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Five Freshmen of Influence

Cooper proved too much for the UGA secondary to handle.

Each week during the 2012 season, BOL highlights five freshmen -- either redshirt or true -- who are making strong contributions for the Crimson Tide. Here are the top five following Alabama's 32-28 win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game:

1.] WR Amari Cooper (last week: 1)
Georgia: Two more receptions of 40-plus yards, giving him six catches of 40 yards or more in his last seven games. Game-winning touchdown grab was his ninth score of the season, placing Cooper just one behind the UA single-season mark. Closing in on Julio Jones' freshman 2008 totals for receptions (58) and receiving yards (924). One of four players to receive Offensive Achievement Award at UA football banquet.
Season to date: Appeared in all 13 games, making a team-high 53 receptions for 895 yards and nine touchdowns. Caught 49 passes over the last nine games. Hauled in 822 yards worth of passes during that span for an average of 16.8 yards per catch. Two-time 247sports National Freshman of the Week selection.

2.] RB TJ Yeldon (2)
Georgia: Remember that foot sprain from a few weeks ago? Yeah, the UGA defense doesn't either. Converted huge third-and-5 in the fourth quarter, dragging Georgia safety Shawn Williams for more than half of the yardage needed to move the sticks. In rushing for 153 yards against the Bulldogs, Yeldon sits at an even 1,000 yards for the season. Lone score in the game was his tenth in last eight games. Offensive player of the game honors from UA coaching staff and one of four players to receive Offensive Achievement Award at UA football banquet.
Season to date: Rushed for 1,000 yards in thirteen games, easily surpassing freshman numbers for Mark Ingram (728 yards in 2008) and Trent Richardson (751 yards in 2009). Player of the week honors from the UA coaching staff following wins over Mississippi State and Georgia. Offensive player of the game honors from CBS for his efforts against LSU.

3.] CB Geno Smith (4)
Georgia: Working at the star position in the nickel and dime packages, Smith continued in his role as a central figure in the secondary. Third down pass breakup late in the third quarter gave the ball back to the offense, which proceeded to march 74 yards for a go-ahead score. One of five players to receive Commitment to Academic Excellence Award at UA football banquet.
Season to date: Appeared in 12 games, making two starts. Recorded eight total tackles, a half tackle for loss and two pass breakups.

4.] JLB Denzel Devall (3)
Georgia: Saw action at outside linebacker and on special teams but did not record a tackle. One of five players to receive Commitment to Academic Excellence Award at UA football banquet.
Season to date: Appeared in every game, recording 17 total tackles, including three for loss, two sacks, three quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery. Defensive player of the week honors from the UA coaching staff after posting two sacks against Mississippi State.

5.] S Landon Collins (5)
Georgia: Didn't record a tackle, but still managed to pick up special teams player of the week honors from the Alabama coaching staff for the third straight week. One of four players to receive Special Teams Award at UA football banquet. Play on special teams this season should pave the way to prominent role at safety in 2013.
Season to date: Appeared in all 13 games, recording 14 total tackles and a punt block. Earned special teams player of the week honors from the UA coaching staff following wins over Missouri, WCU, Auburn and Georgia.

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