking in the history of the program. The Knights are the first bowl-eligible team to finish the season undefeated and not win a national title since TCU in 2010. Ohio State was 12-0 in 2012, but banned from the postseason by the NCAA.
Georgia finished second, its best ranking since 2007, and Oklahoma was third, followed by Clemson and Ohio State. The AP national championship is the 11th for the Crimson Tide, three more than any other school, and fifth under coach Nick Saban since 2009. Saban joins the late Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant as the only coaches with five AP titles. Alabama is the first preseason No. 1 to finish No. 1 since Southern California in 2004 and the 11th overall. For the fourth time, two teams from the same conference finished Nos. 1 and 2. The last three times it has happened involved Southeastern Conference teams at the top (2007, 2011 and now 2017). - AP College Football
01/06/18 - DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, who suffered a kidney injury in last week's victory over Clemson, said he's definitely playing in Monday night's national title game against Georgia. "I'm feeling great," he said at a press conference Saturday. "I have two kidneys functioning at full function. I'm good." Fitzpatrick said he suffered the injury in the first quarter of the 24-6 win over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl, finishing the game while playing in pain. He went to the hospital on Tuesday and was held out of a practice before returning to the field Thursday.
12/13/17 - 2017 ALL-SEC FIRST TEAM (COACHES): DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama,...Junior defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick and sophomore defensive lineman Raekwon Davis were first-team selections on defense. Sophomore offensive lineman Jonah Williams and junior receiver Calvin Ridley received first-team honors on offense while senior punter JK Scott was tabbed as the first-team punter. The first-team honors are the third for Scott (2014, 2016) and second for Fitzpatrick (2016). Ridley was a second-team selection in 2015 and 2016. Fitzpatrick is the Tide's fifth-leading tackler with 52 stops this season and has added six tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, seven pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and a blocked kick through 12 games in 2017. - Alabama Football