It seems about this time every year, Bama fans take to wondering how the heck the football team will get to the 85 scholarship limit. Since student records are private, the public may never know who is on scholarship. However, a few educated guesses mixed with some pure speculation may shed the light on the number crunch ahead for Nick Saban and Co.
- Dee Liner is scheduled to make an official visit to North Carolina this weekend. Georgia Tech is also in line for his signature.
- It is probably safe to assume that Altee Tenpenny will transfer as reported last month but there has been no news since he Tweeted a Bama farewell and deleted it soon thereafter.
- Anthony Orr was a fifth year senior who was basically a scout team player for five seasons. #NotProcessed
Rising Contributing Seniors
There is not much evidence to indicate that any of these players will be leaving the program any time soon.
|9||D. J. Pettway||DL|
Rising Contributing Juniors
Expected contributors to 2015.
- First off, WOW. Can you believe these guys are already juniors?
- Dakota Ball found regular 2014 playing time as a blocking tight end.
- Dalvin Tomlinson tore his ACL in the first game of 2013 after redshirting 2012. He is a possible candidate for a sixth year of eligibility in 2017.
- Jonathan Taylor is a juco transfer. He has only two years of eligibility remaining.
Rising Redshirt Sophomores
- Most of these players are expected to contribute in 2015.
- Walker Jones and Anthony Averett both played in only one game in 2014. With FAU, Southern Miss, and Western Carolina on the schedule and a 59-0 blowout of Texas A&M, that is not an encouraging sign to their future with the team. Time to step it up.
- Averett also competes in sprints and jumps for the track team.
- Despite Tyren Jones' recent suspension, he should stay with the team. But really, who knows?
- Cooper Bateman served as the place kick holder in 2014. [IMHO, Saban wanted to involve him in the team to keep him from getting discouraged.]
Rising True Sophomores
|42||Shaun Dion Hamilton||LB|
|44||Laurence "Hootie" Jones||S|
- All these players played as true freshmen in 2014.
- I had to go back and look at the 2014 Texas A&M game to confirm that #63 Hassenauer did participate in that one game revoking his redshirt. You may recall that starting center Ryan Kelly was injured against Ole Miss and Bradley Bozeman replaced him for two starts (Arkansas, TAMU). It seems a bit of a waste as Kelly was back in the starting lineup the next Saturday against Tennessee and Hassenauer did not play the rest of the season.
- All these players redshirted their true freshman season in 2014.
- O.J. Smith came to Alabama with a shoulder injury that required surgery. His current status is unknown.
- Marlon Humphrey also runs track.
Barring any unforeseen events, the above mentioned players total out at 82 scholarship players. The following section is purely speculation on my part.
Rising Fifth Year Seniors (questionable status)
As mentioned in past postings, no college athlete is "owed" a fifth year of eligibility. There is no NCAA rule that commands such a thing. The following players have all been on campus for four fall seasons. All Alabama players attend school year-round and would be hard-pressed to not have a diploma in hand after four fall semesters, four spring semesters, and four summer terms.
- Malcolm Faciane was rated one of the top four tight ends coming out of high school and he has been a bit of a bust. He has four career receptions but none against FBS opponents. He was also suspended for a violation of team rules before the 2013 season. The Tide was forced to convert DL Dakota Ball and OL Brandon Greene to tight end in order to shore up depth at the position.
- Isaac Luatua - This offensive guard has only seen playing time in mop-up duty the past two seasons after watching from the sidelines in his first two years. Personally, I cannot see him winning a starting spot in 2015. He is useful as depth but he might just need to move on with his life.
- Jabriel Washington has shown some value as a sixth DB and as a special teams player but is not indispensable.
- Bradley Sylve was given a start at corner in the 2014 opener against West Virginia and quickly proved he was not up to the task. Like Washington, he is good for depth and special teams but not a vital part of the team. He also competes in the short sprints for the Tide track team. To be clear, a football player cannot be considered under track scholarship and still play football.
If I had to guess, I'd say Washington (83) and Sylve (84) both return. Faciane and Luatua may just have to make that final commencement walk and start looking for a job.
Rising Third Year Players (precarious status)
The following have been on campus for three years.
- Darren Lake played in 8 games in 2012, 13 games in 2013, and 8 games last season. It is never good when playing time goes down in your third year.
- Korren Kirven was a 4-star defensive tackle in the Class of 2012. Since then, he has redshirted, played in five games his second year, and played in three games in this latest campaign.
- Alec Morris served as the third QB last season where he saw run-out-the-clock action in four games. He has yet throw a pass in a college game.
My feeling is that Morris will stick it out to the bitter end and not transfer. For Lake and Kirven, the jury is out but the two defenders will get a chance to show their wares this spring.
Details will become more clear when spring practice begins on March 13 and more so at the conclusion of the A-Day spring game on April 18.