13 June 2011
The first summer term has started at the University of Alabama, and that means that the football roster is beginning to take shape for the fall of 2011. There are still two members of the Tide's signing class that haven't made it to campus yet, and there are a handful of players whose status for the upcoming season has yet to be determined.
Here is the situation as we see it today:
Here's the basic information that you'll need if you are new to the scholarship numbers watch:
- Every football team in Division 1 Bowl Sub-Division is allowed to have 85 student-athletes on scholarship.
- No group of incoming football scholarship student-athletes can exceed 25 players.
- At the conclusion of the 2011 season Alabama had 75 scholarship football players set to return for the 2011 season.
That last number (75) is the big one to remember at the moment. The Tide had just 12 scholarship seniors in 2010, making the numbers extremely tight heading into the offseason. Of course, Coach Saban has indicated on more than one occassion that the Tide was not actually at its maximum allowance of 85 scholarships to begin the 2010 season. Pretty much everyone who follows the numbers situation showed the Tide at 85 (myself included), so this was a bit of a shock. What it means is that there is no way to give you an absolute number. Coach Saban isn't telling us who is or is not on scholarship, so we have to pretty much guess who might not be counting towards the 85. We'll get into that more in a bit.
Since we don't know exactly what the number is, we'll use the number from above (75) and go from there.
The attrition from the Tide roster started pretty soon after Bama returned home from Orlando and the beat down of Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl. As expected Marcell Dareus, Mark Ingram, and Julio Jones decided to opt out of their senior seasons and head to the NFL. Those were expected, and their departure dropped the Tide down to 72 returning scholarship players.
On National Signing Day in February Bama inked 24 players. That took Bama's prospective number up to 96. That would put the Tide 11 over the maximum limit of 85.
At the beginning of spring practice we found out that Glenn Harbin had left the football team to concentrate on playing baseball. Robby Green and Brandon Moore were both suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules. And three players - Kendall Kelly, Wesley Neighbors, and Kerry Murphy were not on the spring roster due to injuries.
Harbin is gone from the team and Moore has enrolled at a junior college. Murphy's career is sadly over after a three year battle to get into school finally saw him earn a starting position on Bama's defensive line. Knee injuries limited him throughout the fall, and those injuries have simply not healed enough for him to continue with football. Losing those three guys took the number down to 94.
We still don't know the status of Kelly, Neighbors, or Green. Kelly missed the entire 2010 season with "heat related" issues. The fact that those were still troubling him in the spring tells me that he's unlikely to be back. Green is still on suspension, and given that he missed the 2010 season due to suspension, I doubt he'll be back. I expect we'll see Neighbors in the fall. Since none of those guys have been officially removed from the roster, I am going to leave the number at 94 for the time being.
In the days since spring practice ended we have seen four players to leave the program for opportunities elsewhere: Demetrius Goode, Corey Grant, Petey Smith, and B.J. Scott. These four guys having left the team takes the number down to 90 - or five over the limit of 85.
Tragedy struck the Tide team on May 12 when word came out that junior college transfer Aaron Douglas was found dead in Jacksonville, FL. There was hope among members of the Tide staff that Douglas would win the starting left tackle job in the fall, so his loss is a tangible one on the field. Off of the field the loss is more severe, as Douglas was close to several Tide players - including Barrett Jones who will almost certainly be one of this season's permanent captain. Douglas's death came on the heels of the tornado that came through Tuscaloosa on April 27, and to say that the Bama team struggled to deal with the two tragedies would be an understatement. That will be a story throughout the off season and likely for the majority of the season.
With the sad loss of Douglas the number was lowered to 89.
During the summer Bama added one more player in junior college transfer Duron Carter. His addition moved the number back up to 90, leaving the Tide five over the limit of 85.
As I said above, the status of Robby Green, Kendall Kelly, and Wesley Neighbors is still uncertain. If things go as I expect, Kelly will take a medical hardship and Green will transfer. That would put the Tide, by numbers, at 88. If Bama was actually under 85 last year, then that means the Tide could once again be at 85.
It is also important to note that Duron Carter and incoming freshman Brent Calloway are both finishing their academic work and are expected to enroll in the second summer term. If either of them fails to qualify, that would lower the number even more.
We will likely see some attrition as the summer continues, but as for now it looks like Bama is at 90.
Here is the breakdown:
Seniors (19) – Mark Barron, John Michael Boswell, Josh Chapman, Nick Gentry, Brandon Gibson, Robby Green, Darius Hanks, Jerrell Harris, Phelon Jones, Chris Jordan, Brandon Lewis, Marquis Maze, Alfred McCullough, DeQuan Menzie, Brad Smelley, Chris Underwood, Courtney Upshaw, William Vlachos, Alex Watkins
Juniors (16) – Undra Billingsley, Michael Bowman, Duron Carter, Quinton Dial, Dont’a Hightower, Nico Johnson, Barrett Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, Robert Lester, Tyler Love, Wesley Neighbors, Trent Richardson, Damion Square, Chance Warmack, Jesse Williams, Michael Williams
Sophomores (21) – Jonathan Atchison, Kenny Bell, Chris Bonds, D.J. Fluker, Cade Foster, Jalston Fowler, John Fulton, Kendall Kelly, Eddie Lacy, A.J. McCarron, William Ming, DeMarcus Milliner, C.J. Mosley, Nick Perry, Kevin Norwood, Tana Patrick, Darrington Sentimore, Anthony Steen, Ed Stinson, Jarrick Williams, Kellen Williams
Redshirt Freshmen (13) - Adrian Hubbard, Brandon Ivory, Harrison Jones, Arie Kouandjio, Chad Lindsay, Keiwone Malone, Anthony Orr, Austin Shepherd, Phillip Sims, Blake Sims, Brian Vogler, DeAndrew White, Jay Williams
Incoming Freshmen (21) - Brent Calloway, Ronald Carswell, Hasean Clinton-Dix, Trey DePriest, Xzavier Dickson, Phillip Ely, Malcolm Faciane, LaMichael Fanning, Demetrius Hart, Chris Jones, Ryan Kelly, Cyrus Kouandjio, Wilson Love, Isaac Luatua, Jeoffrey Pagan, D.J. Pettway, Marvin Shinn, Vinnie Sunseri, Bradley Sylve, Jabriel Washington, Danny Woodson
As I said above, those are my numbers. Since I had the Tide at 85 entering last season, and Coach Saban indicated that Bama was below the number, I am probably a bit over. We are not likely to know exactly what the situation is even heading into the fall. If no one else leaves the team and both Carter and Calloway qualify, then we will know that there are at least five guys that are not on scholarship that most people think are. If we see a member of the incoming class greyshirt and defer enrollment, then that will give us a different indication.
Either way, we will keep an eye on things and give you our best guess once fall practice begins.
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