Crimson Alert: 10 Under-the-Radar Players Who Could Shine for Alabama in
Following a 2010 BCS National Championship and another top-five recruiting class, Nick Saban is obviously not lacking in the talent department.
Alabama's explosive offense will be led by Heisman-winning running back Mark Ingram and his "partner in crime" Trent Richardson.
The Crimson Tide also have a dynamic receiver in Julio Jones, who is almost impossible to bring down if he catches the ball.
Although Alabama's defense will only be returning one starter from last season (Mark Barron), some people believe that the 2010 squad has a chance to be even better.
The Tide's front seven will be led by monstrous defensive end Marcell Dareus and a hungry Dont'a Hightower at linebacker, who will be dying to get back on the field. The secondary will be anchored by Barron, the First Team All-SEC safety.
All of the players named are players that are sure to have a huge impact on Alabama's success in 2010, but what about the guys you don't know so much about?
Here are 10 under-the-radar players who will have a larger impact than you might expect.
Early in the spring, there were rumors swirling around that receiver Brandon Gibson, like Kendall Kelly, was moved to the defensive secondary due to the depth at the WR position.
Gibson put most of those rumors to rest in the Spring Game, in which he hauled in eight receptions for 142 yards, including the game-winning touchdown.
If Gibson can continue to play the way he did at "A-Day," expect him to compete with Darius Hanks for snaps as the No. 3 receiver.
Coming out of high school in 2007, defensive end Luther Davis was one of the best the players at his position and was considered a huge commitment when Saban stole him from LSU.
Davis has only played sparingly in his first three seasons at Alabama, but that is expected to change in 2010.
(Info from Franklin Crittenden)
At 6'3", 299 lbs., Davis not only has great size to stop the run in the 3-4 defense, but he also possesses a quick 4.8 40-yard dash, making him a pass-rushing threat.
Eddie Lacy enters the 2010 season overshadowed by Alabama's two workhorse running backs, Ingram and Richardson, but as Roy Upchurch proved in 2009, the third-team running back can still have a big impact.
Lacy stands at 5'11", 210 lbs., and mixes his bruising running style well with his explosive 4.4 speed.
If Lacy doesn't end up getting many carries in the Tide's loaded backfield, do not be surprised to see him used on special teams.
Chris Jordan came to Alabama as a highly recruited running back, but in his freshman year he was moved to linebacker because of his stout 6'2", 220-lb. frame.
So far in his career at Alabama, Jordan has been used mainly on special teams, but he will be competing for playing time at linebacker in 2010.
During the Spring Game, Jordan started for the first team defense, in front of Nico Johnson, and impressed by calling most of the plays on defense.
If given more playing time, Jordan has the chance to contribute greatly to the Tide defense in 2010.
After a great performance during the spring, Chance Warmack is the man that is expected to take the reins of the left guard position after the graduation of All-SEC Mike Johnson.
Warmack has the necessary size, standing at 6'3", 300 lbs., and also has a longer wingspan than most players at his position, which will help him with pass protection.
The emergence of Warmack as a solid left guard will be a must not only for Greg McElroy, but also for the Tide's lethal rushing attack.
Although it took Kerry Murphy a while to get to Alabama, he is here and looks to have a bright future in Crimson.
At any other school, Murphy, a 6'4", 323-lb. nose tackle from Hoover, may have walked onto campus and become a four-year starter, but with "Mt. Cody" and Josh Chapman ahead of him at the position, he had a difficult time finding the field in 2009.
Now that Cody is gone, Murphy will have an expanded role looking to split playing time with the expected starter Chapman.
Cade Foster is not your everyday kicker. While at Southlake Carroll the 6'1", 215-lb. Foster starred not only as the Dragons' kicker, but also at middle linebacker.
Fans can talk all they want about Foster's ability to bench 375 lbs., squat 525, and clean 325, but at the end of the day no one is going to care about that if he doesn't make field goals.
As a senior, Foster had 68 touchbacks on 81 kicks. In the Spring Game, Foster had a couple of unimpressive kickoffs, but it was obvious that Foster's distance improved by the kick.
Kenny Bell surprised most of his home state in 2009 by spurning his commitment to LSU, and signing with Nick Saban and Alabama. Bell was redshirted in his first year on campus but could be called upon to make an impact in 2010.
At 6'1", 160 lbs., Bell has good size and quick feet, which could immediately give him a chance to contribute in the slot or in the return game.
In the Spring Game, Bell had three receptions for 37 yards and showed the burst to get yards after the catch.
Robert Lester committed to the Tide in the 2007 class, along with high school teammate Julio Jones. Although Lester was a Rivals four-star and one of the top safeties in the state, many people questioned his recruitment.
Most fans believed he was recruited to give Alabama the inside edge on the star receiver Jones, unsure if he would ever be able to contribute in Saban's defensive scheme.
As a redshirt freshman this past year, Lester only saw time in the secondary during blowouts, but he starred for Alabama's struggling kickoff coverage.
Lester, at 6'2", 210 lbs., was supposed to compete head-to-head with Robbie Green for the starting free safety job. Now, after Green's season-long suspension, Lester is expected to be starting in the defensive secondary by the time San Jose State comes into town.
In 2009, Colin Peek demonstrated how big of a value a receiving tight end can be in Alabama's offense.
Peek had 26 receptions for 313 yards and three touchdowns, but after Peek's graduation, the Crimson Tide will need another tight end that can step in and not only block but also catch passes.
At 6'6", 265 lbs., sophomore Michael Williams should be the guy who will replace Peek in 2010. Williams will probably have to beat out junior Brad Smelley for the starting spot, which he should be able to do because of his ability to be a complete tight end.
Williams saw minimal playing time last year but had an expanded role against Tennessee and LSU in the absence of Peek. In the two games combined, Williams hauled in three receptions for 29 yards.