All-Star Time

This is the time of year when colleges begin promoting their top players for various all-star teams and individual honors. It is no surprise that Alabama, with an 8-0 record and number four national ranking, has a large number of candidates.

At the top of the list for honors is Alabama Head Football Coach Mike Shula. In the third year of his first stint of college coaching and being a head coach, Shula has had an outstanding year in leading the Crimson Tide to an undefeated season. Bama is the only Southeastern Conference team without a league loss as November begins.

In alphabetical order, here are Alabama football players who have performed at a level to merit all-star mention:

Mark Anderson, DE, 6-5, 253, Sr., Tulsa, Okla. -- SEC Defensive Player of the Week following the Tide's 31-3 win over No. 5 Florida, Mark leads the Tide's down linemen with 28 tackles including 10.5 tackles for loss for 43 yards and a team-best 4 sacks for 20 yards. He has 6 pressures and one forced fumble. He has 25 consecutive starts, playing in 46 straight games.

Jamie Christensen, PK, 6-0, 178, So., Norcross, Ga. -- Holder of two game-winning kicks (Ole Miss and Tennessee), Jamie is the Tide's primary extra point, field goal and kickoff specialist. For the season, he has connected on 10-of-15 field goals, and 20-of-21 extra points. He leads the Tide in scoring with 50 points. He had a long field goal of 43 yards against Ole Miss.

J.B. Closner, C, 6-4, 290, Sr., San Antonio, Texas -- The mainstay of the Tide's revamped offensive line, JB has played in 33 career games, including 24 consecutive starts. He is on the 2005 Remington Award list and graduated from The University in May with a degree in Financial Planning.

Brodie Croyle, QB, 6-3, 205, Sr., Rainbow City -- Undefeated in his last 11 starts, Croyle is the Tide's undisputed team leader. He is second in the SEC and 22nd in the nation in pass efficiency, hitting 137 of 221 passes (62 per cent) for 1,814 yards and 12 touchdowns. His 39 career passing TDs is an Alabama record and he is second in career yards (5,697), second in career completions (423) and second in career attempts (751). He was named National and SEC Offensive Player of the Week after hitting 15 of 18 for 286 yards and 3 TDs in the Tide's 31-3 win over No. 5 Florida. After being intercepted by Southern Miss, he has thrown 186 consecutive passes without an interception, shattering the school record.

Kenneth Darby, RB, 5-11, 205, Jr., Huntsville -- The SEC's leading rusher, Darby is averaging 105.8 yards per game (22nd nationally) and is fourth in the SEC in all-purpose yards (115.9). Of his 846 rushing yards this season, 511 have come in the second-half of games where he averages 7.2 yards per carry on 71 second-half carries. He also has 14 receptions for 81 yards. He has 2,093 career rushing yards, 11th on the Tide career list.

Wallace Gilberry, DE, 6-3, 254, So., Bay Minette -- Consistently drawing double-team blocks, Gilberry has 19 tackles, 2.5 tackles behind the line for 14 yards, one-half sack for 3 yards, 6 quarterback pressures and one fumble recovery. He has started every game this season and has 330 snaps.

Roman Harper, FS, 6-1, 200, Sr., Prattville -- A leader in the Tide backfield, Harper leads the secondary with 50 tackles on the season, including 3.5 TBL's for 8 yards and one-half sack for 2 yards. He forced a fumble that squired out of the endzone late in the Tennessee game. Bama took over and drove for the game-winning field goal to beat the Vols, 6-3. He has 5 career interceptions, including his first of the season, against Utah State which he returned 50 yards.

LéRon McClain, FB, 6-1, 256, Jr., Northport -- The starting fullback in 6 of 8 games, LéRon has just 27 yards rushing and 14 receptions for 94 yards and 2 TDs, but he has been a devastating blocker in the Tide's fifth ranked (SEC) rushing offense.

Charlie Peprah, SS, 5-11, 200, Sr., Plano, Texas -- With 30 tackles, Peprah is second among the Tide defensive backs. He also has 2 tackles for loss for 6 yards, two pass break-ups, and one quarterback pressure. He has 9 career interceptions.

Tyrone Prothro, SEm 5-8, 178, Jr., Heflin -- Prior to sustaining a broken leg against Florida, Prothro was third in the SEC in all-purpose yards, averaging 138.2 yards per game. He was fifth in receiving yards per game. He led the Tide in receptions with 17 for 325 yards and 3 TDs; punt returns with 11 for 81; and kickoff returns with 7 for 193 yards (27.6 average). He also had 9 rushes for 92 yards.

Freddie Roach, MLB, 6-2, 248, Sr., Killen -- Second among linebackers in tackles, Roach has 37 stops and a team-leading 8 pass break-ups. He also has one forced fumble and one quarterback pressure. Roach has 243 career tackles.

DeMeco Ryans, SLB, 6-2, 232, Sr., Bessemer -- On the football field, DeMeco owns the school single game tackle record with 25 (against Arkansas in 2003). Eight games into his senior season, he has 288 career tackles, needing 12 stops to join just four other Crimson Tide players with 300 or more career tackles. His 126 tackles in 2003 ranks second on the school single-season chart. Ryans has 33 career starts and he has played in 46 career games. Ryans had five double-figure tackle games in 2003 and two in 2004 and had 19 tackles against Arkansas in 2005, a feat for which he won SEC "Defensive Player of the Week" honors. He is a semi-finalist for the Lott, Lombardi and Butkus Awards. He was on virtually every preseason All-SEC team in 2005. He is a finalist for the Draddy Award (the academic Heisman).

ALL-FRESHMAN CANDIDATES

Antoine Caldwell, LG, 6-3, 296, Fr., Montgomery -- A starter in every game, Caldwell has played in 513 snaps, including a season-high of 85 against Southern Miss.

Glen Coffee, RB, 6-1, 207, Fr., Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. -- A player in every game, Glen has 136 yards rushing on 41 carries (3.3 ypc). His best outing was against South Carolina with 75 yards on 15 carries (5.0 ypc). He also has 6 receptions for 47 yards and one TD.

Bobby Greenwood, DE, 6-6, 245, Fr., Prattville -- Playing in every game, Greenwood has 10 tackles, one sack (4 yards) and one-half TBL (1 yard). His sack was against Florida. He had a total of 2 tackles in the UF game.

B.J. Stabler, OG, 6-4, 295, Fr., Grove Hill --- After not starting the first two games, B.J. moved into the starting slot at right guard and now has started the last six games. He has 366 snaps on the season while helping pave the way for the SEC's fifth-best rushing attack.

Nick Walker, TE, 6-5, 245, Fr., Brundidge -- The starting tight end, Walker has been instrumental in the Tide's 8-0 start. He has 387 snaps on the season including a high of 57 against Southern Miss. Walker has 7 receptions for 82 yards and an 11.7 ypc average.


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