Alabama Lands Five on Associated Press Preseason All-America Team
The University of Alabama football team placed five players on the 2017 Associated Press Preseason All-America Team, the wire service announced on Tuesday. The Crimson Tide’s five selections is the most for any school on this year’s team.
Defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick was named to the first team, while wide receiver Calvin Ridley, running back Bo Scarbrough, punter JK Scott and offensive lineman Jonah Williams received second team honors.
The Tide’s five picks were followed by USC with three selections. Penn State, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Auburn, North Carolina State, Clemson, Washington, Louisville, Florida State, Florida and Virginia each had two players chosen. The Southeastern Conference led all leagues with 14 players honored. The Atlantic Coast Conference was second with 12.
The leader of the Crimson Tide secondary, Fitzpatrick was a first team All-American by the Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association and Pro Football Focus in 2016 and earned second-team honors from Walter Camp and The Sporting News. The Old Bridge, N.J., native led last season’s team in interceptions (6) and interception return yards (186) as a sophomore and his 186 return yards ranked near the top nationally, while his six picks tied for seventh in the FBS.
One of the nation’s most explosive wideouts, Ridley had 72 catches for 769 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore. Thirty-nine of his receptions went for a first down or a touchdown and he had 21 explosive receptions of 15 yards or more to lead the Tide last season. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native already ranks in the Alabama career top-10 in receptions (161), touchdown receptions (14) and receiving yards (1,814).
Scarbrough provided a power option in the Crimson Tide backfield as a sophomore. He rushed 109 times for 719 yards and nine rushing scores in 2016, with 42 of his rushes going for a first down or a touchdown. The Northport, Ala., native finished the season with some big performances, rushing 46 times for 364 yards and six touchdowns over his final three contests to average 7.9 yards per carry (SEC Championship, CFP Semifinal and CFP National Championship).
One of the nation’s top punters, Scott has been a model of consistency since stepping foot on campus. The Denver, Colo., native averaged 47.2 yards per punt to rank third in the nation and second in the Southeastern Conference in 2016. He registered 25 punts of 50-plus yards while 39 percent of his punts went beyond 50 yards during his junior campaign. He finished second nationally in 60-yard punts with seven.
Williams secured a starting job at right tackle for the Crimson Tide in 2016 and earned a reputation as one of the top true freshmen in the nation, not only on the offensive line but across all positions. The Folsom, Calif., native was selected as a Freshman All-American by USA Today and ESPN and was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team by the conference coaches, while earning second team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press last season.
Top-ranked Alabama opens its 2017 season on Sept. 2 in Atlanta, Ga., against No. 3 Florida State in the annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The matchup is scheduled for a 7 p.m. CT start on ABC with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Maria Taylor and Tom Rinaldi on the call.