The Alabama Crimson Tide did not make it to the College Football Playoff national championship game on January 8.  For a change, no SEC team was in the final game.

Some Alabama folks did not even bother to watch the CFP national championship game. Fewer still went to Houston to watch Michigan play Washington for all the marbles.

One notable exception was Mobile attorney Desi Tobias. He had a close reason to be in Houston, pulling for the Michigan Wolverines. His nephew, William Wagner, is Michigan's long snapper. Wagner centers the ball on extra points, field goals and punts.

The center is a vital and necessary part of a football team's offense. That point was clear in Alabama's Rose Bowl loss to Michigan when the Crimson Tide had problems getting the ball from the center to the quarterback.

The long snapper is different. He must get the ball cleanly from the center to the kicker. That job at the University of Michigan falls to Wagner, number 49.

Wagner's uncle Desi Tobias is a long-time and well-known lawyer in Mobile.

Michigan won the national championship, and Wagner will receive a ring, a valuable and coveted ring.

On Wednesday, William Wagner's mother, Michelle Wagner, said, "Thank you all for your texts, love and excitement for our family! What a magical experience this year has been with Team 144 and their families! We are so proud of William and his teammates. We definitely feel for William that God put him where he needed to be for so many reasons! Many of you have prayed us through this journey and we can't thank you enough! At Michigan they say THOSE WHO STAY WILL BE CHAMPIONS and they did it!!!"

William Wagner snaps from center for Michigan extra point in championship game against Washington. Alabama News
William Wagner snaps from center for Michigan extra point in championship game against Washington. Photo: Michelle Wagner.
Michigan long snapper William Wagner congratulated by family after winning national championship. Alabama News
Michigan long snapper William Wagner congratulated by family after winning national championship. Photo: Facebook.
Mobile attorney “Uncle Desi” Tobias with right hand pointing forward with family of his nephew, William Wagner, front center, after Michigan CFP victory. Alabama News
Mobile attorney “Uncle Desi” Tobias with right hand pointing forward with family of his nephew, William Wagner, front center, after Michigan CFP victory. Photo: Facebook.

Desi Tobias went to the University of Alabama for his undergraduate degree. He then got his law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Birmingham's Samford University in 1987.

Tobias is a native Mobilian and graduated high school at Mobile's McGill-Toolen, where he has served on the school advisory board. He now represents victims of personal injury for his own law firm, Tobias and Comer.

Other members of the Tobias and Wagner family are Desi Tobias' wife, the former Cecelia Mills of Mobile, and their four children, Desmond, III, Michael, and twins Jack and Macy.

Desi Tobias may have been the only Alabama graduate posing with a Michigan player after the Wolverines won the national championship. A once-in-a-lifetime shot.

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

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