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McClain, Simpson Honored at Walk of Fame Ceremony



By Scott Latta
UA Media Relations

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.- In recognition for their work as 2006 team captains on the Alabama football team, former Crimson Tide players Le'Ron McClain and Juwan Simpson were honored at Denny Chimes prior to Saturday's A-Day Game as the newest inductees into Alabama's Walk of Fame.

McClain, a Tuscaloosa native, and Simpson, a native of Decatur, both had their hands and feet enshrined in cement on Alabama's quad alongside previous team captains from the Crimson Tide football team.

"I thought it was such an honor that they get to carry on this tradition," former Alabama coach Joe Kines, who honored McClain and Simpson Saturday, said. "This is one of the traditions that's kind of unique to Alabama, the hand and the footprints that will be out here forever. I think one of the things that makes it the most special is they were chosen by their teammates at the end of the year. They're the guys that the team thought provided the most leadership for them throughout the year and we're real proud of that."

Simpson finished the 2006 season tied for first on the Alabama defense with 86 tackles, including 16 for a loss. He also had an interception and forced two fumbles.

"It means so much," Simpson said. "It's an honor and blessing and something you hear about growing up as a kid and something everyone strives to do, to be a captain. It means so much because you're voted by your teammates. The coaches decide everything else but the teammates select the captain and that's the most special thing about it. It'll be something that's remembered forever."

McClain, who started all 13 games for Alabama and is expected to be one of the top fullbacks selected in this year's NFL Draft, averaged over five yards per rush for the Crimson Tide last season. He also reeled in 20 passes, averaging almost nine yards per catch, with three touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime against Ole Miss.

"It's great, and it's something I've dreamed about walking by here and walking by to class every day," McClain said. "It's a great accomplishment for me and Juwan and it's something that we've both been dreaming about since we were little boys, getting our handprints outside Denny Chimes."