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 the Florida State Seminoles in Atlanta, GA.
Leaving: Cooper Bateman and David Cornwell.
Underclassman possibly leaving for NFL: Nobody.
Returning: Jalen Hurts.
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 Bateman and Cornwell transferring out. This makes Jones' commitment much more important.
Leaving: Alphonse Taylor and Korren Kirven.
Underclassmen likely leaving for NFL: Cam Robinson.
Returning: Ross Pierschbacher, Jonah Williams, Bradley Bozeman, Lester Cotton, Dallas Warmack, Josh Casher, Matt Womack, Chris Owens, Deonte Brown, Scott Lashley, J.C. Hassenauer, Richie Petitbon.
New guys: Alex Leatherwood (EE), Elliot Baker (EE), Jedrick Wills (high 4-star), Kendall Randolph (4-star), and Hunter Brannon (3-star, greyshirt?).
Outlook: Nick Saban 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. Bozeman 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?
Leaving: O.J. Howard and Brandon Greene.
Underclassmen possibly leaving for NFL: Nobody.
Returning: Miller Forristall, Hale Hentges, Irv Smith.
New guys: Major Tennison (4-star), Kedrick James (3-star)
Outlook: The loss of Howard really hurts. Forristall 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.
Leaving: Gehrig Dieter, potential transfers?
Underclassmen possibly leaving for NFL: ArDarius Stewart
ArDarius Stewart (?), Calvin Ridley, Trevon Diggs, Cam Sims, Derek Kief, Robert Foster (?), T.J. Simmons, Raheem Falkins (?), 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, Ronnie Clark.
New guys: Najee Harris (EE), Brian Robinson (4-star).
Outlook: A once barren position is looking pretty solid for 2017. Everyone is back but how healthy are they? Scarbrough, Emmons, and Clark 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.
Leaving: Adam Griffith.
Underclassmen leaving for NFL: Nobody.
Returning: Andy Pappanastos.
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