BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The University of Alabama football team, preparing to open its first season under head coach Nick Saban, placed six individuals on the Southeastern Conference coaches preseason teams, the league announced today. The Tide had one player on the first team, three on second teams and two individuals who earned third-team honors after voting by the league's 12 coaches.
LSU led the league with 12 honorees, followed by Arkansas with 11, Auburn with eight and five teams, including Alabama, with six individuals on preseason All-SEC teams.
Senior cornerback Simeon Castille was the only UA player earning first-team accolades. The three-year letterman from Birmingham led the Tide in interceptions and fumble recoveries in 2006 after picking off six passes and recovering three fumbles during the season. Against Vanderbilt, Castille became the first Alabama player to record two interceptions in a single game since 2003 when he picked off two Commodore passes en route to a Tide victory. He repeated that feat later in the season in a game at Tennessee.
A pair of Tide offensive linemen earned second-team honors on the offensive side. Junior center Antoine Caldwell and sophomore tackle Andre Smith made the cut after stellar 2006 campaigns. Caldwell, who hails from Montgomery, was a second team All-SEC honoree following his sophomore season, while Smith, a Birmingham native, earned Freshmen All-SEC and Freshmen All-American honors from several publications after starting all 13 games as a true freshman.
On the defensive side, sophomore linebacker Prince Hall joined Smith and Caldwell on the second team. Hall, a Freshman All-American from Moreno Valley, Calif., was third on the team with 77 tackles in 2006 after redshirting in his initial season of eligibility. He had a career-high 13 tackles against Mississippi State a season ago.
Senior Wallace Gilberry was named to the third defensive team. The Bay Minette native and three-year letterman started all 13 games for UA in 2006. He posted a career-high 43 tackles last season while tallying 10.5 tackles for loss.
The final Alabama honoree was placekicker Jamie Christensen, who was named third-team kicker by the league's coaches. Christensen, who missed time as a junior with a groin injury, became the first Tide player to kick game-winning field goals in successive weeks in 2005, when he booted a 31-yarder to beat Ole Miss and a 34-yarder the following week to earn a 6-3 victory over Tennessee in Tuscaloosa.
The selections mark the fourth year of the coaches preseason All-SEC team, released prior to the league's annual football media days. Members of the media will also select an All-SEC preseason team next week.
Alabama opens its season on Sept. 1 when it welcomes Western Carolina to Bryant-Denny Stadium.