6 Under-the-Radar Alabama Players Who Will Shine in Spring A-Day Game
Spring practices and scrimmages are taking place all across the country. But all eyes will be on Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday April 20 for the Crimson Tide's annual spring A-Day game.
Everyone will be trying to catch a glimpse of the product head coach Nick Saban will put on the field in 2013.
Fans and opposing scouts know what to expect from AJ McCarron, T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper. Their attention will be on the crop of new players and players that have had limited roles up to this point.
Here we predict six under-the-radar players that will shine in the A-Day game.
Denzel Devall, LB
Devall was a role player in every game for Alabama last season. He contributed as a true freshman and earned an increased role as the season progressed.
This spring, with Nico Johnson graduating and Trey DePriest on the sidelines with a broken foot, Devall will find more of the defensive workload falling on his shoulders.
Senior linebacker C.J. Mosley has taken notice of the sophomore's effort this spring. He said Devall reminds him of former Alabama star Courtney Upshaw (via AL.com.
Devall is ready to step in and contribute in a positive way, and the A-Day game will be his first step toward appearing in the starting lineup.
Kenyan Drake, RB
Drake saw all of his carries during the second halves and fourth quarters of Alabama's blowouts last year. But the freshman running back made the most of his opportunities.
He scored five touchdowns on 42 carries, accumulating 281 yards in the process.
This year, with Eddie Lacy leaving for the NFL, Drake is competing to join the first-team rotation of running backs.
His speed and elusiveness provide the Tide with a different style runner than its usual ground-and-pound back.
He should get most of the second-team touches in the A-Day game and will make the most of them, much like he did in 2012.
Alec Morris, QB
Morris has not seen the field during his short career at Alabama; the team chose to redshirt him last season and use Blake Sims as the backup for McCarron.
But Morris can compete now and will look to capitalize on his opportunity to spell McCarron in 2013.
He gives the Tide a traditional-style passer, rather than the read-option offense that surrounds Sims.
At 6'3", 230 pounds, Morris is the tall presence in the pocket that every teams wants.
With the weapons at receiver that seem to have overtaken Tuscaloosa, Morris will have a tough time not succeeding in the A-Day game.
Jeoffrey Pagan, DL
Pagan was another a contributor on last year's team, playing in all 14 games. But with the departures of Jesse Williams, Damion Square and Quinton Dial, he will be facing an increased workload in 2013.
As the leader on the defensive line next season, Pagan is working extra hard to elevate his game, as well as make sure the younger players are doing their jobs right. He's also expanding his knowledge, which should result in a big-time performance in the A-Day game.
Geno Smith, DB
Smith saw his minutes increase as the season advanced last year. He stepped in and meshed well with the secondary, a unit that is losing Dee Milliner and Robert Lester.
Smith will now have to step up and fill the void left by Milliner, who is destined to be a top pick in this year's NFL draft. With Deion Belue's inconsistency in coverage and John Fulton on the sideline because of a toe injury, Smith could possibly be the best cornerback on Alabama's roster.
He has shown he can keep up with receiver down the field, and he will use that talent to shut down his teammates on Saturday.
DeAndrew White, WR
White shined during several games last season before a knee injury ended his promising sophomore year. And then it was like his contributions were forgotten because of the tremendous play of his fellow receivers.
Now he has to climb back from the injury and reclaim his spot in the starting lineup.
But he is not off to a bad start in doing that this spring. In Alabama's first scrimmage, White recorded seven catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns, according to The Crimson White.
He will look to continue to be a favorite target for McCarron and pull in catch after catch in the A-Day game.
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