27 May 2008
The 1st summer term for the University of Alabama begins June 3rd, which means that many of Bama's 2008 signees will become members of the Alabama football team.
The numbers to watch for are 85 (the total number of scholarships allowed) and 25 (the total number of new players Bama can add to the team in 2008). Neither of these numbers have to be solid until the first day of fall practice, which should be some time around the first week of August.
As you probably remember, the Tide signed 32 players as a part of the #1 ranked recruiting class in the nation. Two of those players (Corey Smith & Chris Jackson) enrolled in the fall and counted toward the 2007 recruiting class. The means that Bama has to find a way to squeeze 30 players into 25.
The first factual attrition from the 2008 class came down earlier today when Pleasant Grove DE Brandon Lewis
announced that he'll be enrolling at Hargrave Military Institute in Virginia, due to falling 1 point shy on his standardized test score (ACT).
This situation will likely work out very well for Lewis, as he'll have the chance to attend Hargrave without losing a year of eligibility. He'll have the opportunity to spend the summer and fall working out with a football team, and still have 5 years to play 4 in college football.
Hargrave is a favorite spot for college coaches to send their signess because the coaching staff at Hargrave is adamant about sending players to the school that they originally signed with-something that Bama has seen in past years with Lorenzo Washington
, Mike Ford
(though he failed to make his grades and ended up at South Florida) and 2008 signee Kerry Murphy
all signing with Alabama again after thier year at Hargrave.
Another positive for Lewis, who was considered a prime candidate for a redshirt due to a lack of size for DEs in Nick Saban's defense, is that he has the opportunity (assuming he can raise his ACT the required 1 point), could enroll at Alabama in January and participate in Bama's 2009 Spring Practice, something that proved a huge bonus for Kareem Jackson in 2007.
With Lewis out for 2008, that means Bama still has have 4 guys from the 2008 recruiting class that don't fit into the numbers. So who might be those 4? Here are the likely guys:
- his family is throwing a draft day party on June 5th in expectation of him being a high draft pick in the MLB draft. If he's drafted in prior to the end of the 4th round (where signing bonus begin to drop below the $250,000 range) he will almost certainly go the way of past Bama signees Michael Coleman
and Desmond Jennings.
- not much has come out recently about Bama's 2008 resign from Hargrave, but indications last month were that he might have to go the Junior College route due to academics.
- recent news has indicated that Ray might also go the MLB route. While he is not considered to be as high of a pick as Hood, rumors are that academic troubles might make his decision an easy one.
- one of Bama's lower rated prospects coming out of high school, it is widely rumored that he is willing to defer his enrollment until January of 2009. Being the grandson of Bama legend Billy Neighbors, and the son of former Bama OL Wes Neighbors makes this seem likely, if needed.
- rumors have also run rampant that, if needed, Brad is willing to defer his enrollment. Not only is he a native of Tuscaloosa, but his father Bart is a very succesfull local businessman, which could be the double whammie that makes him a strong candidate.
John Michael Boswell
- Also a native of Tuscaloosa, Boswell would be able to defer enrollment without having to pay for housing at Bama in the fall. The Tide's lack of depth on the OL tells me that he'll be with the team when camp opens in the fall.
Things won't necessarily be known next week when the first wave of guys report. Both William Vlachos and Patrick Crump enrolled at Bama for the 1st summer term in 2007, prior to it being a certainty that they would both be a part of the football team in 2007. However, enrollment for prep schools (including Hargrave) begins next week also, so it is possible that we'll know more.
So what about the 85 number? Once the number of incoming guys reaches 25, the Tide will still have 5 too many players on scholarship. So how will that work out? Here are some candidates for attrition:
- losing Knight would be a huge deal for Bama if it comes to pass. His health, however is still in question, and if he can not get cleared by doctors, he'll be moved to a medical hardship scholarship. He's had heart problems in the past that required surgery, and while we don't know the extent of his current medical problem (that held him out of spring practice), something tells me the Bama coaches do know.
- His indefinite suspension has yet to come to end. Incoming defensive player Robert Lester has indicated that he'll likely be given the #21, which indicates that it is unlikely that Prince Hall will be back in the fall.
- he missed a great deal of time in the spring with a back injury. If he can't get healthy, then he'll be placed on medical hardship scholarship.
- this Junior to be has been moved around a good bit in his Bama career, and has yet to crack the 2 deep at any position.
- this Sophomore to be has also been moved around a lot during his Bama career, and has also failed to make the 2 deep at any position.
These are not definites by any means, but the 5 guys I see as the most likely candidates to move Bama down to the magic number of 85. No one saw the Jeremy Elder incident happening, however, so a surprise is certainly not out of the question.