Signees & projected roles, part 2

With several signees already on campus and virtually all the rest scheduled to arrive for the start of second summer term, now is a good time to break down the list. <br><br>Who's eligible; who's not? What position will the new players work this fall? And what are their chances of redshirting?

Chauncey Malone

Position this fall: Cornerback (JUCO)

The pride of West Morgan High School, Malone is seen as an ideal cover corner in college. But Bama fans will have to wait at least two years to see him in action, as Malone will begin at a junior college.

Greg McLain

Position this fall: Strongside Linebacker

"Moose" McLain will start at linebacker.

More than any of the other incoming players, McLain's beginning position has been the subject of endless speculation. Tight end (where he played in the All-Star game)? Fullback? Middle Linebacker? Or maybe even defensive tackle? McLain is a certainly versatile athlete (though probably not that versatile), but Coach Franchione expects him to begin at linebacker.

Long-term, Franchione suspects "the Moose" will end up on the defensive line, making a redshirt year this season probable.

Earnest Nance

Position this fall: Strongside Linebacker

Though Nance starred on offense and defense in high school, the Courtland native is expected to play linebacker at Alabama. The question mark surrounding Nance is when he will report. Nance suffered a serious ACL injury his senior year, and Tide coaches are going to be very careful about pushing him too quickly.

Whether he reports with this group in August or waits to enroll until January will depend mainly on his rehab. However, the NCAA-mandated limit of 17 new players this fall could render the question moot, pushing Nance's enrollment date until January of 2003.

Derrick Pope

Position this fall: Middle Linebacker

Pope is already enrolled at Alabama.

The junior-college All-America linebacker is already on campus and working out voluntarily with his teammates. Reports are that Pope is every bit as impressive in person as on film, and the coaches are frankly anxious for fall practice to arrive to see what he can do.

Pope could easily handle either strongside or middle linebacker, but expect him to be listed on the inside at ‘Mike' when two-a-days begin.

Ramzee Robinson

Position this fall: Cornerback

Robinson also played well in Saturday's victory over the Mississippi All-Stars. Though he really wasn't challenged much, he showed good speed and very good instincts at cornerback. Like his good friend Ken Darby, Robinson would prefer to play right away. And after perusing the Bama depth chart he's reportedly asked Franchione to give him an early look at receiver.

But cornerback is his targeted position, and a redshirt year for ‘Bino' is most likely in the offing.

Titus Ryan

Position this fall: Running Back/Receiver (JUCO)

Unfortunately, Ryan will begin his career in junior college.

A blisteringly fast athlete with tremendous raw athletic ability, Ryan will unfortunately begin his college career on the junior-college level. He has said he plans to graduate early and resign with Alabama with three years of eligibility left, but Tide fans will be happy if he has a normal JUCO career and returns to his home-town school to finish college. Frankly, at this point opinions on whether running back or receiver is his best football position are divided.

Demeco Ryans

Position this fall: Strongside Linebacker

A late growth spurt and outstanding play in the All-Star game have Tide fans talking about Ryans at middle linebacker. Certainly the Bessemer native could end up on the inside, but expect him to begin his Alabama career at strongside linebacker. Ryans is a talented player and very smart as well, but barring injuries he'll likely redshirt in 2002.

David Scott

Position this fall: Cornerback

Scott will work at cornerback.

College coaches sign junior-college athletes with the intent of playing them right away, and certainly David Scott is no exception. The former North Carolina player is already in Tuscaloosa, working out voluntarily with his new teammates.

Coach Torbush is obviously familiar with his abilities and what he can do, and Scott is expected to be the final piece of the playing rotation at cornerback.

Henry Smith

Position this fall: Defensive Tackle (JUCO)

Alabama's coaches really like Smith's potential as an inside player on the defensive line, but they'll have to wait two years for his debut in Crimson. Said by many scouts to be the best defensive tackle prospect in the state last year, Smith will begin his career in junior college.

Kyle Tatum

Position this fall: Defensive End

Tatum is still growing into his 6-6 frame.

Tatum starred in high school at defensive end, but most experts predict he'll play on the inside at Alabama. Like Clark and Harris, Tatum played well on the defensive line in Saturday's All-Star game, showing good speed and tenacity.

But he'll definitely benefit from a year in the weight room to add bulk to his 6-6 frame, so a redshirt year is likely.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Coach Franchione has a policy of allowing incoming players to select their starting position--though obviously with input from the coaching staff.


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