The Oakland Raiders selected Alabama LB Rolando McClain with the #8 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. AP Photo.
ROLANDO MC CLAIN
University of Alabama Crimson Tide
Decatur High School
The grand prize from head coach Nick Saban's first recruiting class at Alabama, McClain rapidly developed into one of the premier players in the collegiate ranks. Looking to rebuild the program around a strong defense, the middle linebacker played a vital role in the team's progression from also-ran to national champion.
The defensive signal-caller has the power and downhill ability to excel in stuffing the inside run. He also has the balance, speed and pursuit quickness to string plays wide. Before his arrival, the Tide ranked 46th in the nation vs. the run in 2006.
During his freshman campaign, McClain helped Alabama finish 28th against the run (124.15 ypg). The front seven continued to improve, as the defense ranked second vs. the run in both 2008 (74.14 ypg) and 2009 (77.92 ypg).
While most college middle linebackers are a bit deficient in pass coverage, this was not the case with McClain. His loose hips, ability to stay on the hip of the receiver and refusal to bite on play action make McClain a strong pass defender.
McClain was regarded by many to be the top linebacker in the nation during his days at Decatur High School. Rivals.com ranked him 25th overall in the prep ranks and the top player in the state of Alabama. He ranked 10th nationally by Scout.com and was the top-rated linebacker on the *Atlanta Journal-Constitution's *Top 100 list.
McClain was an *Orlando Sentinel *2006 All-Southern team member, earning Parade All-American honors in his final season. He also received All-Region VIII honors as a line-backer and All-State accolades on defense and as a tight end.
After his senior season, he competed in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.
In 2006, McClain recorded 106 tackles, including 13 stops for loss. He posted 104 tackles, 11 stops behind the line of scrimmage, four sacks, an interception, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery as a junior. He had 24 catches for 436 yards in his junior season and also started on the basketball team.
McClain made a big impact during his first season at Alabama. He was a first-team Fresh-man All-American pick by The* Sporting News *and a first-team Freshman All-Southeastern Conference choice by the league's coaches. He was also the recipient of the team's Lee Roy Jordan Headhunter Award in 2007.
That season he started nine of the 13 games he appeared in. McClain finished fourth on the team with 75 tackles (38 solos) that included a sack, five stops for loss and a pressure. He also broke up four passes and had two interceptions.
In 2008, McClain not only established himself as one of the leaders on Alabama's defense as a sophomore, but as one of the best linebackers in the country. A finalist for the Butkus Award, awarded to the nation's top linebacker, he was a third team All-American pick by The NFL Draft Report and the Associated Press.
The consensus All-SEC first-team selection started all 14 games, leading the team with 95 tackles (48 solos) while being the focal point of opponent's blocking schemes. He ranked 12th in the league with 6.79 tackles per game, recording 12.0 stops for loss that included three sacks. The Lombardi Award Watch List member deflected six passes, picked off another and recovered two fumbles.
The consensus All-American and All-SEC pick was a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award, Butkus Award and Bednarik Award. He became the second Tide player and third SEC member to capture the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top linebacker. He also earned team Player of the Week honors nine times.
McClain anchored a deep and talented linebacker corps that helped the Crimson Tide rank fourth nationally in total defense (242.22 ypg) and second in rush defense (68.22). He led the team with 105 tackles, adding four sacks while placing eighth in the conference while leading the Tide with 14.5 stops for loss. He also broke up four passes and intercepted two others.
Shortly after Alabama defeated Texas to capture the national championship, McClain announced that he was leaving the school and applying for the 2010 NFL Draft. "Rolando McClain has been as great an ambassador for the University of Alabama probably as anyone ever has in terms of how he's represented himself, his family, the university, the state of Alabama and our team," coach Nick Saban said.
"That's not only in terms of being a great football player – probably the best defensive football player in the country, in my opinion, or one of them, and certainly at his position – but he always did things right. He's done a great job academically. His leadership had as much impact." **
CAREER NOTES **
McClain started 37 of 41 games at middle linebacker for the Crimson Tide…In 2009, he became the second Alabama player and third SEC performer to be named the winner of the Butkus Award, as he joined Derrick Thomas of Alabama (1988) and Patrick Willis of Mississippi (2006) as the SEC's recipients since the award's inception in 1985…Recorded 275 tackles (139 solos) with eight sacks for minus 67 yards, 31.5 stops for losses totaling 126 yards and 17 pressures…
Caused one fumble and recovered two others, returning one four yards for a touchdown…Deflected 14 passes and intercepted five others for 73 return yards (14.6 avg)…His 31.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage rank fourth in school history, joining Wallace Gilberry (38.5, 2004-07), Kindal Moorehead (34.0, 1998-2002) and DeMeco Ryans (33.0, 2002-05) …His 14.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage in 2009 rank third on Alabama's season-record list behind Travis Carroll (16.0 in 1998) and Trevis Smith (16.0 in 1998). **
2009 SEASON **
Unanimous All-American first-team selection…Recipient of the Butkus Award, becoming the second Tide player and third athlete in the conference to earn that honor since the award's inception in 1985…Semifinalist for the Lombardi Award, Butkus Award and Bednarik Award…Added All-SEC first-team accolades…Named the Bronko Nagurski Award National Defensive Player of the Week following the Kentucky game…Selected Tide Player of the Week nine times in
2009…Started all 14 games at middle linebacker, leading the team for the second consecutive year with a career-best 105 tackles (53 solos), ranking eighth in the SEC with an average of 7.5 hits per game…Had four tackles and led the team with 14.5 stops for losses of 63 yards, ranking third in the league with an average of 1.04 stops for loss per game…His 14.5 tackles behind the line rank third on the school season-record chart…Generated 14 quarterback pressures and caused one fumble…Deflected four passes and intercepted two others for 21 yards in returns…Chased down opposing ball carriers 75 times, limiting the opposition to 163 yards and no touchdowns on the ground, as the Tide finished second in the nation in rush defense (87.67 ypg)…McClain registered eight third-down stops vs. the run and 12 more vs. the pass…He delivered seven of his tackles inside the red zone, including two on goalline stands. **
2008 SEASON **
All-American third-team selection by The NFL Draft Report and Associated Press…Finalist for the Butkus Award…Consensus All-SEC first-team choice…Was named the Crimson Tide's Outstanding Defensive Performer and Defensive Player of the Year…Added Academic All-SEC honors…Took over middle linebacker duties full-time, starting all 14 games…Led the team with 95 tackles (48 solos) that included three sacks for minus 22 yards and two pressures…Led the Tide with 12.0 stops for minus 45 yards, ranking 12th in the SEC (0.86 tpg)…Batted down six passes and intercepted another for a 12-yard return…Also recovered two fumbles, returning one four yards for a touchdown vs. Kentucky…Led a unit that ranked second in the nation in rush defense (74.14 ypg), tied for third in total defense (263.5 ypg) and placed seventh in scoring defense (14.29 ppg).. The Tide did not allow more than 100 yards rushing in 11 contests. **
2007 SEASON **
Freshman All-American first-team pick by *The Sporting News *and Freshman All-SEC first-team selection by the league's media…Recipient of the team's Lee Roy Jordan Headhunter Award…Played in 13 games, starting nine contests while coming off the bench vs. Houston, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Louisiana-Monroe…Finished fourth on the team with 75 tackles (38 solos), as he produced a 9-yard sack and five stops for losses of 14 yards…Deflected four passes and intercepted two others for 40 yards in returns.
Attended Decatur (Ala.) High School, playing football for head coach Jere Adcock…Regarded by many to be the top linebacker in the nation…Rivals.com ranked him 25th overall in the prep ranks and the top player in the state of Alabama…Ranked tenth nationally by Scout.com and was the top-rated linebacker on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's *Top 100 list…Orlando Sentinel 2006 All-Southern team member, earning Parade All-American honors in his final season…Received All-Region VIII honors as a line-backer and All-State accolades on defense and as a tight end…After his senior season, he competed in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl…In 2006, McClain recorded 106 tackles, including 13.0 stops for loss…Had 104 tackles, 11 stops behind the line of scrimmage, four sacks, an interception, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery as a junior…Also made 24 catches for 436 yards in his junior season…Started on the basketball team. *
General Studies major…Born 7/14/89…Resides in Decatur, Alabama.
Bio courtesy of Dave Te' Thomas and NFLDraftScout.com
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