Dec. 14, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama had six players selected to the 2011 Associated Press All-America Team, including four on the first team, the wire service announced on Wednesday.
The AP recognized senior safety Mark Barron, junior linebacker Dont'a Hightower, junior offensive lineman Barrett Jones and junior running back Trent Richardson on its first team, while senior linebacker Courtney Upshaw and junior cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick were named to the second team.
Crimson Tide players have now secured 18 first-team All-America honors - by 16 different players - over the past four years. The selection of Barron, Jones, Hightower and Richardson makes those four student-athletes consensus All-Americans in 2011. A player must be on the first team of three of the five All-America teams recognized by the NCAA (AP, AFCA, FWAA, Walter Camp and Sporting News) to garner consensus recognition.
Barron, who hails from Mobile, Ala., was a first-team honoree by the FWAA a season ago. He is currently second on the team with 66 tackles, including four tackles for loss, two interceptions, five pass breakups and a fumble recovery. He has started 38 career games and was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe Awards.
Hightower is a native of Lewisburg, Tenn., and is a fourth-year junior for the Crimson Tide. He has started 41-career games and leads Alabama with a career-high 81 tackles in 2011. Hightower has 9.5 tackles for loss (-35 yards) this season with three sacks (-16 yards), one interception, eight quarterback hurries, a blocked field goal and three pass breakups. He was a finalist for the Lombardi Award, the Butkus Award, the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Lott Trophy.
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. Jones was named the winner of the Outland Trophy last week and was a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award. He has 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., was a Heisman Trophy finalist and won the Doak Walker Award, which goes to the nation's top running back. He 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. Richardson was also a finalist for the Maxwell Award and the Walter Camp Player of the Year.
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