New walk-ons in the 105 profiled

Along with the 16 scholarshipped players that reported August 4, nine walk-on athletes new to Alabama are a part of the 105-man early reporting roster.

# 17 Max Skembo

Max Skembo

Quarterback
5-11, 175
Richardson HS, Dallas, Texas

The number one rated decathlete in the state of Texas his senior year, Max Skembo is working at quarterback for the Tide. His specialty was the pole vault. Skembo would like to compete in both football and track and field at Alabama.

A Texas state wrestling champion in junior high, Skembo is obviously a fine all-around athlete.

Skembo played quarterback on a wishbone team in high school, accumulating 1,500 yards on the ground and 750 yards rushing. "We averaged about three passes a game," he said.

"I watched Coach Fran and his staff when they were at TCU," Skembo said. "I figured if they could turn that team into a Top 25 program then they can take Alabama to a national title."

# 28 Trevis O'Neal

Trevis O'Neal

Running Back
6-2, 225
Leeds HS, Leeds, Alabama

A power back who could project as a fullback in college, O'Neal is working at tailback for now. His senior year of high school, O'Neal pounded his way to 1,942 yards on 206 carries (9.43 yards per carry) with 20 Tds in just 12 games.

He has also played linebacker, though offense is his specialty. O'Neal didn't play much defense until late in his senior year, but he did manage 19 tackles in the second round of the playoffs against North Jackson. "The coaches told me they'd give me a shot at tailback," O'Neal said. "If everything goes right I hope to get a scholarship after my first season."

O'Neal was rated one of the top running backs in Alabama last recruiting season, but bad luck and some less-than-fully-honest college coaches left him without a scholarship from a major-college program. That prompted him to walk-on at Alabama, and he's hoping to get some payback on the football field. "I've got a little bit of a grudge against LSU and Southern Miss," O'Neal said. "We play them, so I'll eventually get a shot at them on the field."

# 37 Grant Nailen

Grant Nailen

Cornerback
5-10, 170
Briarwood Christian HS, Birmingham, Alabama

Vertical jump: 33 inches

Coached by former Alabama All-American Jeremiah Castille in high school, Nailen is a tough, gritty competitor working at cornerback. In high school he averaged eight tackles per game as a senior (112 total), plus he snagged three interceptions. Nailen was a team captain and was awarded the Special Teams MVP at Briarwood Christian.

"Adjusting from high school to college is hard," Nailen said. "It's a very quick pace. This is definitely harder than high school football."

A three-year starter for Castille and Briarwood Christian, Nailen sports a 33-inch vertical jump. He turned down scholarship offers from Tennessee-Chattanooga and Army in order to walk on at Alabama.

"It's going great," Nailen said. "I love it out here. We're working hard and trying to improve every day."

# 46 Allen Long

Allen Long

Linebacker
6-2, 225
Addison HS, Winston, AL

Bench press: 335
Incline bench press: 285
Vertical jump: 29 inches
Hang clean: 305
Squat: 425

A four year star for one of the best Class 2A teams in the state his senior year, Long carried the Addison Bulldogs on his back and was still overlooked. He suffered a torn MCL during his junior year, but that injury is healed.

Long played with a vengeance his senior year, demonstrating a big determination to show no signs of the injury. He had 150 tackles at linebacker, and on offense he raced for 1,908 yards and 25 Tds. In all, he totaled 2,400 all-purpose yards with 27 Tds.

Long gave consideration to Samford and Murray State, but he chose to walk-on at Alabama. "This is where I'd like to play," he said. "I really like Coach Torbush. He's a great guy."

Long starred on offense and defense in high school, but he's working at outside linebacker at Alabama. "I just want to get on the field and play," he said. "I just want to contribute."

# 52 Taylor Britt

Taylor Britt

Defensive Tackle
6-4, 255
Cullman HS, Cullman, Alabama

Bench press: 440
Incline bench press: 385
Vertical jump: 30 inches
Hang clean: 300
Squat: 500

Britt originally signed with UAB out of high school as an defensive end/offensive lineman. He redshirted last season, growing taller and stronger during the year. Britt had a good showing in UAB's spring game and was expected to contribute this year. But he decided to join his older brother Wesley and walk-on at Alabama.

"It was a hard decision for me to make," Britt said. "My parents helped me out. It's better for me to be at Alabama. I was close to the UAB coaches, so it was a hard decision."

Taylor's older brother Wesley is the starting Quick Tackle for Alabama. "I'm ready for the challenge (of competing against Wesley)," Taylor said. "I've gone against him some in practice. It's like hitting a wall."

NCAA rules regulating transfers dictate that Britt must sit out this season. He'll be eligible in 2003 and will have three years of eligibility left.

# 62 Cody Grammer

Cody Grammer

Offensive Line
6-5, 245
Tuscaloosa County HS, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Bench press: 350
Incline bench press: 335
Vertical jump: 29 inches
Hang clean: 250
Squat: 525

A consistent and reliable center prospect who is very quick off the ball, Grammer shows an aggressive mentality blocking. Grammer graded around 80 percent blocking efficiency as a junior, but he increased that to 90 percent as a senior.

Grammer got a jump on college by enrolling in the first summer term. "I wanted to go ahead and get started," he said. "I wanted to get a jump on classes."

Grammer was offered a scholarship by Delta State and was also recruited by Arkansas, but walking on at Alabama was an easy choice. "I told them I wasn't interested," Grammer said. "I grew up an Alabama fan."

He's determined the make the most of his opportunity in being included in the 105. "I was pretty surprised to be named," he said. "I feel good having made it, and I'm ready to go."

# 79 J.P. Adams

J.P. Adams

Defensive End
6-4, 240
Tuscaloosa County HS, Northport, Alabama

Bench press: 290
Incline bench press: 265
Vertical jump: 25 inches
Hang clean: 285
Squat: 420

Adams was a second-team All West Alabama selection as a senior after he produced 40 tackles and eight sacks. Adams also played tight end in high school, coming in on short yardage and red zone situations, but he's working at defensive end at Alabama.

His father, James Adams, Jr., is the Dean of Social Work at the University of Alabama.

Adams had scholarship offers from Troy State and Jacksonville State, but chose to walk on at Alabama. "This is something I wanted to do for a long time," he said. "I turned down some other things to walk on here. I've wanted to do this since I was a kid."

Adams has held his own in the early going. "I see this as an opportunity," he said. "Good things will come if I work hard."

# 83 William Hold

William Hold

Wide Receiver
6-2, 180, 4.50
McAllen HS, Austin, Texas

Bench press: 260
Power clean: 245
Squat: 405

Hold, who has been clocked at 4.50 in the 40-yard dash, caught 18 passes as a senior for 360 yards and three Tds as a senior. That works out to an average of 20 yards per catch. "I always try to do my best," he said. "I'm not afraid to catch the ball over the middle."

Playing on a team that was short on talent (McCallum managed only a 3-7 record), Hold was listed as a standout player who made First Team All District at both wide receiver and free safety, during his final prep season. Earlier, he had made All District free safety as a junior.

He had offers from Trinity College and Abilene Christian, plus offers to walk on at Florida State, Clemson, and Northwestern. Hold decided on the Tide due to their need for wideouts. "I heard Alabama needed some wideouts," he said. "I'm a fan of college football, and it's an honor for me to be here."

"I followed Coach Fran's career from New Mexico to TCU," he said. "I expect great things from him here."

# 87 Jason Bolding

Jason Bolding

Wide Receiver
6-4, 205, 4.48
Cleveland HS, Simi Valley, California

Because of a knee injury, Bolding was overlooked by the West Coast schools during recruiting. He made the decision to walk on at Alabama, and the Tide coaches demonstrated their belief in his ability by adding him to the 105 roster. "I drove in last week," Bolding said. "I'm doing pretty well so far, getting used to the humidity and heat."

Bolding turned down offers from Northern Illinois, UNLV, San Diego State and Southeast Missouri State to walk on at Alabama. "I had talked to Coach Koenning some when he was out on the West Coast," Bolding said. "They like my size and my speed. I hope to earn a scholarship here."

Bolding had 38 receptions for 755 yards and seven touchdowns last season, competing for Moore Park Junior College in Moore Park, California. "I'm a go-up-and-get-the-ball type of receiver," Bolding said. "I'm not afraid to go over the middle."

"I always wanted to play in either the SEC or Pac-10," Bolding continued. "Alabama seemed like a good fit."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Seventeen veteran walk-ons reported last Wednesday, making 26 in all on the 105 roster. Approximately 25 more are expected to join fall practice when classes begin on August 21.


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