Chambers leaves team

<i>BamaMag.com</i> confirmed today that true freshman D.J. Chambers has left the Tide football team and withdrawn from school.

Head Football Coach Mike Shula confirmed the information following Tuesday's practice. According to Shula Chambers gave no specific reason for leaving. At this point there is no indication that Chambers intends to re-enroll at The University at a later date, or if he did, that his scholarship would still be available.

A 6-0, 180-pound athlete, D.J. Chambers helped Highland Home High School to a 10-2 record last season, rushing for 711 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also had 389 yards receiving and eight TD receptions. Chambers was named Alabama's 2A "Back of the Year." On defense, he had six interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.

If Brooks Daniels returns, it would bolster Bama's scholarship numbers in 2004.

Chambers had some difficulty getting declared eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse, but eventually those concerns were cleared up.

While at Alabama Chambers worked exclusively at cornerback.

In truth it's completely normal for a football team to lose one or two players every calendar year. It happens commonly to every school, including Alabama. But the Tide coaches have often pointed out that due to the terms of Alabama's NCAA probation, limiting attrition among existing scholarshipped players must be a top priority.

Chambers' departure drops Alabama's total scholarship numbers to 77. That total includes a scholarship recently awarded to former walk-on Josh Smith (confirmed by Running Backs Coach Sparky Woods).

Seventeen seniors are expected to use up their eligibility this season. Listed in order by jersey number, they include Dre Fulgham, Derrick Pope, Roberto McBride, Charles Jones, Shaud Williams, David Scott, Lance Taylor, Leslie Williams, Nick Ridings, Matt Lomax, Dennis Alexander, Atlas Herrion, Zach Fletcher, Brandon Greer, Triandos Luke, Nautyn McKay-Loescher and Donald Clarke.

Three players currently listed as seniors could leave or they could return next year. A Mechanical Engineering major, Smith is an excellent student who could decide to forgo his final season of football. Antonio Carter will apply for a sixth year from the NCAA, due to a leg injury. Anthony Bryant was a partial qualifier when he signed and technically a senior in 2003, but if he can graduate before the start of next season he will "earn back" his fourth year.

Cornelius Wortham definitely plans to use this year as his redshirt, returning to action in 2004.

Former Tide linebacker Brooks Daniels is not currently enrolled and so not on the team. But he has told friends and Bama's coaches that he wants to enter The University this January with an eye toward playing his final season in 2004.

Current seniors Cornelius Wortham and Antonio Carter both want to return next season.

Of course the Tide intends to sign 19 players as part of this year's recruiting class.

Seventy-seven players now, minus 17 departing seniors, plus Brooks Daniels and plus the 19 new players arriving in August would yield a "best case math scenario" of 80 scholarshipped players next fall, the maximum allowed Alabama under terms of its probation.

Of course depending on the status of players like Daniels, Carter, Smith and Bryant, that number could be lower. But given the severity of Bama's NCAA sanctions, just the realistic hope that its squad size might legitimately approach 80 athletes is good news.

That best-case number assumes no early departures for the NFL and no further attrition, such as what just occurred with D.J. Chambers--an almost impossible hope, realistically speaking.


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