Alford rewarded for superb season
Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 08:12
For senior defensive back and Hammond native Robert Alford, the list of accolades continues to grow.
Most recently, Alford was named to the All-Southland Conference team as a first-team selection and was selected to play in the 2013 Senior Bowl, the nation’s top collegiate All-Star game.
“It’s an honor,” said Alford. “I have an opportunity to go out and put on for my school and conference.”
The Senior Bowl is an annual pre-draft event that features the country’s best senior collegiate football players and top NFL draft prospects. Alford is the first Lion to be selected to play in the Senior Bowl since 1970, when All-American Ronnie Hornsby was named defensive co-captain and scored his teams’ lone touchdown on an interception return.
Alford is among the nations top defensive backs, being named to the Buck Buchanan Award list, an award given to the best defensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision, formally known as Division I-AA.
“He’s a great player, athletically there’s no question about it,” said Lions head coach Ron Roberts. “I think he has made improvements in the mental part of his game and he will continue to do that.”
Alford put in his share of work to earn these honors this season. Throughout the season, however, he saw limited throwing action to his side of the field. Alford recorded four interceptions and led the team with 12 passes defended.
Robert shined throughout the season, but in weeks four and five he made key plays that helped propel the Lions to consecutive victories.
In week four, versus then No. 17 McNeese State, Alford made a crucial interception with 2:33 left to play as McNeese was driving for the go ahead touchdown. Alford’s interception sealed the 25-24 victory for the Lions.
“Robert allowed us to do a lot of different things in our secondary,” said Roberts. “His confidence in making big plays for us reflected on our entire defense and helped us play well as a unit.”
In week five Alford had arguably his best game of the season in a win at conference opponent Lamar. In the third quarter, Alford returned a 75-yard punt for a touchdown, giving the Lions a 24-14 lead that swung the momentum in the Lions’ favor. In the fourth quarter, Alford made his presence felt again as Lamar was driving for a final score and sealed the deal with yet another game ending interception.
Plays such as this throughout the season have propelled Alford to the biggest award lists in the nation, and he is expected to be the first Lions player taken in the NFL draft since the university resumed football in 2003.
“Throughout the season, I just did anything I could to help my team win,” said Alford. “If it was returning punts, playing offense or at corner, I just did it for my team and the season turned out pretty good.”