On The Bubble - Class of 2005 Academic Update

The Alabama coaching staff knew when they received 33 signatures in February for the class of 2005 a few might not qualify academically. The Tide staff was aiming for the magical number of 25 scholarship players ready for fall practice. How do the players on the bubble look now?

A few of the 2005 signees would have hoped for a better outcome. A few would prefer not sweating out the NCAA Clearinghouse. The Alabama nation would prefer not sweating the outcome of Mike Ford, Roy Upchurch, Prince Hall, Antonio Forbes, Michael Ricks, Sam Burnthall and Desmond Jennings. For a few of these football stars, the horizon is beginning to look brighter, but for others a dark cloud is hovering.

In the past two weeks, these seven borderline signees have updated us on their current academic situation. A few are moving to Tuscaloosa in July. Some are hoping for one more chance on the ACT, and one is still in high school hoping to elevate his GPA. Only time and the NCAA Clearinghouse will tell, but there's no doubt these signees have worked hard over the past several months in hopes of being a part of the Crimson Tide family in the fall.

Mike Ford

Mike Ford

Mike Ford, from Sarasota High School, was considered the second best running back in the state of Florida (behind Antone Smith), and he led the state in rushing with over 2,800 yards. In the beginning, it was almost certain Ford would head to a junior college or prep school. Ford stayed focused in the classroom and has made great strides, but he is not exactly where he needs to be. He has scored an 18 on his ACT, but his GPA is not as high as he had hoped. He will retake the ACT June 11th. If Ford qualifies, he will enroll in July. He is scheduled to room with Roy Upchurch.

Roy Upchurch

The day of Roy Upchurch's announcement of his commitment was a great day for Alabama football fans across the nation. His announcement brought over 1,500 fans to the BamaMag.com message boards to await the good news from the Godby High School star running back. Upchurch turned it up a notch during his senior year in high school, not only on the football field, but in the classroom as well. Last week, his mother informed us Roy was on his way to Tuscaloosa. Though the official word has not come from the NCAA Clearinghouse, Upchurch is expected in Tuscaloosa in July. He has achieved his desired GPA and has scored an 18 on his ACT. He will retake the ACT June 11, after spending two hours daily with a tutor prepping for the test. He wants to increase his test score to allow some breathing room with the NCAA Clearinghouse. 

Antonio Forbes

Antonio Forbes, from Meadowcreek High School, had a lot of work to do in the classroom in order to qualify academically. The quick as a cat defensive end needed to drastically increase his core GPA. In a recent interview Forbes stated, "I am coming to prove everyone wrong. I am qualified and nobody thought I would be." Forbes claims he does not have to take the ACT or SAT again, and he will move to Tuscaloosa in July. It's best to hear the final word from the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Prince Hall

Prince Hall, from Moreno Valley High School in California, is happy school is still in session. Tuesday night, Prince Hall informed us he

Prince Hall

needed 20 additional points on his SAT to become eligible. He will take the SAT test this weekend. Hall may not have to worry about the SAT if he can improve his grades in the classroom in the closing days of school. He has about three weeks left to do just that. Currently, he is holding 2 A's, 1 B, and 1 D. He claims if he can improve to 3 A's and 1 C, he will become eligible without the increased SAT score. Hall says he is close, and believes 'with all his heart' he will move to Tuscaloosa in July. He is scheduled to room with Ali Sharrief. When asked about a junior college Hall replied, "I haven't even talked to any of them. I am not interested in talking to them because I am going to Alabama."

Michael Ricks

Michael Ricks, from R.A. Hubbard High School, is studying night and day for his last attempt on the ACT. His last score of 16 is one point shy of what needs. He claims a score of 17 is the magic number for him to become eligible. Unlike a few of the other "bubble" signees, Ricks has been in touch with several junior colleges. Ricks informed us he will attend Northeast Mississippi Community College if he does not academically qualify. This week he is in Mobile practicing for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game scheduled for Saturday night at 7pm.. Ricks is scheduled to room at Alabama with Jimmy Johns.

Sam Burnthall

Sam Burnthall, from Decatur High School, is sitting back with a big grin on his face. On his latest ACT attempt, he nailed a score of 20. Burnthall informed us Wednesday night he would move to Tuscaloosa in July. When asked about a possible 'shirt' Burnthall said, "The coaches have told me I will probably grey-shirt or red-shirt. They are not sure what they will do yet." Burnthall stated he is ready to get to Tuscaloosa. He is working out daily and is currently 6-2, 197.

Desmond Jennings

One of the biggest surprise commitments of the 2005 signing class was superstar, Desmond Jennings from Pinson Valley High School. He was runner up to Mr.Football, an All-State basketball selection, and is a potential first round draft pick in this month's Major League Baseball draft. Jennings is almost certain not to qualify academically. He plans to see how high he goes in the baseball draft before he makes any decision about his future. If Jennings decides against baseball, he will enroll at Itawamba Community College in Mississippi.

As with all 2005 signees, the NCAA Clearinghouse will have the final word, and we'll have that word right here. Stay Tuned...

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