It is never too soon to look forward to next season when you are an Alabama fan. Yesterday, we took an early first look at the 2017 defense. Today, it is the offense.
And why not? It's only 233 days until the Crimson Tide faces thein Atlanta, GA.
Underclassman possibly leaving for NFL: Nobody.
New guys: Tua Tagovailoa (EE) and Mac Jones (4-star).
Outlook: Have you heard of this Hurts guy? He is pretty good. And don't imagine for a second that he will not work to improve his game. It will be beneficial to him to have high 4-star Tagovailoa to push him this spring. Depth is a concern with upperclassmen transferring out. This makes Jones' commitment much more important.
Underclassmen likely leaving for NFL: .
Returning: Ross Pierschbacher, Jonah Williams, , Lester Cotton, Dallas Warmack, , Matt Womack, Chris Owens, , Scott Lashley, , Richie Petitbon.
New guys: Alex Leatherwood (EE), Elliot Baker (EE), Jedrick Wills (high 4-star), (4-star), and Hunter Brannon (3-star, greyshirt?).
Outlook: Nick has been stealthily stockpiling a load of O-linemen. Despite the troubles this season, there should be plenty of candidates to fight for and improve this unit. Pierschbacher and Williams have likely locked down two of the starting spots, though they could be moved around. could be pushed at center. 5-star Leatherwood and juco transfer Baker have excellent chances at being starters in 2017. Might we see some transfers at the bottom end of the depth chart?
Underclassmen possibly leaving for NFL: Nobody.
New guys: Major Tennison (4-star), Kedrick James (3-star)
Outlook: showed great promise as a blocker and receiver. Hentges has yet to really prove himself as a receiving threat. Tennison should see playing time as a frosh.
Underclassmen possibly leaving for NFL: ArDarius Stewart
ArDarius Stewart (?), Calvin Ridley, Trevon Diggs, , , (?), , (?), Xavian Marks.
New guys: Jerry Jeudy (EE), Tyrell Shavers (EE), one of the following 4-stars: Devonta Smith, Henry Ruggs, or Nico Collins. Grad-transfer anyone?
Outlook: The BIG question is whether Stewart goes pro. [UPDATE: Stewart has declared for the NFL] Ridley and Diggs will be in the rotation with Sims likely seeing playing time. The rest of the receiving corps is a question mark and frankly disappointing. 5-star Jeudy will certainly help the troops. Chadarius Townsend (EE) could get a look at WR but his future likely lies as a safety.
Leaving: Derrick Gore (announced plans to transfer).
Underclassmen leaving for NFL: Nobody.
Returning: Bo Scarbrough, Damien Harris, Josh Jacobs, B.J. Emmons, .
New guys: Najee Harris (EE), Brian (4-star).
Outlook: A once barren position is looking pretty solid for 2017. Everyone is back but how healthy are they? Scarbrough, Emmons, and have battled injuries. Barring a grad-transfer, none of the returning Bama running backs are seniors. Najee Harris is a big boost to this unit.
Underclassmen leaving for NFL: Nobody.
New guys: Brandon Ruiz (3-star).
Outlook: You're gonna miss him when he's gone. Some fans gave Griffith a hard time over his career at the Capstone, but in the end, he was rock solid. Rising senior Pappanastos was 6-of-6 on PAT attempts with a 33 yard field goal in one attempt this season. He also kicked off twice for 58 and 56 yards. (Long snapper was covered yesterday)
Steve Sarkisian's one game career as OC at Alabama did not turn out as Tide fans had hoped, but there is promise. Ten year assistant Burton Burns (RB/ST) isn't likely going anywhere anytime soon. Mario Cristobal (OT/TE) has done a masterful job as the recruiting coordinator for Nick Saban. It would take a significant job offer for him to leave. It was the first season for Brent Key (Guards and Centers) at the Capstone. Right guard was a deficiency this year and Pierschbacher seemed out of place at left guard. Will Key be blamed? Billy Napier (WR) just finished season number four. He is a good recruiter.
Roll Tide 2017