Alright, the headline is a little hyperbolic at this point; but Miller Forristall is a pretty darn good blocker already. Plus, who doesn’t love a rhyme?
Alabama’s #1 tight end was set in stone when O.J. Howard announced he would return for his senior year. Sophomore Hale Hentges saw plenty of playing time as a true freshman and looked to continue that trend. Hentges has gotten many snaps, but Miller Forristall has also played his way onto the field.
The three star true freshman from Georgia enrolled early and made the most of his opportunities, shining as a blocker. Forristall actually was in on the first offensive snap of the season - along with Howard and ahead of Hentges. With no new footage because of the bye week, I thought it would be good to look at one of the true freshmen whose impact hasn’t shown up in the stat sheet.
1st and 10: Alabama has 12 personnel (1 back, 2 tight ends) in the pistol with two receivers wide on each side. ArDarius Stewart and Forristall are on the right. Calvin Ridley motions left to right, and Blake Barnett throws his way. While the pass is dropped for no gain, this play speaks volumes about the confidence in Forristall. He’s paired with arguably the best blocking wide receiver the Tide have to help set up the play for Ridley.
1st and 10: Forristall is in as the H-back. Josh Jacobs has just ripped off a long run, and they feed it to him again. Forristall immediately moves up to the second level through the A gap. He lowers his shoulder and smashes into the linebacker. The collision halts the linebacker, and Forristall just drives him back several yards before he spins free. With the left side clogged up, Jacobs cuts it to the right around Bradley Bozeman into the hole Forristall has helped created. Jacobs picks up 8 yards.
2nd and 14: Some of you may remember this play from my breakdown after the UT game. Forristall lines up at H-back on the left side. Gehrig Dieter and Ridley are wide left while Stewart is the lone wideout to the right. Forristall comes across the offensive line, leaving the defensive end unblocked. Hurts follows. Forristall locks in on a fellow true freshman, defensive back Baylen Buchanan. His block allows Hurts to hit the boost and outrace the rest of the defense to the endzone for a touchdown.
This isn’t to say that Forristall is just a blocking tight end. With so many options ahead of him, he hasn’t had many opportunities as a receiver; but he does lead the team in yards per catch. Okay, so maybe he only has one reception for 32 yards but whatever.
1st and 10: Alabama’s in shotgun. Ridley and Stewart are wide right. Howard is on the line next to Cam Robinson, and Forristall is to his left. Forristall just streaks down the seam; and, due to a coverage bust, is wide open. Hurts initially looks to the right but comes back to the left and sees Forristall with green all around him. He underthrows it, though; and Forristall has to spin all the way around to catch it. If Hurts hits him in stride, Forristall has an easy touchdown. Nothing fancy from Forristall here, but he does an excellent job of reacting to the throw that’s made and getting the job done.