Hightower: Upshaw Tide's defensive MVP

NEW ORLEANS -- Depending on the week, and depending on whom you ask, the MVP for this Alabama defense could be any number of guys.

Linebacker Dont’a Hightower, linebacker Courtney Upshaw, safety Mark Barron and cornerback DeQuan Menzie would all get votes.

Hightower’s vote goes to Upshaw, who enters the Allstate BCS National Championship Game on Monday second in the SEC with 17 tackles for loss.

“In my eyes, he’s the MVP of this defense,” Hightower said Friday. “He’s the one who gets everybody going. He’s always the one who makes the big tackle for a loss or who makes a sack or who forces a fumble.

“I definitely feel like we kind feed off of him throughout the game.”

For his part, Upshaw said playing with so many talented players around him opens up a lot of chances.

“We push each other, and I think we all make each other better,” said Upshaw, who leads Alabama with 8.5 sacks. “And in this defense, you’re always in position to make plays because our coaches are so good. I don’t know how they do it, but it seems like they’re always a step ahead of the other team.”