TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama football team had five players earn All-America honors from the Associated Press on Tuesday, including three first-team selections.
Left tackle Andre Smith (Birmingham, Ala.), center Antoine Caldwell (Montgomery, Ala.) and nose guard Terrence Cody (Fort Myers, Fla.) were named to the first team while free safety Rashad Johnson (Sulligent, Ala.) was selected to the second team and linebacker Rolando McClain (Decatur, Ala.) to the third team.
Alabama led the country with three first-team Associated Press All-Americans and ranked second in total All-America selections with five. Oklahoma captured six total AP All-America honors, including two first-team picks while Southern California had two first-team All-Americans and four total All-Americans.
Smith, a consensus first-team All-American, and Caldwell anchored the Crimson Tide’s heralded offensive line that helped pave the way for the SEC’s No. 2 rushing offense at 196.5 yards per game and a 125.8 passing efficiency that ranked fourth in the league. Smith became Alabama’s second Outland Trophy winner and was a finalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award while Caldwell was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, which goes to the nation’s top center.
Cody, another consensus first-team All-American from Fort Myers, Fla., held down the middle of the Crimson Tide’s defensive front that allowed just 78.9 rushing yards per game (fourth nationally). The junior college transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast required double teams from opposing offensive lines all season while accounting for 23 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. He also helped the Tide rank third nationally in total defense at 256.9 yards allowed per game.
Johnson, a former walk-on and second-team All-America selection, has developed into one of the finest safeties in college football after accounting for 82 tackles, five tackles for loss (-15), one sack (-7), five interceptions – two of which were returned for touchdowns – and 11 pass break-ups. His 16 passes defended lead the SEC and is tied for 21st nationally. Johnson was selected as a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association and was a second-team Walter Camp All-American.
McClain, a sophomore middle linebacker, garnered third-team accolades after leading Alabama with 91 tackles and 11.0 tackles for loss (-44). He ranked second on the team with 3.0 sacks (-22) while intercepting one pass, recording five pass breakups and recovering two fumbles.
2008 Crimson Tide All-Americans
Jones, Hightower Named to Sporting News All-Freshman Team
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama freshmen Julio Jones and Dont’a Hightower were named to the Sporting News’ 2008 All-Freshman Team on Tuesday.
Jones, a wide receiver from Foley, Ala., was selected to the first team while Hightower, a linebacker from Lewisburg, Tenn., was named to the second team.
Jones set Alabama freshman records for receptions (51), receiving yards (847) and touchdowns (4). He led the Crimson Tide in all three categories while ranking fourth in the SEC in receiving yards per game (65.2) and seventh in receptions per game at 3.92.
Hightower ranks fourth on the team with 62 tackles headed into the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Utah. He started 12 games and has 2.5 tackles for loss (-6) and five quarterback hurries. Hightower also recovered two fumbles and forced one fumble.