Newcomers report: Defense

As the first "official" event of fall practice, Sunday the new members of the Tide squad reported to campus. In all, 20 athletes checked in at the Football Complex, including nine players slated for defense.


MARK ANDERSON: 6-6, 215, OLB/TE, Tulsa, OK, Washington HS. Anderson is a versatile athlete that could end up at either tight end or defensive end for the Tide. With only one proven tight end currently on the squad (Terry Jones), if Anderson plays as a true freshman, he'll likely get a long look on offense. But most predict that the Tulsa native will bulk up during a redshirt year and end up at defensive end. A native of Oklahoma (like Chris Thurmond, Bama's cornerbacks coach), Anderson says Thurmond and Alabama's tradition cemented his decision on where to attend school.

A two-way player for Tulsa's Booker T. Washington, Mark played for coach Antwain Jimmerson. As a defensive player, he made 104 tackles and 9 QB sacks his senior season as the Hornets went 11-2. He also caught 9 passes, 3 for TD's. In one game on defense, he had 2 blocked punts, 3 sacks and 20 tackles. He was team captain and was an All-Metro and Big-12 Prep pick. He chose the Tide over TCU, Tulsa, and Oklahoma. State. Anderson reports a best forty time of 4.5.


TODD BATES: 6-4, 220, OLB/DE, Heflin, Cleburn County HS. Having enrolled in school early to begin working out with his new teammates, Bates has gotten a bit of a jump some of the other newcomers. Bates is a classic example of how projections based on junior-year evaluations are notoriously unreliable. He came on strong during his senior year to end up rated as one of the top prospects in the state. He ended up being named the top lineman in his division and ranked on the Tuscaloosa News Sweet 16 list. Bates played linebacker in college, but his frame has most projecting him at defensive end on the college level.

Cleburne County defensive end Todd Bates Bates, who is considered one of the state's top ten prospects by several services, picked Alabama over NC State. This past season he was selected the state's Class 4A Lineman of the Year after making over 100 tackles. CCHS Coach Mike Short SHort says Bates reminds him of former Tide All-American defensive end Eric Curry. "He has the frame to be 260 or 270 pounds in college," Short says. Todd didn't get a lot of preseason publicity but, as a senior, he accounted for 119 tackles, 12 sacks, 5 fumbles caused, 5 fumbles recovered, and 3 interceptions. On offense, Bates caught ten passes for 191 yards and 2 TD's as a TE. Todd chose the Tide over Tennessee, Auburn and North Carolina State.


ROMAN HARPER: 6-1, 180, CB/FS, Prattville, Prattville HS. Harper only arrived on campus minutes before the media event this afternoon, but he's anxious to get started with the season. Harper says the Tide coaches are talking to him about beginning at cornerback. Family ties (Roman has a brother that plays for Troy State) delayed his decision for a time, but in the end Harper recognized Alabama's need for help at defensive back and chose to sign with the Tide. As the best athlete on his high school team, Harper saw most of his prep action on the offensive side of the ball. But the Bama coaches project Harper at either corner or safety on the college level. He's another taller/bigger/faster athlete expected to shore up the Tide secondary.

Prattville defensive back Roman Harper played quarterback and free safety his senior season. On defense, he finished the season with 58 tackles and four interceptions in limited playing time on defense. Harper broke his leg his senior year. As a quarterback, he accounted for over 800 yards of offense and 13 touchdowns. He was an All-County, All-Metro, and Birmingham News All-State pick. Prattville finished 9-2 on the season. Harper was offensive MVP for the Lions and was also voted team captain.


TERSHEIKIYA 'JUKE' KING: 6-2, 205, SS/OLB, Theodore, Theodore HS. Depending on his conditioning and how quickly he picks up the defensive schemes, there is a reasonable chance that King could earn some playing time as a true freshman. King came on the recruiting scene late, but frankly the Tide coaches loved his combination of athleticism, speed, size (he has the frame to easily add weight) and intelligence. Expect him to start at safety before possibly moving to outside linebacker as he "grows" into his frame.

Tersheikiya 'Juke' King played free safety at Theodore, where he returned two interceptions for touchdowns. The Bobcats went 11-1 on the season, losing in the second round of the state playoffs. He earned All-Region honors and was a team captain. Juke led Theodore with 80 tackles during his senior season and 4 interceptions. He also played basketball and ran on the Bobcats' 4X100 meter relay, turning in a 43.8 clocking, the fastest freshman time in state history. He was an All-Region pick by the Mobile Press Register. Juke chose the Tide over West Virginia, Louisville, Southern Miss, & Alabama A&M.


ANTHONY MADISON: 5-9, 180, CB, Thomasville, Thomasville HS. Falling just short of a qualifying test score, Madison will enter school as a "partial" meaning he must sit out his first year on campus. Madison says his speed and strength are probably his greatest assets for defense. Considered by most to be the top "cover corner" in the state, Madison is expected to get a chance early at cornerback. His height (only 5-9) is a disadvantage, but he's very strong and should be able to make up in muscle what he lacks in inches.

During his high school career, Madison played quarterback, wide receiver, running back, defensive back and returned kicks for Thomasville head coach Stacy Luker. His career stats include 14 interceptions and over 4,000 yards of offense. Madison is expected to play cornerback at Alabama. Anthony benches 270 and squats 600. He was a three-year team captain and a two-time All-State pick. He once had over 400 all-purpose yards in a game, scoring 5 touchdowns. He was also selected All-State in basketball. Anthony chose the Tide over Ole Miss and Auburn.


CHARLIE PEPRAH: 5-11, 184, FS, Plano, Texas, Plano East HS. It didn't take the assembled writers long to pick out a favorite among the incoming freshmen; Charlie Peprah is a highly intelligent young man with an engaging personality that makes him a media favorite. Despite the fact that he spent most of his senior year playing on offense, Charlie Peprah was considered one of the top defensive back prospects in the state of Texas. Coach Fran and Coach Torbush both prefer taller defensive backs, and Peprah fits that bill. Plus, as a first-generation immigrant from Ghana (his family was forced to flee political violence), Peprah is very intelligent. The fleet athlete was impressed with Alabama on his visit, but he's undoubtedly another whose commitment can be chalked up to a respect for the new coaching staff.

As a sophomore, Charlie Peprah was named the Sophomore of the Year in one of the toughest districts in the state of Texas. As a prep senior, he was used primarily at tailback, where he rushed for 925 and nine touchdowns on 95 carries. He had six games of over 100 yards rushing and had 1,500 all-purpose yards. He also had 487 yards receiving. As a junior, he tied for the team lead in interceptions with four while getting. 121 tackles. Peprah has the size, speed and athletic ability to play safety or cornerback on the college level. He selected Alabama over Kansas State, Arizona State, Tulane and Arkansas.


FREDDIE ROACH: 6-2, 225, MLB, Killen, Brooks HS. Roach has been on campus for several weeks, enrolling early to get a jump on things and work out with his new teammates. A versatile athlete in high school, many predict that Roach will be the Tide's middle linebacker of the future. With the frame to add plenty of muscle and very good speed, Roach could be the answer to Alabama's problems on the inside. Coach Franchione made special mention of the talented linebacker on signing day, and many close to the football program expect Roach to see action as a true freshman.

This past season Roach rushed for 1,277 yards and 18 TDs. He had 194 tackles, including 23 stops behind the line and caused six fumbles. Freddie was rated the No. 2 linebacker in the state. Her was a two-time All-State pick and was the American General "Back of the Year" as a senior. His half brother is Tim Bowens, a former Alabama wide receiver. He had 155 tackles, 4 blocked kicks, 12 sacks, 1082 yards rushing and 15 TD's as a junior; 158 tackles, 6 blocked kicks, and 14 rushing TD's as a sophomore. Roach, who helped his team to an 11-2 record his senior year, rushed for over 3000 career yards, had over 500 career tackles and 11 blocked kicks. He chose the Tide over South Carolina, Auburn, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.



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