July 25, 2008
HOOVER, Ala. - The University of Alabama had five players named to the 2008 Southeastern Conference Media Days preseason All-SEC Team, the league office announced Friday morning as the three-day event concludes at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover.
Junior offensive tackle Andre Smith and senior defensive back Rashad Johnson were first-team preseason picks by the SEC Media, while senior center Antoine Caldwell, sophomore linebacker Rolando McClain and junior return specialist Javier Arenas were all second team picks. All five players were named to the 2008 Coaches Preseason All-SEC Team earlier this week.
Smith, a Preseason Playboy All-American and the 2007 winner of the SEC's Jacobs Blocking Trophy, was named to 64 of the 70 preseason ballots as there were no unanimous picks. Johnson, a Nagurski Trophy and Jim Thorpe Award candidate, led the Tide a year ago with 94 tackles and six interceptions from his free safety position.
Caldwell, a three-year starter on the offensive line for the Tide and a 2006 All-SEC performer, has also been named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy and Outland Trophy in 2008.
McClain is coming off of a freshman season where he was named to the SEC Coaches Freshman All-SEC Team while registering 75 tackles with five tackles for loss and two interceptions. Arenas was selected as a return specialist after finishing second in the SEC last season in punt returns with a 15.4 yard per return average.
The Crimson Tide was also picked to finish third in the SEC Western Division by the media in attendance at SEC Media Days.
Alabama opens the 2008 season in Atlanta on Saturday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m. against Clemson in the Georgia Dome.