Stuart McNair

Early returns are in for All-America with two Alabama players unanimous

Four All-America teams include seven Alabama players

’Tis the season — the college football awards season. All-America teams are beginning to appear and the No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide has its share of those being selected.
With the announcements of All-America teams by Sports Illustrated, USA Today, The Sporting News, and Pro Football Focus, seven Alabama players have made either the first or second teams.
Nagurski Trophy and Ted Hendricks Award winner defensive end Jonathan Allen and Butkus Award winner linebacker Reuben Foster, both seniors, were first team on all four All-America squads.
Outland Trophy finalist junior offensive tackle Cam Robinson was selected first team by three of the four, all but USA Today.
Sophomore safety Minkah Fitzpatrick was first team by Pro Football Focus and second team by USA Today.
Senior tight end O.J. Howard was first team by Pro Football Focus and second team by USA Today.
Senior linebacker Tim Williams was second team by both Sports Illustrated and USA Today.
Junior punter JK Scott was second team by Sports Illustrated.
Allen, the 2016 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, has been a disruptive force in the middle of the vaunted Alabama defensive front that leads the country in rush defense (63.4 ypg). He has a career-high 56 tackles this season, including 13 tackles for loss and 8 1/2 sacks. In addition, Allen has 15 quarterback hurries, a blocked field goal attempt and two fumble recoveries, both of which were returned for touchdowns.
Foster has captained an Alabama defense that is widely regarded as the best in the country. The unit ranks first nationally in both total defense (247.8 ypg) and rush defense (63.4 ypg), as well as scoring defense (11.8 ppg). Foster leads the Crimson Tide in tackles with 94, including 12 tackles for loss and four sacks. He also has recorded eight quarterback hurries and two pass breakups.
Robinson leads an Alabama offensive line that has provided protection for a balanced attack that leads the SEC in scoring at 40.5 points per game and is second in total offense (471.3 yards per game), rushing offense (245.0 yards per game) and yards per rushing attempt (5.7). He was selected by SEC coaches as winner of the Jacobs Trophy as the SEC’s best blocker.
Fitzpatrick has 56 tackles, including five tackles for loss and one sack. The sophomore leads the SEC with five interceptions and 158 return yards, including two pick-sixes. The two returns for touchdowns give Fitzpatrick four in his career, the most in Alabama history.
Howard, who is also a finalist for the John Mackey Award and the Senior CLASS Award, has been an athletic threat and matchup challenge for opposing defenses this season. He has caught 13 passes for 445 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2016. The Prattville native is on the verge of cracking the Crimson Tide career top 10 for receptions with 106, just two shy of 10th all-time at Alabama. 
Scott is averaging 47.7 yards per punt on 46 attempt, has forced 11 fair catches, and dropped 17 punts inside the 20. Twenty-three of his 46 punts have traveled more than 50 yards, including six of 60 yards or more. His season-long boot of 66 yards was at LSU, with two traveling 63 yards at Ole Miss and Arkansas. He also had a 60-yarder vs. Texas A&M.
A disruptive force on the outside, Williams shares the team lead in sacks with Allen at 8 1/2 and is second on the team with 15 1/2 tackles for loss. Nearly 60 per cent of his 27 tackles have come behind the line of scrimmage. The Baton Rouge, La., native also has one sack, two pass breakups, 12 quarterback hurries, and a fumble recovery that he returned 23 yards for a touchdown against Arkansas. His 21 1/2 career tackles for loss ranks No. 7 on the Alabama all-time list.

BamaMag Top Stories