Climbing out on the recruiting limb

As the seasons begins, <i></i> takes an early look at Crimson Tide recruiting, 2003. Today we break down backfield skill players on offense: quarterbacks and running backs.

PLEASE NOTE: In these segments we will attempt to examine this year's Tide recruiting picture position-by-position. But please keep in mind that this is only an assessment of players that our research indicates are being pursued by Alabama or that we believe will enter the picture before next February's Signing Day.

John Parker Wilson poses at last summer's Alabama camp.

This is not presented as a photo copy of anyone's recruiting board. There undoubtedly will be names left off our lists and athletes added later. Additionally, we may have a player listed above where he appears on Alabama's actual board, or we may rate a player significantly lower than Bama's coaches.

But with those caveats in mind, here is how we see things right now, based on our best foresight:

Quarterback, number to be signed: 1

The recent addition of Marc Guillon (transfer from Miami) gives the staff flexibility at this position. For example, they can have a quarterback in mind and then see what athlete (for example a defensive lineman) at another position becomes available. Then at that point the coaches would decide which player would be more valuable to the squad.

We believe that with 19 scholarships available, one of the free rides will be slated for quarterback.

Strong possibilities include:

  • Brian Brohm 6-3 200 4.65 Louisville, KY -- Trinity HS
  • Patrick Bryant 6-4 195 4.70 Pensacola, FL -- Catholic HS
  • Chris Nickson 6-1 195 4.85 Brundidge, AL -- Pike County HS
  • John Parker Wilson 6-2 185 4.50 Birmingham, AL -- Hoover HS
  • David Wolke 6-3 205 4.70 Smyrna, TN -- Smyrna HS

Peering through the thick September clouds, we predict: JOHN PARKER WILSON

Halfback/Fullback, number to be signed: 2-3

Aaron Johns waits his turn at the vertical jump during last summer's Bama camp.

Bama's current backfield has several talented runners, and the underclassmen returning next year are strong. Shaud Williams will be graduating, and that leaves a big hole that could be filled by a true freshman next year. Ray Hudson, Kenneth Darby, and Tim Castille (currently working at fullback) are three strong players, but in the SEC you need that fourth tailback to provide adequate depth in case of injury.

The Bama fullback position is anchored by Greg McLain and Le'Ron McClain. The possibility exists of moving Greg back to a defensive end or tight end and signing another fullback. The return of Nic Luke could factor in here as well.

We believe this year that one scholarship definitely will be used to sign a tailback and a second (and possible third) will be utilized on a fullback, slot back, or combo athlete.

Currently, the principal candidates include:

  • C.J. Barrows 6-3 195 4.50 Powder Springs, GA -- McEachern HS
  • Trey Brewer 5-11 224 4.55 Marietta, GA –- Osborne HS
  • Peyton Hillis 6-2 245 4.70 Conway, AR –- Conway HS
  • Aaron Johns 5-10 182 4.50 Thomasville, AL –- Thomasville HS
  • Reshard Langford 6-1 194 4.50 Athens, AL –- Tanner HS
  • Markus Manson 6-1 190 4.37 Tuscaloosa, AL –- Hillcrest HS
  • Max Martin 6-1 210 4.58 Madison, AL -- Bob Jones HS

Peering through the thick September clouds, we predict: MARKUS MANSON, tailback
AARON JOHNS, slot back
And MAX MARTIN, if he changes his mind, is a definite taker.
C.J. BARROWS will be considered at running back and on defense.

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