SHREVEPORT, La. -The University of Alabama football team voted this morning on the captains for the 2006 season and announced following practice this evening that seniors Le'Ron McClain and Juwan Simpson were elected by their teammates.
"The team voted this morning and elected those two (McClain and Simpson) permanent captains," said interim head coach Joe Kines. "It is a great honor. We have a tradition at Alabama where the walkway around Denny Chimes, the captains put their handprint and cleat-prints in that cement so it is there forever. Those two really did a good job leading the team week-in and week-out and played hard in every game."
McClain, a fullback from Northport, started all 12 games this season for the Tide. He was a game captain six times this season, leading the offense and special teams three times each. He carried the ball 10 times for 53 yards with no rushes for a loss of yardage. He was third on the team with 19 receptions for 166 yards and three touchdowns. He caught the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime to lead Alabama to a 26-23 victory over Ole Miss.
"It is a wonderful feeling," said McClain. "It is something as a team we always talk about. I just wanted to go out and handle my business on the field and let the rest take care of itself. It will be great looking at it when I am walking through the quad."
Simpson, an outside linebacker from Decatur, started 11 games on the year. He served as a defensive captain for three games this season. He finished second on the team with 73 tackles with 37 solo and 36 assisted. He had five tackles for a loss, one interception, five quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles.
"It is a blessing, honor and privilege," said Simpson. "It is something I will always have in my memory. I am excited and something I will never forget about. I fought hard this season and tried to lead this team in every game we played this year. It is great that my peers recognized that.
Earlier in the day the team attended the Minuteman Luncheon at the Shreveport Convention Center. The team conducted a short walk-through and took a team photo at Independence Bowl Stadium as their final preparation for tomorrow's game.
McClain and Simpson will try to lead the Crimson Tide in their final game at Alabama when they take the field for the contest against Oklahoma State tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. (CT) for the 2006 PetroSun Independence Bowl.