Anthony Averett has paid his dues, patiently waited his turn and the result is that he is going to end his football career at the University of Alabama by playing for a national championship.
Averett is in his second season as a starting cornerback for the Crimson Tide, who will play defending national champ Clemson in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans 8:45 p.m. on New Year’s.
A star at Woodbury, Averett, was a consensus All-South Jersey player in high school and was named a second-team all-American by Max Preps.
During his senior year Averett played quarterback and cornerback, guiding Woodbury to a 10-2 record and a berth in the South Jersey Group 1 championship.
One of the classic games was a 14-13 win over Glassboro in the South Jersey Group 1 semifinal. That was a battle between two of South Jersey’s top players, Averett and running back Corey Clement of Glassboro.
Clement is now a vital member of the Eagles after a stellar career at the University of Wisconsin.
In that classic game, he rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries.
With Woodbury trailing 13-6, Averett found Daevon Ayers for a touchdown and a two-point conversion pass to give the Thundering the lead for good, 14-13, with 3:07 left.
Woodbury would lose the next week, 30-14 to Penns Grove in Averett’s final high school game.
In choosing Alabama, Averett had to patiently wait his turn. He redshirted as a freshman, saw action in just one game his redshirt freshman season and was primarily a special teams player as a redshirt sophomore.
Some players might have transferred while seeing such limited action, but Averett stuck it out and he earned a starting spot as a junior. That season he recorded 48 tackles, including 39 solos. He had a team-high eight pass break-ups and also forced two fumbles. He also tied for the team lead with eight stops on kickoff coverage.
This season he has 40 tackles and is tied for second on the team with 40 pass breakups. He was named one of the Alabama coach staff’s defensive players of the week for his effort in wins over Fresno State and Mississippi State.
Averett intercepted his first pass in the Fresno State win.
In 2015, while playing mostly on special teams, he was part of Alabama’s national championship team.
While his playing time was limited, it was still quite an experience and it also showed how hard it is to get on the field for one of college football’s certified powers.
Now, just as in high school, Averett will be in the hunt for a championship. Then the NFL will surely be a part of his future.
Walterfootball.com projects Averett as the eighth best cornerback in the draft and has him projected to be selected between the second and third round.
For now, all the focus will be on the upcoming semifinal football game, where South Jersey fans will be watching No. 28 closely as he tries to end his career on a winning note.