Talent from Florida may have impact on Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
The Sunshine State will be well-represented on Monday night, and not just because the CFP Championship Game is taking place at Miami Springs' Hard Rock Stadium.
The Alabama Crimson Tide has 16 Floridians on the roster, while the Ohio State Buckeyes have five. Many of these players have been critical this season for both teams.
You need look no further than either team's starting defensive backfield.
Alabama's Floridian DB's Patrick Surtain II, Josh Jobe, Jordan Battle and Daniel Wright
For the Tide, all four starters in Alabama's 31-14 semifinal victory over Notre Dame are from Florida -- cornerbacks Patrick Surtain II (Plantation) and Josh Jobe (Miami) and safeties Jordan Battle and Daniel Wright (both from Fort Lauderdale). Surtain's connection with Florida is quite deep -- his father, Patrick Surtain, played for the Miami Dolphins.
Ohio State's Florida cornerbacks Sevyn Banks and Tyreke Johnson
But the Buckeyes won't be outdone with Floridian defensive backs -- both starting corners are from the state, as Shaun Wade is from Jacksonville and Sevyn Banks is from Orlando. Also, Tyreke Johnson from Jacksonville backs up Banks.
Tide quarterback Mac Jones is from Jacksonville
Of course, the biggest name from Florida in Monday's game is at quarterback for Alabama: Mac Jones. Jones attended The Bolles School in Jacksonville before heading to Tuscaloosa, waiting patiently behind future NFL quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa before he got his chance. He made the most of it, ending up as a Heisman Trophy finalist.
Alabama OT Alex Leatherwood is from Pensacola
Protecting Jones' blind side is the job of another Floridian, Alex Leatherwood, from Pensacola. Leatherwood has started for three seasons for the Crimson Tide, moving from guard to his current position, left tackle, where he has become a potential first-round NFL Draft pick.
Leatherwood's fellow offensive tackle, Evan Neal, is also a Floridian, from Okeechobee.
Buckeyes lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere; Alabama lineman Tim Smith
And the Buckeyes, not to be outdone, have a big Floridian playing the line as well -- Nicholas Petit-Frere from Tampa starts at tackle.
Petit-Frere may have to deal with Alabama defensive lineman Tim Smith, from Sebastian, who has seen action in eight games so far this season.