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Alabama lands seven players on ESPN’s preseason All-SEC team

Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster (No. 10) tackles Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson at 2016 CFP national title game: Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports

One knows that college football is approaching when the self-proclaimed “worldwide leader in sports” unveils its preseason all-conference team. Two weeks separate us from the Advocare Classic, Alabama and Southern California, and ESPN has released its 2016 preseason All-SEC team.

The list was compiled Monday morning per ESPN’s Greg Ostendorf, with seven Crimson Tide student-athletes making the cut. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley joins Mississippi State’s Fred Ross as the lone two perimeter weapons, while senior O.J. Howard stands as the only tight end on offense.

Offensive tackle Cameron Robinson is flanked beside Auburn’s Braden Smith (guard), LSU’s Ethan Pocic (center) and Will Clapp (guard) and Arkansas’ Dan Skipper (tackle). The 6-foot-6, 320-pound junior has played in 29 career games, surrendering just 5.5 sacks during his tenure.

Defensive end Jonathan Allen is surrounded by Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett, Tennessee’s Derek Barnett and Auburn’s Carl Lawson. Allen led Alabama in sacks (12) and tackles for loss (14.5) in 2015; however, his goal for the upcoming season is to consistently be an every down player.

Reuben Foster may have to share the spotlight with Tennessee’s Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham, but the former five-star prospect is no slouch by any means.

He recorded 73 total tackles a year ago and has dropped weight to become a more efficient tackler.

Tim Williams was not a starter last season, but it didn’t stop him from racking up 10.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss. The Baton Rouge, Louisiana native can generate pressure as a rush linebacker or defensive end. He wants to break Derrick Thomas’ sack record (27, in 1988) and has added 15 pounds to his 6-foot-4 frame, making it all the more interesting to see him in an every down role.

Safety Eddie Jackson ends this list, surrounded by LSU’s Jamal Adams (safety) and Tre’Davious White (cornerback) and Florida’s Jalen Tabor (cornerback). His transition from corner to safety in 2015 helped Alabama’s secondary total 19 interceptions, including four returned for touchdowns.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 15 years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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