News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Alabama's Smith, AU's Dunlap and Groves make preseason watch lists

From Staff Reports

One Alabama football player and two from Auburn landed on preseason watch lists for a pair of awards.

The Football Writers Association of America announced its Outland Trophy watch list, and it had Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith and Auburn offensive tackle King Dunlap among the 41 players included. The Outland it given to the nation's best interior lineman.

The FWAA also released its watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is awarded to the nation's top defensive player, and Auburn's Quentin Groves was among 49 players included.

Smith, a sophomore from Birmingham, is the only player on the Outland list who is not a junior or a senior. He is coming off an freshman season in which he was named a freshman all-American by and The Sporting News. He was also a freshman All-SEC selection by the conference's 12 coaches and The Sporting News.

He started all 13 games at left tackle and led the team with 62 knockdowns during the regular season. Smith led all Alabama players by participating in 871 snaps.

In the Crimson Tide's Independence Bowl loss to Oklahoma State, he scored a touchdown.

Dunlap, a senior from Brentwood, Tenn., started all 13 games at left tackle for Auburn during the 2006 season. He was named the SEC offensive lineman of the week following Auburn's 38-13 victory over Tulane on Oct. 21 after earning a 99 percent overall grade with four pancake blocks, four cockroach blocks and four rodeo blocks.

Dunlap has played in 37 games during his career, including 14 starts.

Groves, a senior from Greenville, Miss., recorded a team-leading 9.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss to go with 37 total tackles in 2006. He earned Coaches and Associated Press All-SEC first-team honors and was a third-team all-American.

The winners of both awards will be announced after the season.

The Charlotte (N.C.) Touchdown Club will host the Bronko Nagurski Trophy banquet Dec. 3.

The Outland Trophy announcement will happen Dec. 6 in Orlando on ESPN's college football awards show.

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