— Alabama has had a lot of freakish athletes during the past several years. Five-star freshman Dylan Moses may end up being one of the freakiest. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound freshman ran the 40 in 4.46 seconds. To put that into perspective, that was faster than all but two of the Tide’s wide receivers. The Louisiana native also bench-pressed 405 pounds, squatted 500 pounds and had the top power clean among linebackers (335). He’s only been on campus two months...
— Sophomore Mack Wilson also ran very well. His 40 time was 4.59.
This article is a couple of days old, so you’ve likely already seen it, but this is one of my most looked forward to pieces each year.
Most notable is Dylan Moses. Read above. He just ran a 4.46 forty at 235 pounds, along with weightlifting numbers to put him in with the strongest on the team. And he hasn’t even started his freshman season. You can be sure that NFL scouts have already seen that, and are drooling over themselves waiting for three years from now.
A couple of other notable numbers:
- Jalen Hurts ran a 4.48 forty. Faster than all the running backs and faster than any QB in the NFL combine.
- Josh Jacobs had the best vertical jump on the team with 35.5 inches. That’s definitely an impressive number, but I’d expect some of most elite athletes in college football would have had a higher max.
- Calvin Ridley ran a 4.43, which is significantly slower than his unreal 4.35 last year.
- As you’d expect, Xavian Marks was the fastest receiver, running a 4.41. What you wouldn’t expect, though, is that he also led the receivers with a 365 pound bench press.
- Redshirt freshman tight end Irvin Smith ran a 4.59 forty. What? Where did that come from?
- Deonte Brown had easily the best squat on the team, lifting 675 pounds, while Brandon Kennedy led the offensive linemen in speed with a 5.15 forty.
- Daron Payne is other worldly. He squatted 635, benched 545(!) power cleaned 365(!!), and then ran a 5.03 forty. This guy is going to be getting so much NFL hype this season.
- Jamar King was the fastest interior lineman, running a 4.77 forty.
- The outside linebackers weren’t as fast as I was expecting, with Mekhi Brown leading the way with a 4.61 forty. Christian Miller did show some serious explosion though, with a 35 inch vertical and 119 inch broad jump at 240 pounds.
- Tony Brown is still the fastest player on the team. 4.38 forty.
It creates a great opportunity for veterans such as redshirt senior Robert Foster, senior Cam Sims and redshirt junior Derek Kief, who will be part of a group competing for those two jobs starting next week when the Tide begins spring practice.
Foster, in particular, will be interesting to track.
Two months ago, the former five-star recruit talked openly about his interest in potentially transferring, clearly frustrated about his limited role as a redshirt junior last season. He never left, though, and is now set to begin the spring as one of Alabama's top wide receivers.
I’ve been really high on Robert Foster since he arrived on campus, and have been disappointed every year when he has been unable to get into the rotation (except 2015, when he was finally a starter before breaking a collarbone against Ole Miss).
He’s very fast, powerful after the catch, and a nuanced route-runner. Despite that, he’s never been able to really see the field for whatever reason. Hopefully, we get to see him finally have his season after waiting patiently for the last 4 years.
Most interesting, though, will be the impact early enrollees Jerry Jeudy and Tyrell Shavers have on the rotation. Jeudy possesses the same dynamic play-making ability that fellow south Floridians Ridley and Amari Cooper did before him,while the 6-foot-6 Shavers offers a combination of size and athleticism that is rare even for a place like Alabama.
With two more receivers -- Henry Ruggs III and Devonta Smith -- set to join the program in the summer, quality options won't be an issue for new position coach Mike Locksley. In fact, the thought of having a surplus of talented players at the spot likely had something to do with Saban's Signing Day comments about experimenting with a receiver or two in the defensive backfield (Saban specifically mentioned the career path of Cyrus Jones).
To be sure, Locksley is inheriting an abundance of speed and skill, attributes that will help ease the transition from Stewart to next Ridley's next running mate. Replacing the physicality Stewart brought to the table, however, may not be as easy.
That said, there are 4 very talented freshmen joining the team, including Jeudy and Shavers as early enrollees. Jeudy has already made a mark, tying Robert Foster for the third fastest receiver on the team, while Shavers is now the tallest, surpassing Cam Sims.
Though Stewart and Dieter have departed, I think Jalen Hurts will find some new targets opposite of Calvin Ridley this year.
Jones, who was a 4-star defensive tackle in the Class of 2016, signed with Alabama but failed to qualify. After seeing the Crimson Tide fall to the Tigers in the national championship game, there were a lot of what-ifs that crept into his mind.
“I cried on Instagram Live in front of like 35 people,” Jones said with a laugh. “Those refs cheated my boys. I was just looking up everything in the rule book to blame it on those refs.
“I just thought to myself that I could’ve been there. I could have been the one smacking Deshaun Watson around. I did cry after the loss. I knew how much that game meant to them, but I thought to myself, ‘Dang, maybe it would have been different if I could have been out there.'”
Kendell Jones will be eligible for 2018 after his two years in junior college. Give this article a read, as its a pretty extensive interview with The Hulk about what all has happened with his experience of not academically qualifying at Alabama and having to go to JUCO.
He still wants to come to Alabama, though Saban hasn’t yet offered him a new scholarship. The Hulk got a 3.0 during his first semester, and seems to have made academics a priority, mentioning that he plans to be an Academic All-American in the future.
Good luck, Kendell, and hope to see you bolstering the Tide defensive line in a couple of years.
March Madness starts today. Good luck on your brackets, and Roll Tide!