A Fayetteville sports writer who believes Alabama has 50 players on its roster each year who could start for any other Southeastern Conference football team might not be overstating the case.
Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders, formerly with the Crimson Tide, on Monday was named a first-team All-American by the Associated Press.
Sanders is the first Razorback named All-American by AP since offensive lineman Frank Ragnow was named to the third team in 2017 and the first on the first team since tight end Hunter Henry in 2015. Additionally, he is Arkansas' initial first-team A-A linebacker since Jermaine Petty in 2001 as well as the program's first AP first-team A-A linebacker since Ronnie Caveness in 1964.
Sensational in his lone season at Arkansas, Sanders led the Hogs in tackles (103), sacks (9.5) and tackles for loss (13.5). The junior led the Hogs in tackles in seven games and registered double-digit stops in six times.
He was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week after 11 tackles (three for loss) against South Carolina Sept. 10. He was also cited as Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and Bednarik Award Player of the Week. He was later named Butkus Award Linebacker of the Month for September.
He received the SEC honor again after the Nov. 19 win over Ole Miss, notching 10 tackles (half tackle for loss), a fumble recovery and first pass interception of his career. Quinton Caver earned three SEC weekly honors for the Razorbacks in 2000 before drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round.
Upgraded by Sanders, Arkansas' defense enters the Liberty Bowl with 39 sacks -- one shy of the school record set in 1998. Sanders' 9.5 sacks tie Chris Smith's 9.5 in 2012 as the seventh-most in a single year by a Razorback.
Sanders, who has declared for the NFL draft and is a projected top pick, also has made the Walter Camp Football Foundation and Football Writers Association of America All-American teams. He is the first linebacker and 22nd player in program history to achieve consensus A-A status.
In a matchup of 6-6 teams, Arkansas plays Kansas in the Liberty Bowl at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28 in Memphis on ESPN. Call the Razorback Ticket Center at 479-575-5151 for ticket information.