A year ago Alabama’s offense added its second graduate transfer player when Richard Mullaney followed Jacob Coker to Alabama to finish up his career. Coker had two years remaining when he arrived prior to the 2014 season, and was outstanding in his second year in leading Alabama to the Southeastern Conference and national championships in 2015.
Mullaney joined the Crimson Tide for his final season last year, earned the starting job as the slot receiver, and contributed 38 receptions (tied with O.J. Howard for third behind Calvin Ridley and ArDarius Stewart) for 390 yards and five touchdowns (second only to Ridley who had seven).
Mullaney’s on-the-field performance was not the end of his contribution to the Bama offense, though. He was also instrumental in Alabama adding a graduate transfer receiver for this season.
Gehrig Dieter, a 6-3, 207-pound receiver from Bowling Green University in Ohio, is now competing for a spot with Alabama’s talented receiving corps.
In his first meeting with reporters at Alabama Media Day Sunday, Dieter said, “What Richard did last year was one of the biggest reasons I came here after talking to him, and him sharing his positive experience with me. I felt positive if I came here I might match that, or even do a little better.”
Dieter was an All-MAC player at Bowling Green last year with 94 receptions for 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns as his team won the conference championship. And Dieter didn’t just do it against MAC teams. In Bowling Green’s season-opener last year at Tennessee he had seven catches for 133 yards and a touchdown. It was one of three 100-yard receiving games for the South Bend, Ind., native.
A number of factors led to Dieter electing to use the graduate transfer option to move to Alabama. In addition to Mullaney and his parents, he said he discussed the possibility “with a bunch of people.” And he had to break the news to his Bowling Green teammates and coaches.
He said, “I have been through a transfer once because I transferred from SMU to Bowling Green. It was different. I was only at SMU one year and at Bowling Green for three years. Having a relationship with all those guys; they were all positive about it, not negative. It was like if they were in my shoes they would have done the same thing. I had nothing but positive things to say about them and how they treated me.
“Things fell into place and I’m here now and I’m happy about it.”
He said Alabama didn’t have to do a big selling job on him. “It’s Alabama,” he said. “That and seeing what Mullaney did. He did the same thing I did and had a positive experience doing it. I mean, won a national championship. That’s kind of the goal right there.”
He doesn’t try to compare himself to Mullaney. “I didn’t watch his tapes, just saw him when we looked at (last year’s Alabama game) film. I don’t want to say I could be compared to him, because it’s hard to compare two different guys. I might be a little bigger.”
He also doesn’t know where he might play in Alabama’s offense. The receivers rotate at every position in workouts.
Dieter arrived in Tuscaloosa in the summer. He said, “It has been a great experience so far. These guys are like brothers already. Coaching staff has been great. Strength staff has been great. It has been a great experience so far. I’m looking forward to the season.”
He thinks that his experieence can be a positive for Bama. “We have a pretty young group,” he said. “A little older than last year, but still young. Experience is the biggest thi,ng for me. I have played three years of college football already, and coming into my fourth I feel like I know the game really well and feel comfortable at any position.”
What do you add?
“I think my experience. We have a pretty young group. A little older than last year, but still. Experience is the biggest thing for me. I have played three years of college football already, and coming into my fourth I feel like I know the game really well and feel comfortable at any position.”
He likes what he has seen from his receiving teammates. He said, “We have probably some of the best receivers in the country – Calvin, ArDarius, Cam (Sims), Rob (Foster) – our depth is just crazy to me to come in here and see what kind of talent these guys have and how hard they work every single day and how committed they are to the process. It has been a joy to see.”
He said the Alabama offense is “definitely different” than what he has been in. “It is a lot more NFL-based and pro style, so getting used to that was hard at first, but having all those reps over the summer and getting into fall camp has really been a positive experience. Here we do everything. I feel good with it. It has been fund to run different routes and have different rules.
“The experience of running all the routes and doing all the things we do as receivers and especially here going against the best defensive backs in the nation every day will make me a better player.”
96 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE
Alabama coaches have not suggested where he might play. Dieter said, “They didn’t mention that. It was come in here and compete for a spot, no matter where it is. It’s going to be somewhere. Just come in and compete with these guys over the summer and fall camp. It’s been a lot of fun. These guys are some of the most talented guys I’ve ever been around. They are so much better than anyone I’ve ever been around and it’s been fun to compete with them.”