"Things are going good, real good," he told BamaMag.com before spring break. "I'm not surprised, because I've worked hard for spring." ">
"Things are going good, real good," he told BamaMag.com before spring break. "I'm not surprised, because I've worked hard for spring." ">

Fulgham ready to step up to new role

Several Bama athletes have turned in good springs at the wide receiver position, but if anybody is ahead for the "most improved" designation, at this point it would probably be junior Dre Fulgham. <br><br>"Things are going good, real good," he told <I>BamaMag.com</I> before spring break. "I'm not surprised, because I've worked hard for spring."

Determined to make his mark on the playing field this year, Fulgham spent the recent winter months getting himself into peak condition. And his efforts are being noticed. "I've worked to have a good spring, and it's paying off for me," Fulgham said. "I just need to keep working hard to stay where I'm at. I think I've made a good name for myself in this offense, and I just want to keep it like that."

One of the better all-around athletes on the team, hardly a practice day has gone by without the Montevallo native making at least one acrobatic catch. Whether leaping high to grab a pass, reaching back behind his body to snag an errant throw--or a combination of both--Fulgham has stood out.

So far, Fulgham has had as good a spring as any Tide receiver.

Fulgham explained, "Those are the best catches. Those are the catches that get the crowd into it and really make a big name for yourself. They can boost your teammates. Boost the offensive line--and I really credit them for giving the quarterback time to give me a chance."

But how does he manage the spectacular receptions? "It's God-given talent--and work ethic. Catching a lot of balls every day. Concentration."

A rising junior, Fulgham was used mainly as a backup during the 2001 season. Competing in eight games, he caught two passes for 42 yards, including a long of 34 versus UTEP.

Assuming the upcoming NFL draft goes as predicted, the Tide will have two receivers selected. Former Bama starters Jason McAddley and Freddie Milons will get a chance to earn some money playing pro football, but their departure leaves behind a gaping hole at receiver.

"There's definitely an opportunity now," Fulgham said. "I was playing behind Jason McAddley, but now he's moved on. So I've got to fill his shoes. There is a system like that at every college. Play your role. Wait your turn.

"But you've got to show what you can do when you get your chance."

When he was signed by Alabama in 1998, Fulgham was generally considered the top receiving prospect in the state. He had 40 receptions for 800 yards, averaging 20.7 yards per catch his senior year of high school. Those numbers included 16 touchdown catches.

During practice Tyler Watts (#14) looks for Fulgham who has become one of his favorite targets this spring.

Now, after two years at Alabama, Fulgham is frankly itching to step up. "It's definitely time," he stated firmly. "A different year, a different role. I'm just ready to see what happens.

"This year I'm more of a go-to guy instead of just coming off the bench to give another guy a blow in a game. I'm happy with that role right now."

In Alabama's only scrimmage so far this spring, Fulgham led all receivers with 41 yards on four receptions, including a touchdown.

The Tide returns to the practice field Tuesday for two more weeks of work, and Fulgham's goal is to finish what he has started. "Personally I need to work at being more consistent. I want to stay consistent all the way through and just try to finish up strong after spring break."

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