University of Alabama All-American and First-Team All-SEC left tackle Andre Smith is the 63rd recipient of the Outland Trophy, presented annually to college football's best offensive lineman or linebacker. Smith received the award at the 2008 ESPNU Home Depot College Football Awards Show Thursday night in Orlando. Smith was named the 2008 Outland Trophy winner over other finalists Duke Robinson (Oklahoma) and Michael Oher (Mississippi). Smith is the first Alabama winner since Chris Samuels won the award in 1999.
"I was surprised to hear my name called because either one of those other two guys could have won the award," Smith said. "I think it helped to play on a dominating offensive line like we had, that opened up holes for our running game. I am proud to win this award."
The Tide's junior left tackle was also named to the 2008 Walt Camp Foundation All-American Team Thursday night in Orlando. Smith has been named a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), The Sporting News and the Walter Camp Foundation. In addition, he was a unanimous first-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press, The Sporting News, SEC head coaches and Phil Steele.
"There are a lot more guys who get the reputation than actually live up to the billing," said Alabama coach Nick Saban. "He started as a freshman and has improved every year. I don't see them all, and I'm not saying he is better than anybody else, but it's hard for me to think there is any other offensive lineman who has played any better than him this season."
Smith anchors a powerful and talented offensive line at Alabama, paving the way for 1,000-yard rusher Glen Coffee this season. Coffee is one of nine players in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and his 1,347 rushing yards are fourth in UA history. Overall, he has blocked for six 100-yard rushing performances this season. Smith yielded only one sack all season, allowing time for quarterback John Parker Wilson to post the fourth-best pass efficiency rating (123.81) in the SEC.