Alabama commit unshaken by torn ACL

Alabama has another highly-ranked class of recruits coming in the class of 2013, and the staff is looking to add a few more players to round it out heading into signing day in February. The first current commit to pull the trigger for the Tide, Bradley Bozeman, will be one to keep an eye on down the stretch as he begins rehab for a torn ACL suffered on Friday night.

On June 8, 2011, Alabama football reeled in its first commitment in the class of 2013 when Bradley Bozeman pulled the trigger on the heels of a camp in Tuscaloosa. The coaching staff then cited work ethic and progress as the reason his scholarship would remain on the table.

15 months later, and it's that same work ethic that has the 6-foot-5, 318-pounder optimistic about his future despite suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on Friday night while helping Roanoke (Ala.) Handley High defeat Dallas County (Ala.) High, 53-0.

Said Bozeman of the way it happened, "We were on punt-safe and it was a bad snap on the punt. I went after the ball, planted on my left foot and cut back. It was a cut I made a million times, but this time it didn't come out good. It twisted and it popped."

"They got me to the sidelines and checked my knee, they said it may be a hyper-extension….if you feel good go back out there," he continued. "It felt good; I stretched it and went back out there. I was out there for two series, and on the second series it popped again."

Bozeman was then held out for the rest of the game. He rested some over the weekend before doctors revealed the news to him. Though the ACL is in-fact torn, the stout offensive lineman has felt little to no pain since the injury occurred.

"I'm still walking fine, there's no pain at all – it's just torn," he said. "There's barely any swelling on it, and no pain at all. They're saying my leg muscles are so developed and that they're compensating for my ACL and it's just holding it in place really firm.

"It's a good thing I worked my but off this summer, it's paying off."

The three-star prospect worked with noted Birmingham trainer Jack Eyer, who has trained several Alabama high school prospects in the past. His work ethic allowed him to get stronger than ever and though tough, it set a new foundation for what he can achieve when healthy.

"I'm blessed to get where I am, I know this is just a bump in the road," said Bozeman. "It's a hurdle that God is throwing at me, he wouldn't throw anything at me that I couldn't achieve and conquer.

"I'll have to bust my butt again to get back where I was, and I'm willing to do that. I'm ready to get the surgery over with, start rehab and get back right."

Surgery is scheduled for September 25.

In the meantime, Bozeman hasn't has any worry about his scholarship offer from the defending BCS champions.

"I already talked to Coach [Jeff] Staoutland and Coach [Bobby] Williams. They recommended my doctor, even," he said. "They said ‘it happens to the best of us, but you get through it and we know your work ethic and that you'll bust your but to get back to where you were.'

"It's great, the staff at Alabama believes in me and they know I'll do what it takes to be back."

Bozeman's confidence in the offer goes back to that summer day when he pulled the trigger and met with Nick Saban.

"Coach Saban told me the first time I committed; he said ‘if you get hurt and can't play again, we'll honor your scholarship because you've putting the work that you needed to get where you're at,'" he said. "He told me right off the bat that even if I get hurt, I still get a scholarship."

With his future seemingly squared away for now, Bozeman plans on cheering on his teammates and do anything he can to help Handley High out in between his rehab.

"I want to be a leader on the sidelines just like I lead on the field," he said.

With a positive perspective throughout the process and realization of a 6-8 month recovery plan in place, it's the lineman's spiritual faith and faith in Alabama that have helped the most.

Said Bozeman, "Just knowing that God's got a plan for me. Knowing something good is going to come out of this. It's ‘Bama all the way. Other schools have realized that I'm ‘Bama bound. They're just great, really. I'll be there this weekend (against Ole Miss)."

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