With the 2008 season coming fast, the Crimson Tide prepare for a tough schedule, with games on the road against Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU and Clemson in Atlanta.
Alabama's success will be built on locking down at least two of these games. Clemson in Week 1 will be a huge task, with young talent and a Clemson team picked by most to be the best in the ACC.
Coming off of a great recruiting class from top to bottom, Alabama hopes they can add some competition with the youth. Players that normally only come in every few years at Alabama were in abundance in this last class. Names that come to mind over the years are Andre Smith and Rolando McClain.
With the 2008 class, Alabama brings in names that meet those same expectations like Julio Jones, Burton Scott, Mark Barron, Tyler Love, Jerrell Harris, Alonzo Lawerence and Star Jackson along with many more. A few of these players will be asked to make immediate impacts.
Whether it is lack of depth like the LB position or sheer talent level difference like WR, these freshman will have the opportunity to make impacts.
Here are two players to watch as they step into playmaking roles:
Justin Woodall (6-foot-2, 224 pounds, Safety)
This four star recruit is a very talented player. With the size and athletic ability to make an impact, look for Woodall to fill the role. Watch for Mark Barron to get a look at starting his career at safety. Barron could fill a void behind both Woodall and Rashad Johnson.
Darius Hanks (6-foot, 190 pounds, Wide Receiver)
Hanks might not start for the Crimson Tide with Nikita Stover, Mike McCoy and Earl Alexander battling, as well as Julio showing up on June 1, but he will be asked to make an impact at the slot position. Hanks is a versatile WR who will produce well in the slot. He will also have to fight off true freshman Burton Scott and Chris Jackson for playing time as well.
With Alabama continuing to build depth and adding size to a defense who has played nearly every game undersized, look for the Crimson Tide to go 8-3 this year. I see Alabama losing games to Georgia, Auburn and either Clemson or LSU.
The recruits will continue to come and soon the Crimson Tide will be fielding some of the best players in the SEC and hopefully one of the best teams in the country.