28 Days Away from Bama Kickoff: Javier Arenas
Each day counting down to Alabama's Week 1 matchup with Utah State, I will highlight one former player whose jersey number coincides with the amount of days until the game. Kickoff is in only 28 days, so let's take a look at the Crimson Tide career of former Bama cornerback Javier Arenas.
Javier Arenas suited up at cornerback for the Crimson Tide from 2006-09 and was a crucial piece of the early part of the Nick Saban era. Though he was recruited by a different staff, Arenas bought into Saban's philosophy and helped lay the foundation of a dynasty.
A three-star recruit in 2006 out of Tampa, FL, Arenas was the 73rd ranked player in the state and held offers from just two schools: Florida Atlantic and Alabama. The 5-foot-10, 180 lb. athlete rolled with the Tide and quickly found his way onto the field in 2006.
In Arenas' freshman season, he took over as the Tide's kick and punt returner, utilizing his excellent speed and athleticism. He finished the year with over 600 yards on 49 returns and scored two touchdowns, signaling what would come for the under recruited star.
As a sophomore, Arenas continued to man kick and punt return duties, finishing with nearly 1,000 yards and a touchdown on 48 returns. He also served as a rotational cornerback, helping provide depth to the Tide defense.
In 2008, the former three-star again served as the Tide's premier return man, but also took over as a starter on defense. He compiled over 1,200 yards and three touchdowns on 67 returns and was a lockdown cornerback. Though the season ended in ultimate disappointment, with Alabama dropping its final two games of the year, the Tide proved it was a team on the rise heading into 2009.
Arenas' final season saw it all come together for not only the cornerback, but the team as well. The Tide finished undefeated and dominated the Texas Longhorns to win the first national title under Saban, and Arenas earned SEC Special Teams Player of the Year, First Team All-SEC and was named a consensus All-American.
After a storybook senior season, Arenas was drafted in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs where he spent three seasons, mostly serving as s return specialist. He was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in 2013, but spent just a season in Arizona as his rookie deal expired.
He signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons in 2014, but appeared in only six games and did not record any stats. Arenas got one more opportunity with the New York Jets after his brief sting in Atlanta, but did not make the final roster.
The former Alabama star spent time with the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League in 2017, but again did not make the final roster and was cut before the season. He joined the Alabama staff that same year and worked with the cornerbacks, and now runs his own football camps in Florida near his hometown.