Eyes On Youngsters

Although Alabama football practice officially begins August 9 (after players report the day before), all returning players are already on campus working out. And with the beginning of the second semester of sumnmer school this week, so are a number of newcomers. The new men have been noticed.

Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle was bragging about being the biggest he's ever been. "Two eleven, maybe 212," the 6-2 senior said. He was among a handful of Crimson Tide players who met briefly with sportswriters this week to discuss summer workouts and the upcoming season.

Croyle was asked if he had met either of the incoming freshmen quarterbacks.

"Jimmy Johns," Croyle said. "His shoulder is a little banged up, but he is an impressive looking specimen. I wish I looked like that. I'm 22 and he's 18 and he's got the mature body."

Johns, an incoming freshman from Brookhaven, Mississippi, is 6-2, 225. Although he injured his shoulder in the Alabama-Mississippi High School All-Star Game, Johns is expected to be ready to go this fall.

"He always wants to go watch film," Croyle said. "He wants to learn. That's the kind of thing I like to hear. He has really come in here wanting to work."

Halfback Kenneth Darby has met three incoming freshman running backs–Roy Upchurch, 6-0, 207, of Tallahassee, Florida; Glen Coffee, 6-0, 207, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida; and Ali Sharrief, 5-10, 190, of Stevenson.

"They seem like they are on the right track and have their heads on straight," Darby said. "I heard they were working out hard, although I haven't seen them. I heard LéRon (fullback LéRon McClain) was coaching them up in pass skel work."

Defensive end Wallace Gilberry has also been impressed. "I've seen Roy Upchurch, and he looks good. Jimmy Johns really looks like an athlete. (Defensive linemen) Frandon Fanney (6-5, 270, Morreistown, Tennessee) and Lorenzo Washington (6-4, 265, Loganville, Georgia) look like they can be good ones."

Gilberry said, "They look good. They seem to have level heads. I had heard a lot about all of them when they were being recruited. But we need to get them out there to see if they can play, get them out there on the practice field so they can improve."

Defensive tackle Jeremy Clark has been watching the new defensive linemen. "I've watched Walton (Byron Walton, 6-4, 298, Trinity), Washington, Fanney, and Deaderick (Brandon Deaderick, 6-4, 230, Elizabethton, Kentucky)," Clark said. "They are in good shape and they are working hard. I'm anxious to see what they bring to the table."

BamaMag Top Stories