Coaches Have High Regard For Bama

One of the things that was notable in the Bowl Championship Series calculations that put Alabama into the BCS National Championship Game is that the Coaches' Poll had a clear advantage for the Crimson Tide as the nation's second best team. That's one reason Bama will be going to New Orleans Jan. 9 to meet LSU for the national championship.

On Monday, the nation's college coaches again demonstrated high regard for the Alabama football team as the Crimson Tide had five players selected to the 2011 AFCA FBS Coaches' All-America Team on Monday it was announced by the America Football Coaches Association.

The AFCA recognized senior safety Mark Barron, junior linebacker Dont'a Hightower, junior offensive lineman Barrett Jones, senior cornerback DeQuan Menzie and junior running back Trent Richardson.

The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all five of its divisions. What makes these teams so special is that they are the only ones chosen exclusively by the men who know the players the best — the coaches themselves.

Crimson Tide players have now secured 15 first-team All-America honors over the past four years. It marks the second first-team honor for Barron and the first for Hightower, Jones, Menzie or Richardson have received first-team All-America honors.

Alabama's five selections in 2011 are the second most in the history of the AFCA All-America team. Only Oklahoma's 2003 squad had more, earning six honors. The Crimson Tide's 2008 team had four All-Americans, joining six other teams in the awards history.

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 two interceptions, four tackles for loss, five pass breakups and a fumble recovery. He has started 38 career games and is 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 is 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 is a finalist for the Outland Trophy and 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.

Menzie, from Columbus, Ga., provided the Crimson Tide great versatility in the defensive backfield with his ability to play both on the outside and inside at the star position. He started all 12 games and finished with 37 tackles, three tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one interception he returned for a touchdown against Florida and a team-best 11 pass breakups.

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. Richardson is a finalist for the Maxwell Award and the Doak Walker Award.

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