By Jonathan Deal
William Ming has a chance to do something Monday few college football players have ever accomplished. The former Athens standout already has two national championship rings and could add another if Alabama can win its third BCS National Championship in four years Monday night.
Ming will suit up for the Crimson Tide Monday, just like he has for the last two BCS National Championship games Alabama has won since he joined the team in 2009. The redshirt junior will be one of a handful of players on the team with the opportunity to do what few players have done in the history of college football and win three national championships.
“William was a lifelong Alabama fan,” said Bill Ming, William’s father. “He just appreciated the opportunity to get a scholarship and be a part of something special. It has turned out to be something more special than he ever imagined, to be there four years and playing for his third national championship.”
Bill and his wife, Susan, will be on hand to watch the Crimson Tide play Notre Dame just as they were for the previous two title games. While their son grew up an Alabama fan, the talented defensive lineman was not limited in where he could play college football.
“He was the most highly-offered player we’ve ever had,” Athens head coach Allen Creasy said. “He had offers from all over the country. Even during that time, when he had every opportunity to be full of himself, he remained humble and worked hard.”
Ming was a member of rivals.com’s Rivals250, rated as the nation’s No.12 strong-side defensive end and was a four-star prospect according to rivals.com and scout.com in 2009. Ming recorded 47 tackles and four sacks as a senior at Athens in 2008 and made 75 tackles and six sacks as part of the Golden Eagles state championship team in 2006.
“In that championship game, he made a lot of key plays,” Creasy recalled. “He played outside linebacker and they were running right at him all game. He did a great job in that game.”
That game helped thrust Ming into the spotlight as one of the top players in the state for his senior year. The Athens standout redshirted his freshman year in 2009 as Alabama won its first national championship since 1992. Ming has served as a reserve defensive lineman for the past three seasons and has faced numerous All-American offensive linemen during that time.
“He was a dominant player when he was here. He couldn’t be dominant and not make it to where he was,” Creasy said. “Even though he is a role player, he certainly is important. It was kind of that way here. He never questioned what his role was. Sometimes his role was to support the group around him and he always came in and worked hard.”
Ming is the latest Athens athlete to play for the Crimson Tide. Most recently, Rob Ezell and Alfred McCullough graduated from Alabama to add to the growing pipeline from Athens to Tuscaloosa.
“That’s something that we’re very proud of,” Creasy said. “It says a lot about the people that we’ve had playing here. The tradition that we have has allowed our kids to be recruited. They (recruiters) always come through here, regardless of who is (playing) here. Everyone will have an opportunity to go to the next level.”
If Alabama is successful Monday, Ming and a handful of other redshirt juniors and seniors on the team will join two other groups of players in college football history to win three titles in four years since the AP Poll began in 1936. Notre Dame won three championships in 1946, ’47 and ‘49, and Nebraska accomplished the feat in 1994, ‘95 and ‘97.
“This is a once in a lifetime kind of thing for our family,” Ming said. “We’ll be going for our third national championship in four years with William on the team.”
But why stop there?
With William having one more year of eligibility and Alabama sure to be in the top five to start 2013, the Crimson Tide could very well be in this same spot this time next year.