Courtney Upshaw was drafted 35th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Considered to be one of the best pass rushing outside linebackers in his class, Upshaw has a chance to be yet another terrific linebacker in the Baltimore Ravens decorated franchise. Coming out of high school, Upshaw was rated the 4th best defensive end prospect in the country and 29th overall by ESPN.com 150 list.
Upshaw played his college ball at Alabama, where he was coached by one of the best in college football: Nick Saban. Under Saban, he enjoyed tremendous success as the Crimson Tide won the 2010 and 2012 BCS National Championship games. In 2010, Alabama defeated Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators, who were the defending National Champions. Upshaw made his mark on the game by recovering a fumble with 3:08 remaining in the fourth quarter, which sealed the win for the Crimson Tide.
The following year, Alabama earned the right to play in the 2011 Capital One Bowl against Michigan State. Upshaw was voted MVP of the game after his inspiring performance which included two sacks, a forced fumble, and three tackles for a loss. His senior season, Upshaw was named first team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America. In his final game, the BCS National Championship against undefeated LSU, Upshaw led the Crimson Tide to their second title in three years. He was named defensive MVP for his seven tackle performance, which included a sack and one tackle for loss.
PPI: I thought your game was similar to LaMarr Woodley?
Upshaw: I definitely compare myself to LaMarr as well. We kind of get the same comparison because we are what they call “short” or whatnot, but we get after it and that’s one thing I like to do. I’m a football player. I love being on the defensive side of the ball, the physical part of the game. In the game, Coach Saban preferred me to rush because I was one of the better pass rushers, so I’m willing and able to do it. If it’s playing defensive end or playing outside backer, I’m willing and able to do it.
PPI: We know coach Saban doesn’t bring everybody together and sing Kumbaya so you’ve been coached hard in your career I assume?
Upshaw: I had my share of being yelled at, but as a freshman you’ve got to learn how to take it and be humble and be mature. That’s something honestly I had to learn my first year and I thought I was going to be red-shirted. I had to play special teams but it ended up great because I got two National Championships out of it and like you said, he’s one of the best at it.
By Brian Law