Tide All-Stars

The Southeastern Conference announced today that University of Alabama junior center fielder Emeel Salem has been named the 2006 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in a vote by the league's 12 head coaches.

Salem carries a 3.9 grade point average with a double major in Marketing and Spanish. He is a six-time selection of the UA Dean's List and President's List. Salem is also a three-time selection to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.

"Salem has had a great year, both on and off the field," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "He is a great example of a student-athlete. He does very well with his school work and he has had a tremendous year."

Salem was named to the 2006 CoSIDA District IV Academic team and is on the national ballot for the 2006 CoSIDA Academic All-America team.

The league office also announced the Coaches All-SEC team and Freshman All-SEC team on Tuesday.

Salem and left-hander Wade LeBlanc (Lake Charles, La.) were First-Team All-SEC selections. Salem was the only unanimous selection to this year's All-SEC team. Senior catcher Kody Valverde (Baton Rouge, La.) was a Second-Team All-SEC selection. Freshman right-hander Tommy Hunter (Indianapolis, Ind.) was named to the Freshman All-SEC team.

Salem lead the Crimson Tide with a .365 batting average in 56 games this season, with two home runs and 26 RBI. He led the SEC in total hits (89), at-bats (2440), stolen bases (32) and stolen base attempts (41).

LeBlanc is 9-0 with a 2.89 ERA in 15 starts this season. He is the seventh pitcher in school history to finish the regular season with an undefeated record, with a minimum of five decisions. LeBlanc is 11 strikeouts shy of the single-season record held by Bobby Sprowl in 1977.

Valverde hit .330 in 52 games and led UA with 10 home runs and ranked second with 49 RBI this season. He threw out almost 40 percent of opponent base stealers.

Hunter set the UA single-season record with nine wins this season. He compiled a 9-3 record and 3.12 ERA in 13 starts.

Hunter was the winning pitcher in SEC series-clinching wins over No. 1 South Carolina, Florida and Auburn. He was also the winning pitcher as UA clinched a share of the SEC Championship this past Saturday in Knoxville. The 2006 Coaches All-SEC Team is as follows:

SEC PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Ryan Strieby, Kentucky
SEC PITCHER OF THE YEAR - Nick Schmidt, Arkansas
SEC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR - Pedro Alvarez, Vanderbilt
SEC COACH OF THE YEAR - *John Cohen, Kentucky

1B - Ryan Strieby, Kentucky
2B - Jeffrey Rea, Mississippi State
3B - Pedro Alvarez, Vanderbilt
SS - Zack Cozart, Ole Miss
SS - Thomas Berkery, Mississippi State
C - J.P. Arencibia, Tennessee
OF - *Emeel Salem, Alabama
OF - Quinn Stewart, LSU
OF - Michael Campbell, South Carolina
DH - Mike Bianucci, Auburn
P - Nick Schmidt, Arkansas
P - Wade LeBlanc, Alabama
RP - Joshua Fields, Georgia

1B - Josh Morris, Georgia
2B - John Shelby, Kentucky
3B - Chris Coghlan, Ole Miss
SS - Michael Hollander, LSU
SS - Reese Havens, South Carolina
C - Kody Valverde, Alabama
C - Sean Coughlin, Kentucky
OF - Jake Dugger, Arkansas
OF - Joey Side, Georgia
OF - Julio Borbon, Tennessee
DH - Robbie Grinestaff, South Carolina
P - David Price, Vanderbilt
P - Bryan Augenstein, Florida
RP - Wynn Pelzer, South Carolina

1B - Justin Smoak, South Carolina
2B - J.T. Wise, LSU
3B - Pedro Alvarez, Vanderbilt
SS - Tony Delmonico, Tennessee
OF - Luke Greinke, Auburn
OF - Jared Bogany, LSU
OF - Andrew Crisp, South Carolina
DH - Mike Bianucci, Auburn
P - Tommy Hunter, Alabama
P - Mike Cisco, South Carolina
RP - Cody Satterwhite, Ole Miss
* -- Unanimous Selection

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