Coach Nick Saban announced today the dismissal of the four arrested players from the Alabama football team. A University official also announced that the four are no longer enrolled after a Campus judicial review.
Safety Eddie Williams, linebackers D.J. Pettway and Tyler Hayes are each charged with two counts of second-degree robbery after two incidents of robbing and beating fellow students. (ED NOTE: There are also allegations of fraudulent use of a credit instrument (ACT card); which, under these circumstances, is the only criminal behavior in which Calloway was an alleged participant -Erik). Williams also has a charge of fraudulent use of a credit card to go with a gun charge from an earlier incident. H-back Brent Calloway is facing a charge of fraudulent use of a credit card to buy Skittles as well. The alleged fraud, plus a marijuana possession charge from October 2011, hastened Calloway's release (ED NOTE: And generally being in the dog house since he stepped foot on campus -Erik).
Saban also announced that cornerback John Fulton and wide receiver Kevin Norwood are not participating in offseason conditioning workouts due to turf toe injuries. Norwood was spotted in a walking boot with crutches at the celebration parade in January. Their availability for spring practice is uncertain for now.
Sophomore wide receiver WR Marvin Shinn has left the team and is looking to transfer. He had 6 catches last season for 42 yards. I would guess that it is due to the obscene depth at WR. (Amari Cooper, Christion Jones, Kevin Norwood, Kenny Bell, DeAndrew White, Chris Black, Robert Foster, Raheem Falkins, Ardarius Stewart)*
Fellow sophomore wide receiver Danny Woodson Jr. (1 catch, 9 yards) has been suspended for the dreaded "violation of team rules." There is no word on when he might be reinstated, though he will not participate in spring practice. Might a transfer be in the future for him as well?
There are reports that Xzavier Dickson may be moving to defensive end due to the fact that he is getting huge. This could be good news for rising sophomore Denzel Devall who would most likely take over the Jack linebacker position. Devall saw increased playing time as the season went on in 2012 especially as a third-down pass-rush specialist. He had 17 tackles, seven of which were solo. He recorded two sacks for -15 yards, three tackles for loss for -28, and three quarterback hurries. With DJ Pettway gone, it probably means incoming freshman Jonathan Allen will now be the favorite as the back-up at Jack and possibly battle for the starting spot. Yes, he is that good.
Additionally, it looks like the Tide will be giving Cyrus Jones a good long look at cornerback this spring. As stated before, the WR corps has great depth and the team can afford the move. In high school, Jones excelled on both sides of the ball. As a senior, he had 5 interceptions including a pick-6.
And now from the Pure Speculation Department: There are a few scholarship players who have been on campus four years, and are nearing graduation, that have not been significant contributors and do not look to do so next year either. They are William Ming, Chris Bonds, and possibly Jonathan Atchison. Ming was a 4-star defensive end coming out of Athens, Alabama (shoulda' signed Brittany Howard instead). As far as I can tell, he has only played in one game; that, versus Georgia State in 2010. DT Bonds has played in 4 games in his four years on campus. Atchison participated in eight games in 2012, but mostly after the games were out of reach.
In my oh-so humble opinion, it'd be real cool if they collected their diplomas, their three BCSCG rings and remove themselves from the roster.
*AFTERTHOUGHT: Last year was the season for Shinn to break through and make a contribution. With Maze and Hanks gone, Shinn had a legitimate chance at earning playing time after redshirting in '11, and possibly earn a starter spot at WR3 (or KR/PR duties, as true Fr. Cyrus Jones did). Instead, Shinn never cracked the two deep, although the starting WR grouping was manned by a nice mix of youth and veterans: Erratic Jr. Norwood, speedy Jr. Bell, sophomore home run H-receiver Christion Jones, and freshman all-everything Amari Cooper. As you recall, with the BCSMNCG looming, and Kenny Bell hobbled with a broken leg, Saban considered pulling the redshirt off of Black. Further, DeAndrew White tallied 14 catches for 151 yards and 2 TDs as a R.Fr. in 2011. White would have almost certainly been ahead of Shinn on the depth chart had he not lost 2012 to a knee injury.
At best, Shinn was staring at the 6-7 spot on the depth chart, and very likely worse: First, every one of those guys above is returning. All of them. Add to that, the 2013 NSD class, which is perhaps the best haul for Saban ever at WR, a class that went national. The Tide signed the nation's No. 3 athlete, Slot WR/safety-sized, ArDarius Stewart out of Fultondale. The gem of the class is though to be the 4th best WR prospect, Robert Foster, a highly recruited guy from Pennsylvania. Then you have the match-up nightmare that the 6'4" 200# Raheem Falkins provides (a kid we grabbed from LSU's backyard in NOLA). Size is nice, but Alabama also picked up an absolute burner in Eddie Jackson (Miami-Florida). Rounding out the group is the New Jersey utility man, a true 4.4 overlooked athlete from New Jersey, Anthony Averett. It's tough to believe that one or more of these guys won't see significant time in 2013.
It's a numbers and talent game, and, for whatever reason, Shinn faced a long uphill climb.
That said, whether it's talent or depth chart or youth, the Vigor product's lack of production isn't really that aberrant, and you can't call him a bust. About half of all wide receivers not named Julio or Amari, have redshirted their first year on campus under Saban. And, when they do see the field, they don't tend to be very productive as R.Fr. It is typically only that second year of playing that dividends start to be earned. Perhaps Shinn is being too impatient? Perhaps he may never sniff a starting role at Alabama? Still, Alabama will be fine. Shinn's premature exit clears a roster spot for the "hard cap" of 85 guys, and, more importantly, it will help this kid hopefully land in a better situation for him, his education and his career. So, let's wish Marvin the best of luck, and Roll Tide. -Erik.