Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken the time to break down all of Alabama’s incoming freshmen (and transfers) at the skill positions on offense. Now, we’re going to round out the offense with the players tasked with making it all possible, the offensive line. In Nick Saban’s tenure, Alabama has built much of their success from the offensive line outward, with multiple different groups winning the Joe Moore award in the last 15 years.
In 2021, we saw a major step back in OL play, but things improved significantly in 2022... in pass protection at least. But with Tommy Rees coming in as the new offensive coordinator, Alabama will be looking to reemphasize run blocking going forward. And the sheer size of the Tide’s next crop of recruits reflects that desire.
As always, I’ll be giving a short summary on each player, any info on his athletic profile (SPARQ is dead, sadly), my thoughts on his traits, and how I think he’ll fit in Alabama’s depth chart and scheme. All rankings and heights/weights will be from the 247Sports Composite, as I think they do the best job at rating and ranking players. Though I will mention if any of the other services have a particularly different opinion on certain player.
As a Tuscaloosa native from Northridge High School, Formby should have always been a a priority for the Tide to bring in as part of this class. At 6’7”, he’s got a prototypical lean left tackle build and figures as one of the more high-upside prospects in the class.
Formby is a player who plays with a lot of excitement during and between plays and displays some of that infectious energy that can rub off on teammates. As a run blocker, he excels at using his long legs and arms to get downfield as a pulling blocker quickly and lock on to ragdoll a smaller player down the field.
He also displays impressive balance and can twist around near the line of scrimmage to turn defensive linemen away from his ball carrier without losing his feet.
As a pass blocker, he’s got impressive lateral quickness and uses his hands well to chop down defensive linemen’s hands before they can get into his grill.
In both areas, his height combined with lighter weight make him susceptible to bull rushes and defenders going low. If they get past his long arms, it can often be game over for him.
Formby perfectly fits the mold of most of the linemen that Tommy Rees used at Notre Dame. In fact, while most would view someone with his measurables as a pure tackle, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rees even gives him a look on the interior for his ability to pull and get downfield on outside runs.
As he’s under 300 pounds, I think it’s highly unlikely that Formby is an immediate starter or anything. He’ll most likely redshirt this year and work towards getting up to around 310-315.
Proctor has, for years now, been viewed as an up and coming superstar and a can’t miss prospect that will be a high NFL Draft pick in just a few short years. He’s already 6’7” 330, and hails from the state of Iowa, where giant NFL linemen seem to just grow on trees or something.
After originally committing to his home team to play for the Hawkeyes, Proctor wound up flipping to Alabama right before National Signing Day. Nick Saban pretty much made him the top priority in the recruiting class, with multiple private jet and helicopter trips involved to convince to leave his home.
Unfortunately, there is very little video available to the public on Proctor, so I will be extrapolating more than usual on this one. In terms of pure power and core strength, Proctor is likely already nearly on the level of NFL linemen. When he crouches down to absorb impact, the incoming defender just stops. There is no transfer of momentum or anything else that would really make sense in the laws of physics... They just stop.
And if he has the space to move forward and get to defenders down the field? Well, they just go flying backwards. Usually with him on top of them.
When he’s pass blocking, he displays impressive lateral quickness for his size, though he can get caught twisting a little outside of his stance and grabbing/throwing the defender. It’s a fine line between a highlight block and a hold that will turn into more holds with SEC-speed defenders, so he’ll have to work on that.
That said, watching him physically fling a pass rusher through the air when they try to go by him is equal parts awe-inspiring and terrifying.
When you have the #1 overall lineman, you can fit him into any blocking scheme. That said, I think he’s a little more suited to playing straight up and dominating the man in front of him, rather than a zone blocking scheme.
Many are already penciling in Proctor as the day 1 starter at RT for Alabama, and I can definitely see it. He’ll absolutely be in the thick of the competition... Though I am also personally quite fond of Elijah Pritchett’s chances for that spot going into his second year. I think Proctor winds up as the 6th OL and gets a healthy dose of first team rotational snaps this year before locking down a starting role near the end of the season.
You thought the last two guys were big? How about Miles “Famous” McVay, who’s now a svelte 358 pounds after clocking in north of 370 in the past? The mountain of a human has been working the camp circuits and competing at the top level of football in the midwest.
While he may lack some of the athleticism that will make NFL scouts drool, he makes up for it in sheer size and technical ability and experience.
Though his size might make you think that McVay is just a pure power blocker, his best trait is actually his spatial awareness and his feel for the flow of a play. He seems to have eyes in the back of his head and can turn with his ballcarrier to release a block at just the right moment to have the defender shoot past him on the wrong side.
He’s just got this way of always being in the right place to be in the way.
He’s not the most balanced lineman and often his blocks wind up with him launching himself forward. If he connects, its a total wipeout of himself and someone half his size. If he misses, it’s a bad whiff. This can lead to a bit of a roulette when using him as a power run blocker.
As a pass blocker, he displays strong awareness of blitzers and moves his feet way more quickly than you’d expect for someone his size.
McVay is likely better suited to a zone blocking scheme where he can use his brains and technique to set up defenders and create cut back lanes for his running back. He’s mostly played right tackle in high school, but I think is most likely to be a guard at the college level.
McVay will most likely take a redshirt year in 2023. He doesn’t yet have the body and athleticism to compete in the SEC and will have a lot of work to do in the strength and conditioning room this year.
Montgomery caused some confusion upon enrolling at Alabama, as his name on all of the recruiting services was RyQueze McElderry. He wound up changing his last name for his mom before enrolling, and he actually goes by Roq for his first name.
In any case, at 340+ pounds, he adds another massive body to the offensive line for the Crimson Tide, and brings a little bit of in-state mentality with him.
When Montgomery wakes up in the morning before a game, he chooses violence.
Put him on the line, point him at the defender in front of him, and, one way or another, things will end with that defender on the ground. He’s built like a boulder and rolls over and on top of defenders like one as well.
There’s not a whole lot of pass blocking experience to him, but when it comes to some short yardage power running, he’s your guy.
He’s definitely more suited to a power-man blocking scheme, and is most definitely going to be a pure guard at the college level.
I don’t expect Montgomery to be pushing for a place on the depth chart this year, unless its as a short yardage specialist.
Hailing from Finland, Alinen moved to the U.S. before his junior year, and is the son of a former NFL Europe offensive lineman who spent some time on the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad, so he’s been training for the position for a very long time.
At 6’6” 315, he’s got a prototypical build for an offensive tackle and could also add a few pounds to his big frame and move inside if he wants.
Alinen has some of the quickest feet I’ve seen in an offensive linemen. He does an amazing job of using that in his pass-blocking as well as converting it to an explosive forward drive in run blocking. While he does have issues with getting his arms/hands in place in time, his foot speed and pure athleticism/power often nets him the block he needs anyway.
He can be a very annoying blocker for defensive linemen, as he’ll just push and push and push forward and gain ground on them, and many of his blocks tend to go on just to the limit past the whistle.
He is lightning quick when moving laterally and can shoot around behind other blockers to clear a hole in a lead block or pick up a blitzing middle linebacker from his tackle position.
Alinen is a versatile player who I think can play tackle or guard quite well, and, if he can learn to snap, I think would be a perfect center. I think he can also be quite scheme versatile between zone blocking or power blocking as well.
While I don’t really expect there to be much room in the starting 5 for new players (Latham, Booker, McLaughlin, and Dalcourt all return), I expect Alinen will wind up making getting a spot on the 2-deep depth chart as a utility player.
And, while I’ve never heard anything to indicate he has any experience at center, I think he could absolutely choose to focus on that and wind up being a multi-year starter there for Alabama down the road.