"Bring all My Mules Out Here..." Ronnie Van Zant, Lynyrd Skynyrd
Of 85 scholarship players for the University of Alabama, 70 of them have been rated 4 or 5 star recruits by Scout or Rivals. For you actuary types, that is 82 percent. I thought about listing all 70 of them here as a surefire way to whip Bama Nation into a preseason frenzy, but it occurred to me that it would be WAY funnier to list the 15 or so players who weren't that highly rated. Let's start with 3* recruit Marcel Dareus. Or has he earned the right to be introduced as "BCS National Championship Game Defensive MVP, Marcel Dareus." You remember him from January 7th, right? Putting the kill shot on Colt McCoy on Texas' first offensive series. Intercepting a pass just before halftime, applying the stiff-arm, doing a spin move and stopping to shoot his American Idol audition tape before walking into the end zone for what, I believe, was the deciding score.
Howze about these guys:
1. Greg McElroy- Still undefeated in high school and college. Sporting a National Championship ring on his left hand.
2. William Vlachos- My personal belief is that he is the best center in the SEC. In last year's SEC Championship game he executed the shotgun snap perfectly and REPEATEDLY beat Brandon Spikes to the corner to seal the inside for Richardson and Ingram.
3. Marquis Maze-A consistent deep threat and not half bad running a reverse. Marquis makes 'em pay for double teaming Julio or crowding the line to stop the running game. A 3 year contributor.
4. Darius Hanks- Another 3 year contributor. Precision routes, great hands and concentration. If he gets his hands on it...
5. Brad Smelley- Came on late in his freshman year. He blocks, he gets open, he catches the ball in key situations and he moves the chains. You can't expect too much more from an H-Back.
6. Preston Dial- I really like Preston Dial. Another 3 year contributor. Only caught 4 passes last year but recently was quoted as saying "as long as we're winning, I'm fine with it." Caught 5 passes in Bama's first Spring Scrimmage.
7. Damion Square- Got playing time on the DL as a true freshman until he went down with a season ending knee injury. Has already rehabbed to the point that he is participating in Spring Drills and is reportedly pushing for a starting spot over Senior Luther Davis. Folks, that is a high motor.
8. Brian Motley- Where would Bama be without Brian Motley? He has stepped in and raised the level of competition of his teammates at NT, OG and Center. In today's scrimmage he played a few snaps at free safety. Nah, I'm kidding.
9. Anthony Steen- On nobody's radar out of high school. A freshman, he is presently running 2nd team for Joe Pendry's offensive line. Reportedly benches in the high fives.
10. Chance Warmack- Made his college decision early and showed up on campus early. I met this young man, along with most of the other recruits, in the players room before the 2008 Iron Bowl. (One of these days I'll tell ya'll a story about how many cookies DJ Fluker can hold between his thumb and middle finger. Roughly 20-25) Humble and serious, he may as well just wear a shirt that says "future all SEC Guard." A road grader of the first degree.
Nick Saban has turned Alabama football into an absolute freak show. He likes to say that a teams success is somewhat dependent (I'm paraphrasing) on the bottom 40 players on the roster. First of all, Nick is overstating it just a tad but some of those guys listed above are in Alabama's bottom 40. The scarier part is that they are accompanied by a truckload of 4* players who are working hard, being coached by some of the best and being brought along by a bunch of teammates who are playing as one, and have accomplished the highest goal in this sport. If it weren't for 6 consecutive bye week SEC opponents this year, I'm not sure it would even be close.
P. S. I'm aware that a couple of these guys were awarded late stars