28 July 2008
| Darius Hanks - #15 – WR – 6-0 – 190 – Norcross, GA – Norcross HS – No Varsity Letters
The release of Alabama’s 2008 media guide showed Darius & Alfred McCullough
as Sophomores, indicating either that they did not apply for a medical redshirt for 2007, or that their application was denied. Obviously it is a waste when a player loses an entire year of eligibility due to playing time in one game, as is the case with both of these guys, though sometimes it does happen. Bama fans have spent the last year and a half lamenting Mike McCoy
having lost a year for only slightly more playing time.
Having said that, there have been cases where appeals to this process with the NCAA take longer than expected. It is unlikely that either of these guys will head into the 2008 season as redshirt freshman, but it would not be unprecedented for the NCAA to, at a later date, rule in favor of a redshirt for them for the 2007 season.
That decision could come as late as the end of what will eventually be their Senior seasons in 2010, with them effectively playing 2 Senior seasons instead of 2 Freshman seasons. Of course, all of that is dependant upon them having actually filed for the redshirt, and unless Nick Saban changes the way information comes out of his program, we aren’t likely to know if that happened.
A lot is being expected of Darius, because a lot has been said about him by Tide players who have practiced with him for a year now. According to those reports, Darius might very well have the best hands on the team. Word has it that he was unstoppable on the scout team last year. While it’s nice to think that was the case, you have to figure that if he were that spectacular, he would have been playing on Saturdays, especially when the Tide offense spiraled into ineffectiveness.
He was technically a member of the 2nd team on A-Day, though Coach Saban indicated that he was put with the 2nd unit so that he would have more passes thrown his way during the game. That worked out well, with him catching 4 passes for 102 yards and a TD in the spring game.
2008 Prospectus: There were a lot of reports prior to the 2007 season about Mike McCoy
having had a similar off-season, where all of the players were hyping how well he was progressing. That did not lead to big numbers for Mike in 2007, though there were reasons that he didn’t shine that went beyond things within his own control. I mention that only to point out that the adjustment from scout team star to actual production in SEC games is huge, and expectations for a great 2008 for Darius should be tempered until he actual produces on the field.
Given how well he played on A-Day, combined with the way that there seemed to be unanimous praise from the other players about how well he practiced in 2007 and in the spring of 2008, there is reason to be hopeful of a big year for him, though. Jim McElwain
loves to spread the ball around, and Darius will battle Senior Nikita Stover
for the early reps as the primary slot receiver.
With the Tide looking to replace 3 Senior Wide Receivers from last year, spots in the playing rotation should be up for grabs. If things go as planned and he is able to line up in the slot and be matched up with a safety, linebacker, or nickel corner then Darius should be able to use his quickness to create space. He likely won’t be Bama’s deep threat, as there are faster guys at the position. But given his reputation for making big catches in traffic, expect to see him as a frequent target within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage.