Dirty Dozen Trimmed to Ten

In August, we wrote a story predicting the "Dirty Dozen" true freshman who woud be most likely to get their jerseys dirty on the field for Alabama this season.Ten of the 12 projected to play in 2005 actually took the field at some point this year.

One player, running back Roy Upchurch, was injured between the time of the original story on August 26th and Alabama's season opener on September 3rd, and did not play this seaon.

Linebacker Prince Hall, who was No. 12 on our list of most likely freshmen to play and given an 85% chance of hitting the field, redshirted and will be vying for a starting position when spring football comes up just around the corner.

So, feeling good about our accuracy rate, and with the regular season over and only a January 2nd bowl game remaining for the Crimson Tide team, here is a look at what the youngsters contributed and how much experience they gained throughout the course of the year.

John Parker Wilson, QB
Most people will laugh at the claim that Alabama's fourth-quarter touchdown drive against Auburn was significant in any way (believe me, I have tried), but Wilson isn't one of them. He got a short glimpse of what it will be like in live SEC action a year from now as the likely successor to Croyle. For the first time since his senior year of high school in 2003, he was available for live tackling against a top-level SEC defense that wanted him on the ground in the worst way. Wilson finished the regular season with 40 total snaps in five games. He was presumed suspended after his arrest on Oct. 16, a note that he will have to live with in the coming years. On the field, Wilson was 7-for-11 passing with 98 yards and two TD passes. He also had a TD run against Auburn. The season marked a humble, yet valuable and productive beginning for Wilson.

Jimmy Johns, HB
Jimmy Johns was too good not to be playing somewhere on the field for Alabama. He moved to tailback where he was Alabama's second-leading rusher this year. He had 183 yards on 35 rush attempts, playing in all 11 games. Johns lined up for one play at quarterback against LSU, where he ran quarterback sweep for a gain of 13 yards. He also played on kickoff and kickoff return at times during the year. Johns totaled 118 snaps on the season. What Johns' future position is will be ironed out with more discussion, perhaps experimentation, during the off-season. But playing in big-time SEC games will be "old hat" for Johns next year.

Chris Keys, S
Keys did not play football his senior year of high school in 2004. The layoff was noticeable, but the Alabama staff felt Keys gave the Tide a gifted special teams player and a potential backup at safety had one of the Tide's multi-year starters at safety gone down during the course of the year. Bama's defense stayed healthy, though, and most of Keys' playing time this season has been on special teams. He has five tackles and one fumble recovery. He has the chance to earn a starting spot at either of the safety positions (and perhaps as a linebacker) in the spring.

Marlon Davis, RG
Alabama couldn't have done it without Marlon Davis this year. Because of injuries to guards B.J. Stabler and Mark Sanders, Davis played 47 plays against Middle Tennessee in the season opener and started against Southern Miss in the second game of the year. Stabler, the redshirt freshman, regained the starting role when he regained his health and Davis went out with an ankle injury. Davis played later in the year, too, against Utah State and Mississippi State. In total, Davis logged 87 plays on the season and he should be a candidate for playing/starting time in the near future.

Glen Coffee, HB
Coffee was a regular in the Crimson Tide offense, most often spelling Kenneth Darby at tailback. Coffee played in every game and had 48 carries for 179 yards. Coffee also gave Alabama somewhat of a receiving threat out of the backfield with 8 receptions for 91 yards. His most memorable play was one that came up about 10 yards short of the destination in the final play of regulation against Ole Miss. After trick play was disrupted, Coffee took a short pass from Croyle and turned it up 40 yards down to the LSU 10 as time expired in regulation of the 16-13 LSU overtime win. Coffee had a total of 132 snaps on the regular season.

Travis McCall, TE
McCall had one of the quietest years among true freshmen, making a layman's post-season evaluation of his play difficult. But his 272 snaps on the season, more than any other true freshman to play, show he must have been doing something right on the blocking front. McCall played in every game and was used mostly to help the Tide's offensive line block. He had 2 catches for a total of 21 yards on the year, and he also played on special teams for Alabama.

Charles Hoke, TE Hoke was widely considered more of a pass-catching threat than McCall, and he was the target of a Croyle pass into the end zone against LSU that was covered well. Because injuries decimated the tight end position, Bama wanted to get as many tight ends early experience as possible. The good news is the position stayed untouched by injury this season. That meant Hoke saw just 23 snaps on the year, however.

Bobby Greenwood, DE
He wasn't a surprise to himself, but the surprise of the year to many Tide football followers was the play of defensive end Bobby Greenwood. Many had chalked Greenwood up to a redshirt season, but Bama defensive coordinator Joe Kines said Greenwood was the freshman defensive lineman who has stood out the most in fall camp, and then Greenwood showed out on the field. He had 144 snaps on the season, playing in every game. He averaged a tackle every 10 snaps, and had 4.5 tackles for loss, including 3 sacks, as well as 5 quarterback hurries and one pass batted down. Greenwood is one of the most exciting prospects for Alabama's defense in the coming year.

Lionel Mitchell, CB
Lionel Mitchell played 40 plays on the season before missing the year with a head injury that has only been described as headaches. Mitchell played five, seven, 18, five and five plays respectively in the Tide's first five games. His injury/condition is not thought to be career-threatening.

Cory Reamer, S
Reamer had shown potential as a safety, but was looking like a potential difference-maker on special teams before his season was ended prematurely after just five weeks. His playing time had increased each week, and he played a season-high 16 snaps (of 40 on the season) against Florida. It was in practice after the Florida game, however, that Reamer tore his ACL knee ligament and underwent surgery. His injury was season-ending, but he is expected to be back and vying for a spot on the defense in the spring.

Freshmen Redshirts:
Eryk Anders, LB
Jimmy Barnes, QB
Evan Cardwell, C (through Auburn game)
Drew Davis, OT
Brandon Deaderick, DE
Scott Deaton, OL
Brandon Fanney, DE
Prince Hall, LB
Baron Huber, LB/DE
Michael Johnson, OT
Chris Rogers, CB
Zach Schreiber, LB
Ali Sharrief, HB
Roy Upchurch, HB
Byron Walton, DT
Lorenzo Washington, DE

Non-freshman (scholarshipped) Redshirts:
Trent Davidsion, TE
Aaron Johns, HB
Travis Robinson, CB

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