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January 4, 2006TUSCALOOSA, Ala. --- University of Alabama junior wide receiver Tyrone Prothro has been named Pontiac's Game Changing Performer of the Year after his acrobatic catch against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. The announcement was made tonight during halftime of the Rose Bowl's National Championship game between Texas and Southern California.
Pontiac will donate a check for $100,000 to the University's general scholarship fund in Prothro's name. The Crimson Tide football team has been responsible for $150,000 worth of donations to the University's general scholarship fund this season. Alabama garnered five different Pontiac Game Changing Performances this season, receiving $5,000 for each honor and senior linebacker DeMeco Ryans earned an additional $25,000 for the general scholarship fund at Alabama when he was awarded the Lott Trophy given to the nation's outstanding defensive football player.
"It was an honor to be among the top four nominated," Prothro said. "It was real exciting to have the opportunity to make a play like that and now it has a chance to named play of the year." Prothro, who broke his leg three weeks later in the Florida game, finished the season with 17 catches for 325 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged a team-best 19.1 yards per reception.
"It is very gratifying to be able to make such a direct impact on the funding of student scholarships," said Tide head coach Mike Shula, whose team is coming off a 13-10 Cotton Bowl win over Texas Tech. "Who knows what the impact will be when someone receives scholarship money to attend The University of Alabama? I am very proud of this team for providing scholarship funds for those who need help.
"I'm very proud of Tyrone, too, and the play that he made," Shula added. "We think it was just as much a season-changing play as a game-changing play. Tyrone had a tremendous impact on this team and this season."
Prothro's catch gave the Tide the ball on the USM one-yard line leading to a touchdown just before halftime. Alabama carried the momentum into the second half and finished with a 30-21 victory over the Golden Eagles. The Tide finished 10-2 on the season for an NCAA record 28th time in school history.
Alabama's other Pontiac Game-Changing Performances were by Keith Brown against South Carolina; Roman Harper against Tennessee; Matt Miller against Mississippi State and Prothro against Florida.
"Growth in our scholarship fund has helped propel The University of Alabama forward as we are increasingly able to attract some of the nation's top high school students to the Capstone," said UA president, Dr. Robert Witt. "Congratulations to our student athletes for this national recognition and thank you to Pontiac and other sponsors who generously support athletic and academic accomplishment."