Alabama has had a lot of success in recent years with their championship Jack linebackers, Erik Anders in 2009 and future first round NFL draft pick Courtney Upshaw. Now, William Ming will make a push to succeed them.
He's a guy that has fallen completely off the radar, including my own. I keep up well with the player's possible futures, but William Ming hasn't come to mind in a very long time.
He was a former defensive end and made the move to Jack linebacker before the 2011 season. After one full season under linebacker coach Sal Sunseri (now with Tennessee), Ming just might have what it takes to become a starter next year.
The competition for the starting Jack linebacker position will be fierce, with Dickson and Hubbard as the apparent front-runners.
Dickson has the athleticism and Hubbard has the reach at 6'6", so what does Ming bring to the table?
The best of everything, it would seem. He is 6'4" and 283 pounds. That seems a bit too heavy to play Jack linebacker, but he has been clocked running a 4.7 second 40-yard dash.
That 283 pounds is all muscle and you won't find a leaner 283-pound man, but it is certainly feasible for him to drop 10 or 15 before the season begins. Even then, he'll be significantly heavier than Dixon and Hubbard who both weigh around 240 pounds.
Again, Ming is a guy that many have forgotten all about, but he was a prized 4-star recruit back in 2009. Scout's Burke Hayes said this about him:
"An excellent two-way athlete with the skill to excel on either side, Ming has uncanny agility for a big man. Has very good feet and moves down the LOS as well as most DEs. Does especially well in space, as is illustrated by his abilities with the ball (TE). Excellent off the edge and demonstrates very good body control. Pad level is solid but he needs to work on initial punch, getting extension and disengaging."
As a fourth-year junior in 2012, Ming will be the most experienced candidate for the position despite only recently switching to it from defensive end. He seems like a long shot at the moment, but he is strikingly similar to Courtney Upshaw.
- Both are huge and somewhat oversized to play linebacker, perfect for a Nick Saban Jack linebacker.
- Both played defensive end and tight end in high school.
- Both weighed around 250 pounds coming out of high school.
- Both played for the Alabama Class 5A state championship in 2006, where Ming's team (Athens) defeated Upshaw's (Eufaula), where former Tide funny-man and Nick Saban impersonator Rob Ezell lead Athens to victory.
- Upshaw had to wait until his junior year to start, and Ming could win the position this year as a junior.
- Both run at speed's abnormal for such large men and have explosive and brutal mean streaks.
William Ming may not be the favored to win the starting position at the moment, but that could change a whole lot, even before the spring scrimmage.
After I examined this exciting prospect's potential and sheer size, I believe he will be the prime candidate to succeed Courtney Upshaw as Alabama's next great Jack linebacker.
Ming has been very quiet the past few years, but he could quite possibly light up the radar in 2012—as well as a few quarterbacks.