Award watch lists are being released all over the country, and Alabama Football is well-represented on most of them. One of the more difficult to predict is the Comeback Player of the Year Award, which seeks to “recognize college football student-athletes for overcoming injury, illness, or other circumstances.”
Heading into the 2023 season, two Crimson Tide players have been named to the watch list for this year’s Comeback Player of the Year.
Fifth-year defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe appears to be primed for a breakout year. Eboigbe was well on his way to the best season of his career before his 2022 campaign was cut short after just four games. He suffered a rare and complicated neck injury that required surgery and a meticulous rehabilitation process, effectively ending his senior season.
Eboigbe is back in Tuscaloosa for a second chance at his senior season, and is expected to be one of the leaders on the Alabama defensive line. In his career, he has made 59 tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss, adding two sacks, two fumble recoveries, and an interception.
For Justin Eboigbe to win the Comeback Player of the Year Award would mean he lived up to the preseason hype and was a disruptive member of the Bama defensive line.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyler Buchner was also named to the watch list. Buchner transferred to Alabama during the offseason, having played the previous two years for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
He won the starting quarterback job in South Bend as a redshirt freshman, but suffered a serious shoulder injury in just the second game of the season. After initially being ruled out for the season, Buchner was actually able to return for Notre Dame’s bowl game. He played his best game to date, leading the Irish to a 45-38 victory over South Carolina in the Gator Bowl.
Buchner would need chaos to occur in the Alabama Football quarterback room to be the day one starter, but there is still a chance he will contribute.