Mild Surprises On Depth Chart

It's a good thing for Alabama sports junkies that the Crimson Tide almost always goes to a bowl game. That's because there are only two times a year that Bama owns up to use of a depth chart. One is prior to a bowl game. The other is before the first game of the season.

Alabama will host Kent State at 11:21 a.m. CDT Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

During his regular morning press briefing, Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban gave copies of a depth chart to sports reporters. Here is a look at the depth chart on defense and on special teams.

When Alabama had its unveiling of the pre-first game depth chart, the closest things to real surprises were on defense.

At left defensive end, Jesse Williams (6-4, 319) was listed ahead of fellow junior college transfer Quinton Dial (6-6, 294) and junior Undra Billingsley (6-2, 288), who were co-second team. Williams was also listed at nose tackle as co-second team with Nick Gentry (6-4, 278, senior) behind Josh Chapman (6-1, 310, senior).

Dequan Menzie (6-0, 198, senior) was listed first team at right cornerback ahead of last year's starter Dee Milliner (6-1, 196, soph), who was listed second team. John Fulton (6-0, 187, soph) was listed third.

There were co-first team players listed at weakside linebacker with Nico Johnson (6-3, 245, junior) and C.J. Mosley (6-2, 234, soph). Saban has pointed out in the past that Johnson is better at run-stopping, whereas Mosley has the athleticism to make big plays. Tana Patrick (6-3, 236 soph) was listed behind them at Will.

In addition to Cyrus Kouandjio at offensive left tackle and Phillip Ely at quarterback, true freshmen listed on the depth chart were No. 3 strong safety Vinnie Sunseri (6-0, 217); free safety Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix behind three others; co-second team middle linebacker Trey DePriest (6-2, 242); and co-second team jack linebacker Xzavier Dickson (6-3, 240).

Sunseri is behind strong safety starter Robert Lester (6-2, 210, junior) and back-up Jarrick Williams.

Clinton-Dix is behind Mark Barron (6-2, 218, senior) as starting safety and co-No. 2 safeties Will Lowery (5-10, 188, junior) and Nick Perry (6-1, 205, soph).

DePriest is listed co-second with Chris Jordan (6-3, 240, senior) behind Dont'a Hightower ((6-4, 260, junior).

Dickson is listed co-second with Adrian Hubbard (6-6, 237, redshirt freshman) behind Courtney Upshaw (6-2, 265, senior).

Damion Square (6-3, 285, junior) is the starter at right defensive end. Ed Stinson (6-1, 310, soph) is listed second.

Although he wasn't on the depth chart, Saban said another true freshman – 6-4, 272-pound Jeoffrey Pagan – might see playing time on the defensive line.

Jerrell Harris (6-3, 242, senior) is the number one strongside linebacker. (Saban noted that Harris also has the ability to go from that outside linebacker position, Sam, to the nickel linebacker spot, which is an inside position when Alabama shifts from its 3-4.) Alex Watkins (6-3, 240, senior), who is coming off a spring knee injury, and Adrian Hubbard (also listed at jack) are listed co-number two at Sam.

Dre Kirkpatrick (6-3, 192, junior) is back as the starting left cornerback. Phelon Jones (5-11, 199, senior) is listed as the back-up.

Junior Jeremy Shelley and sophomore Cade Foster were listed co-first team as placekicker on field goals and extra points, but that is expected to be because of a division of duties – Shelley kicking extra points and short field goals, Foster used on long field goals.

Foster is listed as the kickoff man with Shelley his back-up.

Cody Mandell, a sophomore who won the punting job last year, continues number one ahead of redshirt freshman Jay Williams.

The deep snapper is junior Carson Tinker, backed by senior Kelly Johnson. Quarterback A.J. McCarron is the holder with junior Hardie Buck listed as the back-up.

Senior Marquis Maze is listed as the punt return man (a job he had last year) and he'll be one of the deep backs on kickoff returns with sophomore Dee Milliner. Redshirt freshman DeAndrew White is listed as the back-up punt return man.

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