18 July 2008
| Charlie Higgenbotham - #45 – 6-1 – 211 lbs. – Birmingham, AL – Mountain Brook HS – 1 Varsity Letter
Charlie made huge strides between his true freshman season and his redshirt freshman season. That continued into the fall of last season as he worked his way on to the field in Bama’s last 9 games. He was a special teams standout throughout the second half of the season, and earned Special Teams MVP Honors against both Houston and Ole Miss.
While good special teams contributors are needed to field good teams, what Alabama desperately needs right now are linebackers. And if A-Day is any indication, Charlie might just be ready to work his way into the linebacker rotation. Working with the 2nd team defense, he tied Ali Sharrief
with a game-high 8 tackles.
: Charlie has several things working against him as he tries to establish himself in Bama’s linebacker rotation. He’s a bit under-sized, he is not as athletically talented as the new guys coming in behind him, and he is currently behind Alabama’s only established linebacker, Rolando McClain
, on the depth chart.
He’s got one big thing going for him, however, and that is opportunity. The Tide, even with the group of incoming linebackers, is terribly thin across the 4 LB positions. If Prince Hall
does not return from his suspension, Charlie and McClain are the only 2 scholarship players at the MIKE position. That alone could all but guarantee him playing time.
How much he plays will depend on the readiness of some of the new guys (Don’ta Hightower
, Jerrell Harris
, Courtney Upshaw
and possibly Chris Jordan
). Athletically he isn’t on the same level as those guys. He does have a big experience advantage over them, however, and that should give him the opportunity to play a lot early in the season. If he excels, he’ll continue to play. If not, then he’ll quickly fall behind these guys.
My guess is that Charlie will not only get playing time, but he’ll do something with it. He won’t make a lot of flashy plays; he’s just not that athletic. He is a sure tackler, though, and that alone will likely make him popular with Kevin Steele
& Lance Thompson,
his 2 position coaches. Those two guys are masters at maximizing a player’s skills, and Charlie is an extremely coachable player.
Look for Charlie to provide good quality depth at the MIKE for the Tide this season, likely playing in all 13 games. He won’t be a team leader in tackles, but he’ll give the Tide solid minutes when Rolando McClain is getting a break. He’ll also be a standout again on special teams for Bama.