NEW ORLEANS, La. ?? University of Alabama true freshman linebacker Rolando McClain has been named to the 2007 Freshman All-America team by the Football Writers Association of American (FWAA) and AON Insurance at the organization’s annual awards breakfast on Tuesday.
McClain, a native of Decatur, started in nine of the team’s 13 games in his initial collegiate season. He became the first true freshman since Saleem Rasheed in 1999 to start the season-opener at the linebacker spot in Alabama’s 52-6 win over Western Carolina on Sept. 1.
A 2007 Coaches Freshmen All-Southeastern Conference selection, McClain finished the season with 75 tackles, good for fourth-best on the team. He added five tackles for loss, one sack, four pass breakups and two interceptions.
McClain had 15 tackles in the regular-season finale at Auburn and picked off a pass in the second quarter, the first interception of his career. Against Colorado in the PetroSun Independence Bowl, McClain tallied five tackles and picked off another pass on the Buffaloes’ first play from scrimmage despite playing with a fractured thumb.
For his efforts in the class room, McClain earned the team’s Academic Excellence Award at the team awards banquet in early December.