With the excitement that is currently going on in Alabama, it is no wonder why recruits wouldn't want to step on campus as early as possible. That is why a total of nine prospects from the 2013 class are going to sign up for the spring semester and become collegiate athletes earlier than the rest of the commitments.
Enrolling to school early will help these young players get a head start on what the expectations are as Alabama players and give them extra chances to impress the coaching staff. Some will see more playing time than others, but there is nothing bad that can come out of being one of the first rookies to step foot on campus.
With spring ball a few months away, here are some of the best 2013 commitments that will enroll early.
Alabama may already be set at the wide receiver position with Amari Cooper making a name for himself and Cyrus Jones on the roster, but a team has never complained about having too many solid receivers.
Raheem Falkins is anywhere from a 3- to a 4-star player, but he has a ton of upside at the receiver position. The first couple of things you notice about him are his height at 6'4" and his ability to catch everything that is thrown his way. The downside to Falkins is that he does not have that terrific speed to match his size. He isn't capable of hitting that second gear and may struggle to separate himself from some of the better defensive players in the SEC.
However, with his sure hands and ability to make those tough catches in traffic, Falkins could be one of the more underrated players of this 2013 class. Other recruits may receive more attention, but the receiver out of New Orleans should turn out to be very productive.
Alabama is going to lose three starting offensive linemen from last year. Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack are graduating, while D.J. Fluker has thrown his name into the hat for the NFL draft. The JUCO transfer may be the right tackles replacement starting next season.
Brown is a big guy at 6'6", 308 pounds and moves fairly well for somebody that large. He is best used in opening up holes in the running game, as he uses his strong lower body to help move defenders to the side. He could still use some work on his technique and his hand placement, but he has a lot of upside on the offensive line.
With the offensive front such an area of concern heading into the 2013 season, having Brown get a head start can only help his chances to see early playing time in the beginning of the year.
Cooper Bateman won't get a chance to start as long as A.J. McCarron continues to throw the football the way he did last season. The 4-star recruit will, however, be able to show Crimson Tide fans why the future is bright at the quarterback position and why he deserves to be given the keys to the offense starting in 2014.
Bateman is a quarterback who has great height at 6'3", and is more of your typical pocket passer. He does move around in the pocket well and has slightly better athleticism than McCarron, but is more known for his delivery and pinpoint accuracy. The quarterback recruit out of Salt Lake City also has sound footwork and above-average arm strength.
The quarterback position is set for now, but Bateman should be considered the front-runner when the current starter graduates in a year.
Derrick Henry is likely considered the top running back prospect depending on where you look. And at 6'3", 245 pounds, he deserves all of the stars that recruiting services are giving him.
As mentioned in the video, he reminds us a lot of Trent Richardson with his physical style of running. But he is more than just a tough-nosed runner that is hard to bring down, as he has underrated speed and enough lateral quickness to be considered a complete runner. He has no problem either running you over or bouncing it to the outside when nothing is there.
Alabama fans should also be excited about Henry, considering he is the most productive high school running back of all time.
Whether Eddie Lacy leaves for the NFL or not, Henry should receive a fair amount of carries in 2013, providing Alabama with another terrific backfield.
Alabama seems to have playmakers everywhere on the offensive side of the ball except for the tight end position. Michael Williams was a terrific blocker, but not much of a threat in the passing game. Even if he was, he has graduated and can no longer be used to bully defensive linemen.
This is where O.J. Howard comes into play, as he is considered a 5-star recruit by most recruiting websites. He has a massive frame at 6'6", 225 pounds and has a 40-time in the 4.49 range. Needless to say, he gets down field in a hurry and, with his sure hands, Howard does a wonderful job of catching the ball.
He isn't the strongest guy in the world and won't help in the blocking department much, but he is an athletic player who provides another weapon for quarterback A.J. McCarron.
The top tight end recruit from Prattville, Ala. is a true receiving threat who helps out Alabama in a position of need. It is great news that he is getting a head start by enrolling early, as he will likely be used often during the 2013 season.