23 June 2008
| Ali Sharrief - #26 - FS - 5-9 - 187 lbs. - Stevenson, Al - North Jackson HS - 2 Varsity Letters
Ali is yet another guy that began his career at a different position than he is now playing. Ali spent his first 2 years on campus as a running back, and in his redshirt freshman season he totaled a whopping 6 carries for 38 yards. Numbers were short on running backs in 2005 & 2006 also, but considering Ali’s love of contact, he should have been at safety from the beginning
Even though he is a little under-sized for safety at only 5-9, he is an extremely strong and physically player. His greatest feat of physicality was displayed off of the field in a fight with then teammate Chris Keys
– who was kicked off of the team by Mike Shula
for multiple rules violates. Ali whipped the much larger man so badly that Keys ended up with a broken leg.
He brings that type of toughness and strength to a position that craves it. In limited playing time in 13 games last season, Ali still managed 21 tackles. Simply put, he finds the ball. And he hits like a ton a bricks. The key is harnessing that into a guy that can use that toughness and aggressiveness within his assignments at safety.
s: As things stand right now, Ali is the only real option as a back up to Rashad Johnson
at the Free Safety position. Because of everything that Johnson is capable of, that position will have a tremendous amount of responsibility, and Ali must be prepared to take over that responsibility if Johnson were to get injured.
He’ll battle for time as the “Star” back in Bama’s nickel package, and stands to be one of the top candidates to be on the field in the Tide’s dime package as well.
As was the case in 2007, his largest contribution will likely come on special teams, where he became a head-hunter on both kick-off and punt coverage teams.
His development as a consistent safety could be very critical for the Tide in 2009, as Johnson will have departed and Bama will be looking for a free safety. Ali has the good fortune to be learning the position from not only 2 of the best DB coaches in the country in Nick Saban
& Kirby Smart
, but also from an All-SEC performer in Johnson.