Last night (October 24th), the Lending Tree Bowl hosted its third C Spire 1st and 10 Club meeting. We welcomed Charles Kelly, who is the associate defensive coordinator for the University of Alabama. He joined the defensive staff in 2019, where he is also the safeties coach.
Kelly talked about the upcoming bye week, and what it meant for the team. The Crimson Tide wants to focus on going back to the fundamentals and getting healthy. In his time working with Saban, the most important thing he has learned is preparation. “We may not always be right, we may not always be perfect, but coach (Saban) is going to have a plan for that. Those are the kinds of things we try to reinforce in our players.” He also talks about the struggles of student-athletes with traveling and practice, as well as getting their degrees. He says he admires the young men for the work they put in. The Tide will travel to Louisiana for their game against LSU on the 5th.
Following his speech, he opened up to a Q & A session for the members. One question asked was, “What is it like being around Nick Saban every day?” He answered with, “My thing about working with Coach Saban is a lot of people know a person by what they see on TV or in interviews. The best thing I can tell you is he is one of the finest men I’ve ever been around in my life. Not only do you learn football, but how to prepare and to become a better person.”
In the words of Charles Kelly, “It is always great to see the people that are accomplishing things, and having awards that recognize young people. The more we can do for young people in our community, the better our community is going to be.” The club recognized two local high school students who were awarded with Student Athlete of the Month, while one was awarded with Team Focus Member of the Month.
The Student Athlete of the Month awards were presented by iHeart Radio’s Corey LaBounty and C Spire’s Anita Clark. These players were selected for their recent performance in the 2022 football season. They are as follows:
Defensive Player of the Month, Yusuf Clark (So.), Linebacker, Williamson High School.
Yusuf Clark is a sophomore linebacker for the Williamson Lions. Yusuf started playing a major role in the Lions defense a year ago as a freshman. He has 52 solo tackles on the season, as well as 42 assisting tackles. That averages out to 10.4 tackles per game to go along with the 13 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 1 interception, and 3 blocked punts.
Offensive Player of the Month, Karle “KJ” Lacey (So.), Quarterback, Saraland High School.
KJ Lacey is a sophomore quarterback for the Saraland Spartans. KJ has thrown for 1784 yards this season. He has 27 passing touchdowns, as well as 3 rushing touchdowns. KJ is a tremendously accurate passer, completing over 70 percent. He has helped keep Saraland as one of the top ranked teams in the entire state of Alabama.
Team Focus Member of the Month, Connor McCarrol, Mertz Magnet School
The Team Focus Member of the Month was presented by Aaron Dias, Alabama Director of Team Focus. Team Focus is a mentoring organization for young men without father figures in the home. This was awarded to Connor McCarrol. Connor has a huge heart and is always full of enthusiasm.
The next meeting will take place on Monday, November 7th, with keynote speaker Tim Brando from Fox Sports.