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Alabama football team places three on AP All-America first team, the most of any school

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
IAN R. RAPOPORT
News staff writer

TUSCALOOSA - An Alabama season that brought fans back to the program's storied tradition continues to reap postseason awards for its players.

For the first time since 1996, the Crimson Tide had three players named first-team All-America when The Associated Press' list was released Tuesday.

Junior left tackle Andre Smith of Huffman, who recently won the Outland Trophy given to the nation's top lineman, was a unanimous choice. He was joined on the first team by junior nose tackle Terrence Cody and center Antoine Caldwell, giving UA more first-teamers than any other school.

Safety Rashad Johnson was picked to the second team, and linebacker Rolando McClain was on the third team. The five overall selections are behind only Oklahoma's six picks.

The last time Alabama (12-1), which plays Utah in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2, had three first-team All-Americans was in 1996 when defensive tackle Michael Myers, defensive back Kevin Jackson and linebacker Dwayne Rudd were honored. Teams in 1992 and 1993 also had three All-Americans.

Smith and Caldwell helped pave the way for the Southeastern Conference's No. 2 ranked rushing offense, while Cody made 23 tackles (4.5 for a loss) as the anchor in the nation's third-ranked unit in total defense.

Johnson, the former walk-on from Sulligent, made 82 tackles with five interceptions, while the sophomore McClain of Decatur led the team with 91 tackles.

No other state school was represented on the AP team.

Ohio State's James Laurinaitis became the second college football player to be a three-time AP All-American, joining Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford and star receiver Michael Crabtree on the first team.

The only other player to make the AP first-team three times was Pittsburgh offensive lineman Bill Fralic (1982-84), according to STATS LLC.

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