Alabama lands four players on SEC’s All-Freshman Team
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UPDATED: Alabama actually had five players named to the SEC’s All-Freshman Team.
Christian Barmore, a redshirt freshman, was honored on the defensive line. He provided big energy for the team off the bench, totaling 24 tackles — including six tackles for loss, two sacks and four quarterback hurries. The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder was a nightmare for offensive linemen to handle and he will only better.
The accolades keep coming for Alabama football.
On Thursday, the Southeastern Conference’s front office announced its All-Freshman Team and four Crimson Tide student-athletes made the cut. The group of Evan Neal, Shane Lee, Christian Harris and Ty Perine were all honorees.
Despite the Tide not winning an SEC Championship or appearing in its sixth consecutive College Football Playoff, all four guys made a contribution.
Neal, a five-star from Florida, started all 12 games at left guard.
He did not allow a sack in 381 pass attempts and was one of the best freshmen in the nation, in terms of the offensive line. The 6-foot-7, 360-pound was an exceptional run-blocker, setting the edge for Najee Harris to have his first 1,000-yard season (1,088) with 11 scores on 185 carries.
RELATED: Alabama with 14 players selected to All-SEC Coaches’ Team, including six first-teamers
Neal assisted a unit that surrendered just 12 sacks all year. He helped a group that was second in scoring offense (48.3 ppg), seventh in total offense (513.3 ypg) and third in passing (343.5 ypg).
Lee, a four-star from Maryland, started all year at middle linebacker.
He finished second in total tackles (77) and had 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, three quarterback pressures and one interception. The 6-foot, 246-pounder will continue to grow in confidence with more experience and learning more of the defensive system.
Harris, a four-star from Louisiana, made huge strides at weakside linebacker.
He improved each week and ended up with 54 tackles – including 5.5 for loss, five quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Harris made the All-Freshman Team via Pro Football Focus is expected to have an even better campaign next season.
Perine, a walk-on from Prattville, Ala., was a pleasant surprise.
He came on during the middle of the year at punter and wowed Tide fans with his efforts and performance.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder averaged 44.7 yards per punt on 13 attempts and sent three of boots in excess of 50 yards through the air.
He dropped two balls inside the 20-yard line and provided Alabama with consistency in a department that’s lacked an explosive leg since JK Scott.
With his ability to punt and kick field goals, we’ll see a lot more of Perine in the future.
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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.