Breaking down linebacker recruiting

Depending on injuries and what Brooks Daniels decides, Alabama could have to replace three linebacking spots at one time occupied by starters. Speedy defenders capable of playing both the run and pass will again be a recruiting priority.

Linebackers, expected to sign: 1-2

Many fans have fears of replacing the likes of Derrick Pope and Cornelius Wortham next year, but the possible return of Brooks Daniels to the Tide squad could go a long way toward removing the nervous condition.

Curtis Dawson defends the pass. Given his frame and body type, many predict Dawson will end up on the defensive line.

Current sophomore starters Demeco Ryans and Freddie Roach have the look of all-stars. Plus, young players like Terrence Jones, Earnest Nance, Demarcus Waldrop and Juwan Garth are talented enough to fill the voids.

However, the size of some of the back-ups makes fans wonder if they're big enough. The same questions were raised a few years back when Alabama signed a couple of linebackers named Daniels and Wortham that at the time were fast but lacked size.

There will be some interest at linebacker this year and we feel that the staff will definitely sign one athlete with two being possible, depending on who is available.

Here is a look at the principal backer prospects under consideration:

  • Tony Bell 6-3 215 4.50 Alabaster, AL - Thompson
  • Larico Crumpton 6-4 210 4.60 Columbiana, AL - Shelby County
  • Curtis Dawson 6-1 255 4.70 Birmingham, AL - Hoover
  • Marquis Elston 6-0 210 4.60 Anniston, AL - Anniston
  • Lee Foliaki 6-3 225 4.50 El Dorado, KS - Butler County C. C.
  • Emmanuel Frederick 6-3 245 4.70 Morristown, TN - Hamblen West
  • Steve Gandy 6-1 190 4.40 Waynesboro, MS - Wayne County
  • Kris Guyton 6-3 210 4.58 Tuscaloosa, AL - Hillcrest
  • Terrance Higgins 6-1 219 4.56 Birmingham, AL - Tarrant
  • Vonzell Jackson 6-2 215 4.70 Aliceville, AL - Aliceville
  • Jazz Johnson 6-2 245 4.60 Gadsden, AL - Litchfield
  • Andrew Jones 5-11 225 4.68 Adamsville, AL - Minor
  • E.J. Kuale 6-2 225 4.60 Dodge City, KS - Dodge City C. C.
  • JeBron Manson 5-10 215 4.60 Tuscaloosa, AL - Hillcrest
  • Boston McConnell 6-1 225 4.60 Macon, GA - Northeast
  • Jake Wingo 6-1 205 4.62 Tuscaloosa, AL - Hillcrest

Bama has recently made up ground with Tony Bell.

Using our best September cloud-piercing radar, we fearlessly predict:

CURTIS DAWSON as one definite signee.

Other options:

If Tony Bell chose the Tide, he would be taken.

Steve Gandy, and Boston McConnell could also throw monkey wrenches into the numbers and force adjustments to be made.

Elston, Guyton, Higgins, Jackson and Johnson are being watched very closely. A standout senior year from any of the five could merit an offer.

Capable of playing offense or defense, Crumpton is an intriguing athlete.

The athleticism of Foliaki and Kuale raise interesting questions and might figure in the mix.

Boston McConnell

NOTE: If our predictions sound less than definite, there's a good reason for that. Beyond Dawson, who at this point appears to be a sure thing, Alabama is keeping its options open.

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.

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.

Read all of the recent recruiting stories on Alabama recruits from

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