03 August 2008
| Josh Chapman - #99 – DT – 6-1 – 305 lbs. – Hoover, AL – Hoover HS – Redshirt
This redshirt surprised me last year. Given the fact that Alabama had very little depth at the Nose Guard position, I expected Josh to come in and compete for playing time right away. That is the thing to keep in mind with Freshman expectations, though… sometimes a player that looks ready to play, even if he comes from a big High School program, needs a year to make the adjustment to SEC level play.
Josh did not waste his redshirt year. He added nearly 10 lbs. and put all questions regarding his academics to rest when he earned a spot on the Freshman All-SEC Honor Roll. When you consider that he was considered by many to be a serious candidate to be an academic casualty last summer, for him to have made that type of improvement speaks volumes about where he is at a maturity level, the emphasis that Nick Saban
puts on academics, and the academic assistance program created by John Dever
and his staff.
If there was an encyclopedia of football that contained pictures of players that are tailor made for specific positions, you might very well see Josh’s picture to represent the 3-4 Nose Guard. At 6-1 he is low enough to the ground to get leverage on interior Offensive Lineman. At 305 lbs. he is big enough, and based on his reputation strong enough, to require that teams double team him – an absolute must for the Nose Guard position.
Among the defensive players that took a redshirt last season, I expect Josh to make the largest impact. He will likely open fall camp behind returning starter Lorenzo Washington
and alongside JuCo transfer Terrence Cody
and incoming Freshmen Marcel Dareus
& Damien Square
, though that could change rapidly.
would have factored into this discussion, but he is now practicing at the Center position where he started his career. Both Dareus
are candidates to move outside to Defensive End, so while both guys could compete for time in the middle it could be that neither guy does.
If Josh is able to make a move up the depth chart, and Cody
and one other player establishes themselves as ready to play, then Washington
could also make the move to Defensive End. Despite the fact that Nose Guards don’t typically rack up big numbers, Josh managed 2 tackles for a loss, including 1 sack in the A-Day Game, possibly indicating his readiness.
Regardless of the other players, I expect that Josh will be a part of what will likely be a 3-man rotation at the position. The coaches love him, and his work in the weight room has him in a position to be one of the strongest players on the team. If Washington
stays at NG, he will be the starter. If not Josh is almost certain to be the first guy off of the bench in the rotation.