Eight Tiders Cited By SEC Coaches

There were no shockwaves over the two Alabama football players announced Monday as having been chosen by the Southeastern Conference head football coaches for pre-season all-league first team. Six other Bama players were named to second and third honor squads.

Alabama is represented by tackle Andre Smith on offense and safety Rashad Johnson on defense.

Smith, a junior from Birmingham, was a unanimous selection after having been named All-SEC last year. Smith is a 6-5, 340-pound left tackle. He was also 2007 winner of the Jacobs Award, meaning he was selected by SEC coaches as the best blocker in the conference.

Johnson, a 6-0, 187-pound senior from Sulligent, lead the SEC last year with six interceptions.

Alabama also had players selected on the second and third teams as selected by the SEC coaches. They were:

Second team offense center Antoine Caldwell, 6-3, 292, senior from Montgomery; second team defense sophomore linebacker Rolando McClain, 6-4, 255, Decatur; second team special teams junior return specialist Javier Arenas, 5-9, 193, Tampa, Fla.; third team offense senior quarterback John Parker Wilson, 6-2, 213, Hoover; third team tailback Terry Grant, 5-10, 188, sophomore, Lumberton, Miss.; and third team special teams, placekicker Leigh Tiffin, 6-1, 198, junior, Muscle Shoals.

The LSU Tigers led all teams with 14 players selected to the 2008 Southeastern Conference Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Football Team (selections for first, second and third teams).

Florida was the only other SEC team with double figure selections with ten.

Georgia had nine players selected to the three squads followed by Alabama, Auburn and South Carolina with eight and Tennessee with seven. Kentucky had five selections while Ole Miss and Mississippi State had four each, Arkansas had three and Vanderbilt had two.

Florida led all schools with five first-team selections followed by LSU and Tennessee with four each. Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss and South Carolina each had two players selected to the first-team while Arkansas, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt each had one first-team selection.

Eleven of the 12 SEC teams had first-team selections and every conference school has representatives on the All-SEC squad.

There were six unanimous first-team selections to the squad. The group includes a quartet of offensive linemen – Alabama's Smith, Arkansas' Jonathan Luigs, Ole Miss' Michael Oher and Tennessee's Anthony Parker. Other unanimous choices were Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno, Ole Miss defensive lineman Greg Hardy and Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes. Since coaches could not vote for their own players, unanimous choices were listed on 11 of the 12 ballots.

Of the 81 student-athletes named to the first, second and third teams, six are sophomores, 35 are juniors and 40 are seniors.

Ole Miss offensive lineman Michael Oher, Arkansas center Jonathan Luigs and Mississippi State defensive back Derek Pegues were repeat first-team selections from the 2007 Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Team.

This is the fifth year of the SEC Coaches Pre-Season All-SEC Football Team.

This week each SEC team will have its head coach and two representatives of its team in Birmingham for the annual media days, Wednesday-Friday. Alabama Coach Nick Saban will be accompanied by Antoine Caldwell and Rashad Johnson and meet the media Thursday morning at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover. (Media Days is not open to the public.)

Near the conclusion of the event, the media choices for pre-season All-SEC and a projected order of finish for West and East Divisions and an overall champion will be announced.

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