All-Americans: 5 Alabama players named to AFCA First-Team All-America Team; William Vlachos Rimington Finalist

Here is more information on Alabama’s Post-Season Awards (courtesy UA Media Relations):

Mark Barron, Dont’a Hightower, Barrett Jones, DeQuan Menzie and Trent Richardson selected by Coaches
Alabama had five players selected to the 2011 AFCA FBS Coaches’ All-America Team on Monday it was announced by the America Football Coaches Association.

The AFCA recognized senior safety Mark Barron, junior linebacker Dont’a Hightower, junior offensive lineman Barrett Jones, senior cornerback DeQuan Menzie and junior running back Trent Richardson.

Crimson Tide players have now secured 15 first-team All-America honors over the past four years. It marks the second first-team honor for Barron and the first for Hightower, Jones, Menzie or Richardson have received first-team All-America honors.

Alabama’s five selections in 2011 are the second most in the history of the AFCA All-America team. Only Oklahoma’s 2003 squad had more, earning six honors. The Crimson Tide’s 2008 team had four All-Americans, joining six other teams in the awards history.

Barron, who hails from Mobile, Ala., was a first-team honoree by the FWAA a season ago. He is currently second on the team with 66 tackles, including two interceptions, four tackles for loss, five pass breakups and a fumble recovery. He has started 38 career games and is a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe Awards.

Hightower is a native of Lewisburg, Tenn., and is a fourth-year junior for the Crimson Tide. He has started 41-career games and leads Alabama with a career-high 81 tackles in 2011. Hightower has 9.5 tackles for loss (-35 yards) this season with three sacks (-16 yards), one interception, eight quarterback hurries, a blocked field goal and three pass breakups. He is a finalist for the Lombardi Award, the Butkus Award, the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Lott Trophy.

Jones, a native of Germantown, Tenn., anchors the Alabama offensive line from his left tackle position. He has started 35 career games, including 10 at left tackle in 2011. Jones is a finalist for the Outland Trophy and a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award. He has helped the Tide rank 15th nationally and first in the SEC in rushing (219.83), while blocking for the league’s No. 2 scoring offense at 36.0 points per game.

Menzie, from Columbus, Ga., provided the Crimson Tide great versatility in the defensive backfield with his ability to play both on the outside and inside at the star position. He started all 12 games and finished with 37 tackles, three tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one interception he returned for a touchdown against Florida and a team-best 11 pass breakups.

Richardson, a native of Pensacola, Fla., is fifth in the nation in rushing yards per game, averaging 131.92, and has scored 23 touchdowns this season, ranking him fifth in scoring at 11.5 points per game. Richardson is a finalist for the Maxwell Award and the Doak Walker Award.

The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all five of its divisions. What makes these teams so special is that they are the only ones chosen exclusively by the men who know the players the best — the coaches themselves.

William Vlachos Named a Finalist for the Rimington Trophy
Alabama senior center William Vlachos was named one of six finalists for the Rimington Trophy, the organization announced Monday. The winner of the Rimington Trophy will be announced during the ESPNU/Home Depot College Football Awards show, broadcast live from Orlando, Fla., on ESPN on Thursday, Dec. 8.

Vlachos is the veteran leader of the Crimson Tide’s offensive line, making all the identifications and calls for the offense front. He has started in 39 straight games at center, blocking for 27 100-yard rushers over that span, including 11 this season.

This season he has paved the way for Heisman Trophy candidate Trent Richardson, who leads the Southeastern Conference with 1,583 yards and 23 touchdowns. Despite facing seven of the nation’s top 50 defenses in 2011, he has helped the Tide rank 15th nationally in rushing and first in the SEC with 219.8 yards per game.

The winner of the Rimington Trophy is selected by determining the consensus All-American center pick from four existing All-America teams.

The winner will be recognized at the Rimington Trophy Presentation at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, Nebraska on Saturday, January 14, 2012.

About the Rimington Trophy
The Rimington Trophy is presented annually to the Most Outstanding Center in NCAA Division I-A College Football. Since its inception, the Rimington Trophy has raised over $2 million for the cystic fibrosis community. The twelve-year old award is overseen by the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which is committed to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis and has raised nearly $100 million for CF Research.

Dave Rimington, the award’s namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America center at the University of Nebraska in 1981 and 1982, during which time he became the John Outland Trophy’s only double winner as the nation’s finest college interior lineman.

For more on the Rimington Trophy and a list of past recipients, visit www.rimingtontrophy.com