Alabama Football: Crimson Tide's Most Overrated Players

Jimmy McMurreyAnalyst IIJune 1, 2012

Alabama Football: Crimson Tide's Most Overrated Players

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    As a team, the Alabama Crimson Tide deserves every bit of recognition they've gotten, as do some individual players. However, other players have done little (so far) to earn the hype surrounding them. 

    Don't get me wrong, these are all fine, quality players that have played a big part in Alabama's success, but they aren't all quite what some of the Alabama faithful think they are—yet. 

    Let's take a look at some great Alabama players that have a bit of undue hype.

    But first...

    Be warned, this is an article criticizing some aspects of several Alabama players, provided by an Alabama fan in an unbiased manner. Proceed with caution if you take any criticism towards your favorite team as a personal attack. 

Trey DePriest

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    Middle Linebacker, 6'2", 242 lbs., Sophomore


    Why he's good

    Trey DePriest is the total package at middle linebacker.

    He has the size, strength and anticipatory skills required to play middle linebacker in Alabama's base 3-4 defense, but he can also play against the pass better than Dont'a Hightower could. 

    There really is no flaw in the former 5-star recruit's overall game.


    Why he's overrated

    Despite DePriest's potential, he is still inexperienced. 

    Many expect DePriest to take over for Dont'a Hightower as Alabama's field general, but even Hightower himself felt uncomfortable being a vocal leader until the end of his third year at Alabama (2010 season).

    An Alabama middle linebacker that is tasked with leadership needs more than some raw talent and pure potential. They are the quarterbacks of the defense and are more important to Alabama than the actual quarterback.

    DePriest may be ready to assume that role this early in his career, but he has yet to prove he is already capable. 

    Will he be able to be Alabama's defensive field general someday? Certainly.

    Can he do it in 2012? Chances are that he won't be ready. 

Michael Williams

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    Tight End, 6'6", 270 lbs., Senior


    Why he's good

    Michael Williams is a massive tight end, with both impressive height and weight. 

    He is one of the best run-blocking tight ends in the nation, and he has manhandled most linebackers that are intent on smashing the ball-carriers running behind him. 

    He is basically an undersized offensive tackle, and if he weighed 30 lbs. more, he could probably play right tackle effectively. 


    Why he's overrated

    Williams is a one-trick pony. All he can do is block, and the Tide rarely utilized him in the passing game for this reason.

    When the Tide needed him to make a play as a receiver, it was usually in trick play scenarios—and sometimes he came up short.

    He did haul in two touchdown receptions last season, but he could have done so much more with the frame that he has.

    His worst performance as a receiver was in the regular season match against LSU in 2011. 

    First, he had the ball wrestled from him by a safety about 60 lbs. lighter than him (though I still believe interception was the wrong call, but that's pure opinion). 

    Second, he was in wide-open, empty field after a reception near the sideline and was bulldozed by Tyrann Mathieu (pictured), a 5'9", 175-pound cornerback. 

    Again, Williams is an amazing blocking tight end, but his play as a receiver is sorely lacking. However, he has been working very hard at it, and it just might become effective in the passing game in 2012.

Vinnie Sunseri

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    Safety, 6'1", 217 lbs., Sophomore


    Why he's good

    Vinnie Sunseri is a football genius who has used his smarts and quick learning to make a huge impact for the Tide in 2011, earning significant playing time as a true freshman. 

    He is one of those players that makes big-splash plays and does so often.

    Sunseri's ball awareness is incredible, and he uses it to sniff out plays, ball carriers and airborne footballs with ease.


    Why he's overrated

    Many Alabama fans, including myself, think that Vinnie Sunseri is the next great safety in the SEC, and he just might live up to those expectations.

    Realistically, however, predicting that he will be starting opposite Robert Lester is, admittedly, a bit of a stretch. 

    Sure, he can make big, amazing plays, whether it's an interception, brutal tackle or a crushing block, but can he perform as an every-down safety? That is a mystery.

    Against the run, he's a beast, but he has very little film to display how well he can play in pass coverage.

    To assume he's the clear starter ahead of Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix is, truthfully, getting a bit ahead of ourselves...but just a bit.

    I still think he'll start and play like a monster, but until that happens he's still a tad overrated.

Deion Belue

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    Cornerback, 6'1", 170 lbs., Junior


    Why he's good

    Deion Belue is a seasoned player that got plenty of experience under his belt at the junior college level. 

    He's a speedster and a playmaker and runs in the 4.3 range in the 40-yard dash. As a cornerback, his speed and shiftiness will allow him to stick to receivers like glue. 

    He made waves in Alabama's 2012 spring scrimmage when he returned an interception almost the full length of the field for a touchdown.


    Why he's overrated

    Belue has the potential to be an electrifying player, but how will he hold up in starting cornerback duties?

    The guy is paper-thin, and every team will test him with bigger receivers—he could certainly struggle with them. 

    First, his thin frame will make it very difficult for him to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage, and making solo tackles could prove to be quite a chore for Belue. 

    Some are predicting him to become one of the Tide's starting cornerbacks, but I think that's too much of a stretch. 

    He's fast, and he can make some plays, but with his physical build he's not quite ready to move past nickel and dime formations. It's the same situation that LSU's Tyrann Mathieu is in. 

    Fellow junior college transfer Travell Dixon (6'1", 200 lbs.) is a much more sound choice at starting cornerback, and that's why Belue is a bit overrated—at least for the moment.

Duron Carter

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    Wide Receiver, 6'4", 210 lbs., Junior


    Why he's good

    Duron Carter is the son of legendary NFL wideout Cris Carter, and he played very well at the high school and junior college levels. 

    He seems to have high potential, but there is nothing tangible to back it up.


    Why he's overrated

    Is he even part of the Alabama Crimson Tide anymore?

    Rumors have it that he's no longer a member of the squad, but nothing has been made official yet. But really, what has been official during his mess of a "career" at Alabama, with all his problems getting cleared academically?

    There's a few examples as to why he's overrated in my book.

    First, he made Phil Steele's preseason All-SEC list. A guy that hasn't played a snap of SEC football, who might not even be cleared to play, is predicted to make the All-SEC team?

    Now that's a bit overrated.

    Second, late in the 2011 season, I called in to a local radio show here in Huntsville, AL., called Cubelic and the Kid, during a segment they were doing about Heisman stuff in 2012. 

    These two are very knowledgeable about all sports, especially Alabama football. 

    But when I mentioned to them the potential of Alabama running back Eddie Lacy in the Heisman race, they said there's very little chance because Duron Carter will be getting all the hype on offense.

    Again, potential vs. production.

    Most Alabama fans have accepted that Carter will never suit up for a Crimson Tide football game, but there are still some that think he'll be better than his father, and that is overrated.

Jalston Fowler

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    Running Back, 6'1", 246 lbs., Junior.


    Why he's good

    Jalston Fowler is one powerful running back. He's tough to tackle purely due to his size. 

    Fowler adds a lot of depth to the Tide's running back corps, but he has a lot of potential playing fullback as well. You can bet Nick Saban and new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier are considering the possibilities.

    All the coaches have to do with Fowler is point him in a direction and shoot. 


    Why he's overrated 

    And point and shoot is all the coaches can do with Fowler.

    He's a pure downhill runner. He can run through linebackers and defensive backs to get some extra yardage, but if the hole isn't there then Fowler won't find it. 

    Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram could always make the cuts to find a new hole when the designated one didn't open up, and Fowler can't. 

    Fowler's running style also has a really big flaw. He is a large, top-heavy player, and the way he runs does not complement this. 

    When he is forced to make lateral movement, he is slow, cumbersome and easy to knock over. He makes his moves with his feet so close together, it looks like his shoelaces are tied together, sort of like an upside-down pyramid.

    A lot of Alabama fans are sold on Fowler, but Nick Saban kept him out of action plenty of times in 2011, despite the fact that No. 2 back Eddie Lacy was struggling with his turf toe. 

    Fowler had a lot of success in 2011, but it was against bad teams. He tore apart Kent State (69 yards on four carries) and Ole Miss (125 yards on nine carries).

    However, he struggled greatly against better teams, like Tennessee (27 yards on nine carries), Arkansas (11 yards on four carries) and Florida (19 yards on five carries). 

    Nick Saban didn't have the confidence in Fowler to play him in the Tide's four toughest games of the year, Penn State, Mississippi State (they held Alabama to their second lowest score of the season after the LSU games), and both matches against LSU.

    A lot of Alabama fans have come to love Fowler, and some have even compared him to former Wisconsin running back John Clay, but that comparison is, honestly, a disservice to Clay. 

    With a bit more coaching from the Tide's running back coach, Burton Burns, Fowler may develop into a great running back, but at the moment he's just a quality fullback that just happens to play running back at Alabama.