So far the incoming defenders appear to be a talented lot.">
So far the incoming defenders appear to be a talented lot.">

New defenders impress

With NCAA sanctions limiting the number of new scholarshipped players, Alabama desperately needs not to "miss" on any athletes in recruiting. <br><br>So far the incoming defenders appear to be a talented lot.

(Above left) Defensive tackle Dominic Lee shows his agility. Big, strong and quick, Lee is getting a long look from the Tide coaches as one true freshman that could see game action this season.

Eric Gray was rated the top cornerback prospect in the state last recruiting season, and so far he hasn't disappointed. Described by some as "another Charlie Peprah," Gray nevertheless remains a probable redshirt due to Bama's depth in the secondary.

Shown stretching before practice begins, D.J. Chambers (#24) could contribute on either offense or defense. He's worked exclusively as a defensive back this fall.

Defensive end Keith Saunders (#94) jogs off the field, with linebacker Earnest Nance (left carrying shoulder pads) and offensive tackle Chris Capps (right in T-shirt) behind. The Tide coaches have been impressed with the athleticism of all three. Capps is seen as a prototype offensive tackle. At linebacker, Nance "will strike you," was how Joe Kines put it. And Coach Buddy Wyatt has been impressed by Saunders' ability to stay low and play the run. But at this point all three are probable redshirts.

Safety Eric Johnson takes a load off after practice as he waits to be interviewed. Johnson excelled at several sports in high school, helping his prep team to the state finals in track. He has excellent potential, but is a likely redshirt this season.

Just over 6-0 and weighing 205 pounds, Terrence Jones isn't the biggest linebacker on the field. But he has a knack for always being around the football. Coach Kines is looking for one more linebacker to play this fall, and Jones appears to have the edge right now.

Two talented defensive linemen have joined the squad as walk-ons this fall. Justin Johnson (#54) has earned praise from Wyatt for his power and athleticism. Rudy Griffin (#58) started at nose tackle for the Citadel last season. (That's Dominic Lee {#96} watching to the right.)

Demarcus Waldrop jogs off the practice field carrying his pads. Something of a 'tweener in size, Waldrop could project at either strong safety or weakside linebacker. During the summer the coaches talked to him about both positions, but during fall camp he's worked with the linebackers.

Probably the "steal" of this year's signing class, Wallace Gilberry has played well at defensive end--especially during scrimmage work. Some athletes are just "gamers," meaning they have the ability to step it up a notch on game days. Gilberry appears to be in that group.

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