Alabama Football: 4 Under-the-Radar Freshmen to Look out for
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With eight players from Alabama’s top-rated 2012 recruiting class already settled in Tuscaloosa after enrolling in January, the rest of their classmates are set to join them later this week to get their first taste of college life.
While fall camp is still months away, the newest batch of Crimson Tide players will get their feet wet during the offseason workout program.
Several big-name recruits will headline the list of newcomers—with guys like safety Landon Collins, linebacker Reggie Ragland, athlete Eddie Williams and corner Geno Smith all possessing the ability to become impact players under the tutelage of Nick Saban.
However, in a class loaded with elite talents, a handful of talented studs who may not have grabbed the headlines on signing day will begin their careers this summer with an eye on proving their wares on the field this fall.
Here are four under-the-radar freshmen to look out for.
Denzel Devall Highlights, courtesy 247 Sports
Alabama signed four linebackers in the 2012 class, but most of the hoopla surrounded Reggie Ragland and early enrollee Dillon Lee.
A native of Bastrop (LA), Devall was plucked out of rival LSU’s backyard—which is a rare occurrence and even more of a coup considering that LSU lost all three of its starting linebackers to graduation.
The 6’2”, 240-pounder should start his career manning one of the inside linebacker positions—and expect him to show why Saban fought to steal him away from his former school.
TE Kurt Freitag Highlights
With Brad Smelley off to the NFL, a trio of sophomores battled for the vacant H-back position during the spring.
Look for Freitag—who was a high school teammate of fellow Crimson Tide signee linebacker Dillon Lee—to jump into the mix for the vacancy.
The 6’4”, 245-pound Georgia native may have been a 3-star prospect by most recruiting services, but his offer list—which consisted of most of the heavyweights in the SEC and ACC—suggested that his talents might have been understated.
LB Tyler Hayes Highlights, courtesy 247 Sports
Another impressive linebacker prospect, Hayes has a similar build to current Crimson Tide outside linebacker C.J. Mosley.
The 6’3”, 215-pound Thomasville (AL) native was a two-way athlete on the high school level who claimed Class Quad-A Lineman of the Year honors as a senior.
Hayes will begin his career as an outside linebacker like Mosley—and if he can excel in coverage situations like him, he could find his way onto the field early this fall.
DT Dakota Ball Highlights, courtesy 247 Sports
One of a quartet of defensive tackle signees, Ball is a 6’2”, 293-pounder who brings a different element to the nose tackle position.
Considering that he had the agility and footwork necessary to play tight end in high school, he should be able to add more of an athletic dimension to a position known for size and brute strength.
Despite being rated as a consensus 3-star prospect, Ball was named an Under-Armour All-American—which is an indicator of his ability to play with the best prep talent in the nation.