Alabama Football: Projecting Crimson Tide's Post-Spring Two-Deep Depth Chart

Marc Torrence@marctorrenceAlabama Lead WriterApril 21, 2015

Alabama Football: Projecting Crimson Tide's Post-Spring Two-Deep Depth Chart

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Spring is officially over, and the long march to August has begun.

    We learned a lot about the 2015 Alabama football team over this last month or so. Favorites emerged at some positions, while depth was created at others.

    Let’s take a look at where the Crimson Tide stand by taking a stab at the depth chart now that spring ball has wrapped up.

    Note: The depth chart does not include 2015 signees who were not on campus for spring practice.


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    Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

    QB: Jake Coker-David Cornwell/Cooper Bateman-Alec Morris-Blake Barnett

    Nick Saban said it’s been hard to establish continuity or chemistry on offense while rotating in five different quarterbacks. It would be easier if there were only two or three getting first-team reps.

    Alabama looks like it has narrowed its quarterback field down somewhat after A-Day and spring practice.

    In both its second scrimmage and the spring game, David Cornwell took the second-most reps among the quarterbacks behind Jake Coker. The redshirt freshman was the biggest mover of the group.

    Coker looks to be the de facto No. 1, but another shaky performance during fall camp could bump Cornwell up to starter status.

Running Back

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    RB: Derrick Henry/Kenyan Drake

    The question here isn’t who the top two are. That much is settled. It’s who comes next.

    Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake will make up as good a one-two punch as you’ll see in college football.

    Henry is a big bruiser who can get a head of steam in the open field. Drake is a lightning-rod speedster who is a threat to score on every play.

    But at No. 3 and beyond, the Crimson Tide have taken several hits this offseason with Altee Tenpenny transferring, Tyren Jones’ dismissal and Bo Scarbrough’s knee injury. They’ll likely have to turn to a true freshmen like DeSherrius Flowers or Damien Harris—or Scarbrough, if he can get healthy soon enough—to carry the load when Henry and Drake come out of the game.

Wide Receiver

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    WR (X): Robert Foster/Cam Sims

    WR (Z): ArDarius Stewart/Raheem Falkins

    WR (Y): Chris Black/Derek Kief

    TE: O.J. Howard/Ty Flournoy-Smith

    If Alabama thought replacing Amari Cooper would be a tall task, a lot of its fears were quelled on A-Day, when Robert Foster and ArDarius Stewart split the spring game’s MVP honors.

    The duo combined to catch 14 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns as their White team defeated the Crimson team on Saturday, 27-14.

    In the slot, veteran Chris Black should complete what will be a formidable but unproven duo to throw to in the SEC for whichever quarterback wins the starting job.

    Sophomore Cam Sims was supposed to be a major part of that group, too, but a torn ACL took him out of the mix for now and could do so well into the season.

    At tight end, it feels like every year we’re asking, “Will O.J. Howard have a breakout year?” The former 5-star recruit and physical specimen at tight end has mostly been relegated to a blocking role in Alabama’s offense.

    That could change this year.

    “O.J. had a really good spring, and I think (he) should have a really good year next year. I think some of the things that we’re doing offensively is, we’re not doing a lot that requires a big ol’ tight end to block in what I call the C-area or the tight end area beside the tackle. Part of the reason for that is we have more athletic tight ends and we don’t have a thumper right now.”

Offensive Line

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    Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

    LT: Cam Robinson/Brandon Greene

    LG: Ross Pierschbacher/Isaac Luatua

    C: Ryan Kelly/JC Hassenauer

    RG: Bradley Bozeman/Alphonse Taylor

    RT: Dominick Jackson/Korren Kirven

    The only preseason drama here will be where it was last season: at right guard.

    Bozeman has taken first-team reps there for most of the spring, but Taylor has taken reps there too, like he did last season behind Leon Brown.

    Otherwise, Saban has raved about the other starting four all spring.

    Robinson will be looking to build off a monstrous second season at left tackle. Pierschbacher took a redshirt last season and appears ready for a bigger role. Kelly will be the anchor of the group and a major leader on offense in general, and Dominick Jackson is ready to show what he can do after coming in as a JUCO transfer last season.

    Robinson and Kelly are the only two starters returning on offense overall, and the line may end up being one of the team’s strengths because of it.

Defensive Line

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    DE: Jonathan Allen-D.J. Pettway/Da’Shawn Hand

    DT: Jarran Reed-Darren Lake/Josh Frazier

    DE: A’Shawn Robinson-Dalvin Tomlinson/O.J. Smith

    Trying to put Alabama’s defensive linemen in any kind of order, especially near the top, is like trying to rank the old Rocky movies. They’re all so good.

    The bottom line is that Alabama will be really, really good up front on defense.

    Allen, Reed, Robinson and Pettway could all be early-round NFL draft picks by this time next year, while Tomlinson, Lake and Hand are hardly “backups.”

    Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart love to rotate bodies in up front, especially when they get a window to do so against a hurry-up offense. They should have plenty of opportunity to do that with how much talent they’ve stockpiled the last couple of years.


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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    JACK: Ryan Anderson/Tim Williams

    MIKE: Shaun Dion Hamilton/Reuben Foster

    WILL: Reggie Ragland/Dillon Lee

    SAM: Denzel Devall/Rashaan Evans-Christian Miller

    The lineups will vary based on the defensive package, but Alabama established a lot of depth at linebacker during spring practice.

    Reggie Ragland will be the beating heart of the unit, while Reuben Foster or Shaun Dion Hamilton will play next to him. Saban said that Hamilton has been starting in “regular,” while Foster plays in nickel.

    Either way, both have come along this offseason, developing two solid options opposite Ragland.

    Outside, Alabama’s linebackers have been able to get a little more work in with Denzel Devall sitting out for the spring. In particular, Tim Williams and Christian Miller closed out strong springs with big showings at A-Day. Like at defensive line, outside linebacker should be a position where Alabama can rotate in guys situationally.

    Dillon Lee has also played both inside and out depending on the situation.


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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    CB: Cyrus Jones/Marlon Humphrey-Anthony Averett

    CB: Tony Brown/Bradley Sylve

    SS: Eddie Jackson/Hootie Jones

    FS: Geno Smith/Ronnie Harrison

    STAR: Maurice Smith/Jabriel Washington

    Alabama’s big, successful position experiment this year may turn out to be in the secondary, where Eddie Jackson moved from cornerback to safety.

    The move served two purposes. First, it opened the door for Tony Brown to come in and essentially be the starter opposite Cyrus Jones, who missed the whole spring with a hip injury. And second, it gave Alabama depth at safety, a position where it needed some.

    A pleasant surprise has been Ronnie Harrison, a true freshman from Tallahassee who impressed after enrolling early in January. The players raved about him all spring, and he should have a role come fall.

    Like most places on defense, Alabama will do a lot of mixing and matching, especially at the safety spots. In Jackson, Hootie Jones, the two Smiths and Harrison, the Crimson Tide should be much-improved on the back end after a rough year a season ago.

Special Teams

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    K: Adam Griffith/Gunnar Raborn

    P: JK Scott/Adrian Lamothe

    KR/PR: Chris Black-Kenyan Drake/Anthony Averett-Marlon Humphrey

    Alabama is going to ride it out on special teams, for better or worse.

    At punter, it will almost assuredly be the former. JK Scott had a phenomenal freshman season, becoming a Ray Guy finalist in his first year in Tuscaloosa. He’s become somewhat of a cult hero in Tuscaloosa, the lanky kid from Colorado who can boom a punt 50 yards down the field with ease.

    Griffith has drawn some criticism at kicker, but he played last season with a stress fracture in his back and still went 12-for-19.

    He looked poised on Saturday, hitting two of his four attempts. That included makes from 49 and 28 yards and a miss from 53 when he slipped on the wet Bryant-Denny grass.

    The Crimson Tide have a wealth of speedsters they can send back to return kicks and punts. Chris Black would seem to be a favorite, while Marlon Humphrey was a track star in high school.

    Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes and reporting were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

    Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.


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