Grayshirts Suit Up

With the first semester of classes officially over Friday at Alabama, quarterback John Parker Wilson and offensive tackle Drew Davis suited up in Crimson Tide gear for the first time for Saturday morning's two-a-day practice.

"I think it's going to be real beneficial," Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said. "We'll get work with them this week and then that will help the for spring ball, and obviously spring ball will help them as they just get into their freshman year."

Wilson, 6-2, 215 pounds, said the fall helped him add about 20 pounds to his frame.

"It was exciting to watch John Parker," Shula said. "I thought he threw the ball real well in individual (drills). He's got a long way to go with getting all the things done team wise."

Wilson said he took six or seven repetitions during 7-on-7 passing drills, and a large amount of work in team periods.

"The coaches were just trying to get me into it, and it will back down after today," he said. "They were just trying to get me back into it and see what I can do."

"I was just trying to find somebody with a white jersey to throw it to," he said.

Davis said he is up 10-12 pounds over the fall to 285.

Wilson and Davis are pioneers of sorts, as the first players to grayshirt at Alabama. The two signed in February of this year, agreeing to delay their full-time enrollment until the following January in order to maintain their full allotment of eligibility.

Wilson and Davis have not been strangers around the program since they signed, however. Both moved to Tuscaloosa and took classes part-time to get a jump on the academic side of their careers, and both men have also been at practice most every day, but only to watch. That ended Friday.

"We walked in at about four o'clock (Friday) – I guess practice started at about 3:45," Wilson said. "Well, I thought it started at 4:30. We walked in and Coach Shula says ‘that will be the last day you come in late.'"

Their workouts could not as a part of the team either, so they helped each other. And in the spring, Wilson will have to adjust his timing from Davis' routes to something a bit more faster.

"I couldn't imagine doing it by myself," Davis said of the grayshirting experience. "I had somebody there to spot me, somebody there to talk to. It was a long wait, but it looked like it was going to be longer. It actually went by pretty quick."

Wilson had several athletics career options out of Hoover High School in 2004. He turned down offers to play professional baseball, opting to come to Alabama and attempt to be a two-sport athlete. Wilson does intend to play baseball at Alabama, but he said football takes priority.

"I guess we'll just see what happens," Wilson said about juggling both sports in the spring. "I haven't really talked to Coach Wells. I talked to Coach Rader. Football's paying my way so they've got the priority."

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