If his were a story of football-only, you’d call it a case of right place / wrong time: At most schools in the nation, Alabama center’guard Joshua Casher would be a successful multi-year starter. Few centers in the Saban era came to campus with as much fanfare, particularly after decommiting from Auburn:
One of the premier offensive line recruits in the nation ... a four-star prospect who was rated as the nation’s best center by Rivals.com and ESPN ... the No. 2 center by 247Sports and No. 4 by Scout.com ... selected to play in the 2014 Under Armour All-American Game ... ranked as the No. 9 player in the state of Alabama by Rivals.com and ESPN
After redshirting in 2014, however, Casher had the misfortune to then hit the active Tide roster in a 2015 campaign that saw Ryan Kelly rake in all the trophies: All-American, consensus All-American, Rimington Award. Then, Bradley Bozeman’s intimidating frame and performance again relegated Casher to the bench. At 6’5”, 317, Bozeman was very much a player more in the mold of the departed Kelly (6’4”, 309). And, behind him was J.C. Hassenauer, now on the Atlanta Falcons’ roster despite being a reserve at Alabama
So, it was always Casher’s size that prevented him from seeing more playing time. He is a smaller lineman, at “just” 6’1”, 290. Because, it certainly is not his work ethic, long praised as being among the best on the team.
“He’s just out of the world, man,” Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams said of his teammate. “It’s just like he comes with a smile, he comes with a big voice every day. So when he says stuff, everybody just listens because as you can see, he has a big voice. You know what I’m saying? So when he speaks up, everybody listens. Everybody will recall what he’s saying. He’s always positive. He always speaks highly of everyone.”
“I’ve been very thankful for the opportunity, to be honest with you, you know,” Casher said. “It’s a process being here at Alabama and nothing’s going to be given to you. When you’re here, you’re going to have to work your butt off, you know, pay attention to detail, and really be focused on what’s to come next. I think there’s a lot of guys that are able to play and who are really focused and are willing to put in the work it takes to be great.”
And it absolutely is not his personality. Whatever Josh Casher lacks in pure measurables, he makes up for with his locker room presence and his personality:
Alabama offensive lineman Josh Casher: future motivational speaker— Terrin Waack (@terrinvictoria) April 5, 2018
“One thing that I do each and every day, in my book, I write every day matter.” pic.twitter.com/lp3TNgVD6l
Casher is a three-time recipient of Alabama’s Derrick Thomas Community Service Award, which honors a deserving Crimson Tide football student-athlete for his work in the community. The Mobile, Ala., native was instrumental in Alabama Athletics choosing the Alberta Head Start program as the focus of its Community Unity Project, a department-wide initiative involving student-athletes, coaches and staff. Casher has given more than 200 hours of community service time in addition to serving as a mentor and role model for his teammates and fellow student-athletes.
With center locked-down, Joshua turned to his athleticism and versatility to try and earn a starting role. He had seen action at center and at guard. He was in the mix for a starting role as late as fall camp, and even entered Spring ball as the putative starter at guard —
...Through the first-third of Alabama’s spring practice schedule, the grizzled veteran has worked almost exclusively with the first-team offensive line at left guard, an opening made available with the move of last year’s starter at the position, fellow senior Ross Pierschbacher, sliding inside to center.
”I’ve been very thankful for the opportunity, to be honest with you,” Casher said Thursday. “It’s a process being here at Alabama, and nothing’s going to be given to you. When you’re here, you’re going to have to work your butt off, you know, pay attention to detail, and really be focused on what’s to come next. I think there’s a lot of guys that are able to play and who are really focused and are willing to put in the work it takes to be great.”
Joshua Casher ultimately did not earn a starting job with the Crimson Tide. But, he was consistently one of the first players off the bench in 2018. In fact, if any word can be used to describe Casher as a player, it is “growth”. Some players take longer to develop, and Casher improved incrementally throughout his career. In fact, every year on campus, he saw progressively more snaps: He played in one game as a RS Freshman, five as a RS Sophomore, six as a RS Junior, and then eight games in his RS Senior campaign, all primarily at guard.
But, it is not football that defines who Casher is as person. And, it is not football that calls to Casher: In December 2017, he earned his undergraduate degree in exercise physiology and exercise science, concentrating in physical therapy. And, in December, Casher earned his master’s degree in sports business management.
His dream? Be a physical therapist and own a chain of clinics, to continue to be the positive influence in his community that he has always been. With his attitude and work ethic, we daresay he will be a success.
This is not a story of football as an end unto itself — it is a story of a means to an end. His is among the countless and too-seldom extolled benefits of the value of college athletics; what it means to be given an opportunity to earn an education; to succeed as a student-athlete; to grow into an outstanding young man. So, no, Joshua Casher’s story is not one of football. It is of character, and we love you right back, Cash.
Best of luck, Joshua, and welcome to the family of Alabama alumni.