Dec. 6, 2011
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -
Alabama had a league-best 11 representatives named to the 2011 All-Southeastern Conference Coaches' Football Team, which was announced by the league office on Tuesday.
The SEC coaches selected six Crimson Tide players to the first team, while the remaining five were named to the second team. Among the first-team members was senior center William Vlachos, junior offensive lineman Barrett Jones, junior running back Trent Richardson, senior linebacker Courtney Upshaw, junior linebacker Dont'a Hightower and senior defensive back Mark Barron.
Alabama's second-team selections consisted of junior offensive lineman Chance Warmack, senior wide receiver and return specialist Marquis Maze, senior defensive lineman Josh Chapman, and junior defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick.
Vlachos, a native of Mountain Brook, Ala., has started in 39 straight games at center, blocking for 27 100-yard rushers over that span, including 11 this season. In 2011, he has paved the way for Heisman Trophy candidate Trent Richardson, who leads the SEC with 1,583 yards and 23 touchdowns. Despite facing seven of the nation's top 50 defenses in 2011, he has helped the Tide rank 15th nationally in rushing and first in the SEC with 219.8 yards per game.
Jones, a native of Germantown, Tenn., anchors the Alabama offensive line from his left tackle position. He has started 35 career games, including 10 at left tackle in 2011. He has also helped the Tide rank 15th nationally and first in the SEC in rushing (219.83), while blocking for the league's No. 2 scoring offense at 36.0 points per game.
Richardson, a native of Pensacola, Fla., is fifth in the nation in rushing yards per game, averaging 131.92, and has scored 23 touchdowns this season, ranking him fifth in scoring at 11.5 points per game. This season, Richardson set the Alabama record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 20. That number also ties him for second most in a season in SEC history.
Hightower, who hails from Lewisberg, Tenn., has a team-high 81 tackles on the season with 9.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. Hightower is also responsible for the on-field calls and checks for the front seven. He has added one interception, one blocked field goal, eight quarterback hurries and three pass breakups.
Upshaw, a native of Eufaula, Ala., leads the team and ranks second in the Southeastern Conference with 17 tackles for loss of 85 yards. He also has a team-high 8.5 sacks (-57), one interception return for a touchdown against Florida, a team-high 11 quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles.
Barron, who hails from Mobile, Ala., is second on the team with 66 total tackles. He has four tackles for loss and has two interceptions on the season. Barron has also broken up five passes, recovered a fumble against Penn State and recorded one quarterback hurry. He is the Tide's active leader in career tackles (235), passes defended (34) and interceptions (12).
Warmack, a native of Atlanta, has started in 25-straight games for the Tide, including all 12 this season. He is part of the offensive front that has helped Alabama score 33 rushing touchdowns, which is tied for seventh nationally. Warmack has blocked for 16 100-yard rushers in his career, including 11 this season.
Maze led the Tide in receptions this season with 56 and recorded a pair of 100-yard receiving games in 2011. In addition, the Birmingham native ranks 10th nationally and third in the SEC with 12.39 yards per punt return.
Chapman, the anchor of the Alabama defensive line, started in 11 games this season at nose guard. The Hoover, Ala., native has 22 tackles in 2011, including 3.5 for loss and one sack. He has been instrumental in helping the Tide lead the nation in rushing yards allowed with just 74.9 given up per game.
Kirkpatrick, who hails from Gadsden, Ala., has been a leader in the Tide secondary that leads the nation in pass defense (116.33 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (83.97 rating). He has started in all 12 games this season, and 24 in his career, collecting 24 total tackles, including a pair for loss, nine pass breakups and two forced fumbles.
Seven of the 12 SEC schools had a member on the first-team All-SEC squad. LSU and Alabama both led with six members on the first team, while Arkansas had five. Arkansas had eight total members on the annual list. Eastern Division Champion Georgia had seven members, while Auburn had six. Vanderbilt and South Carolina had four each. Alabama led with five selections on the second team, while LSU had four.