TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama football team had six players named to the 2009 Associated Press First-Team All-American Team it was announced Tuesday, with sophomore running back and Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and junior linebacker and Dick Butkus Award winner Rolando McClain, being named unanimous selections.
Joining Ingram and McClain on the first-team squad are senior cornerback/return specialist Javier Arenas, senior nose guard Terrence Cody, senior left guard Mike Johnson and senior kicker Leigh Tiffin. The six first-team picks were more than any other school in the country.
"It is a great honor to be named a first team AP All-American," Arenas said Tuesday afternoon. "I think having six Alabama players on the first team says a lot about all of the players on our entire roster and is an indication of the hard work we put in and the togetherness we have on this team. That is what has allowed us to have success on the field. You aren't going to have six guys make first team All-American unless your team is playing at a high level week in and week out. It's a credit to our entire team and our coaching staff. Good things are going to happen on an individual level if you take care of the team goals first."
Sophomore safety Mark Barron was a third-team AP All-American, giving the Tide seven AP All-Americans this season. Texas had six selections, including three first-team picks, while Florida added six selections and two first-team honorees.
Alabama (13-0, 8-0 SEC) will face Texas (13-0, 8-0 Big 12) in the BCS National Championship Game on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010 at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif. The game will be nationally televised by ABC Sports. The Crimson Tide advanced to the national championship game after beating then-No. 1 Florida 32-13 in the SEC Championship Game to secure the school's 22 SEC Championship.
Ingram is the first Alabama player in history to win the Heisman Trophy. He was also the 2009 Associated Press SEC Offensive Player of the Year. The Flint, Mich., native shattered the Alabama single-season rushing record with 1,542 yards this season and 15 rushing touchdowns. He averaged 118.6 yards rushing per game and 6.2 yards per carry while catching 30 passes out of the backfield for 322 yards and three touchdowns. He compiled 1,864 all-purpose yards and 18 touchdowns this season. He was a finalist for the Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year. He was a first-team All-SEC selection by the SEC Coaches and Associated Press.
McClain is the 2009 Dick Butkus Award and Jack Lambert Award winner after leading one of the nation's top defensive units with 101 tackles, including 12.5 tackles for loss (-58 yards) and four sacks (-36 yards). He also added 14 quarterback pressures, three pass breakups, two interceptions (21 return yards) and forced one fumble. The 2009 SEC Defensive Player of the Year was the anchor of an Alabama defense that leads the nation in scoring defense (11.0 ppg) and pass efficiency defense (88.81 rating) while ranking second in rushing defense (77.9 ypg) and total defense (241.69 ypg). The Crimson Tide also ranks seventh nationally in pass defense (177.82 ypg). McClain was also a first-team All-SEC selection by the SEC Coaches and Associated Press.
Arenas, who was a first-team All-SEC pick at two positions, was third on the UA team with 66 tackles this season. He was also second on the team with five sacks and 12 tackles for loss. The 2009 SEC Special Teams Player of the Year, Arenas has totaled more than 1,000 kick return yards this season and has scored one touchdown. He is the SEC's all-time leader with 1,733 career punt return yards and seven touchdowns. He is just 28 yards shy of Wes Welker's (Texas Tech) NCAA career punt return record. He was named to the 2009 AFCA All-American Team and was a first-team All-SEC selection by the SEC Coaches and Associated Press.
Cody anchored an Alabama defensive front that held opponents to 77.9 rushing yards per game, a figure that ranks second nationally. In 13 games this season, Cody recorded 25 tackles and added six tackles for loss. He also tied an Alabama record with two blocked kicks in the win over Tennessee. He was a first-team All-SEC selection by the SEC Coaches and Associated Press. Cody was also a finalist for the Bednarik, Lombardi and Nagurski awards.
Johnson led a rebuilt offensive line that helped clear a path for 215.9 rushing yards per game and 413.77 yards of total offense while surrendering just 1.15 sacks per game to rank 19th nationally. Johnson has played in every game in his UA career and shares the school record with 53 career games played. Johnson was named to the 2009 AFCA All-American Team and was a first-team All-SEC selection by the SEC Coaches and Associated Press.
Tiffin is Alabama's all-time leader with 378 points and 82 field goals during his 45-game career with the Tide. He has also converted 132 career extra points. During the 2009 season, Tiffin has converted 29 of 33 field goal attempts and 38 of 41 extra points. The 29 field goals established the single-season school record. Tiffin converted all five field goal attempts in the Tide's 22-3 win at Mississippi on Oct. 10. He also nailed four field goals in wins over No. 7 Virginia Tech and Tennessee. He was a three-time Lou Groza Star of Stars recipient after wins over Virginia Tech, Mississippi and Tennessee. He was also named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week following the win over Tennessee. He was a finalist for the Groza Award.
Barron was the Tide's second-leading tackler this season with 70 total stops. He led the SEC with 17 passes defended and seven interceptions (125 yards), including a 77-yard touchdown against South Carolina on Oct. 17. He also added four quarterback pressures, 2.5 tackles for loss and a half sack this season. He had a season-high eight tackles against Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee. He also added two interceptions and two pass breakups in the win at Mississippi State. Barron was also named to the SEC Coaches and AP First-Team All-SEC squads this season.