Lorenzo Washington didn't take the direct route from Loganville, Georgia, to atop the depth chart in Tuscaloosa, however.
He spent a year in prep school at Hargrave Military Academy, and another as a redshirt at Alabama. Last season was Washington's first significant playing time, and it was supposed to prepare him to step into a starting role for the upcoming season. But not without obstacles.
"In workouts in January I had a torn pectoral muscle," Washington said on Tuesday, the first time the redshirt sophomore has talked about his injury. "It's healed back, but it's still so newly healed that they're being precautionary about it. Even though it's hard on the D-Line now with me missing spring, it would definitely be harder missing some of the fall.
Washington has worn black throughout spring, indicating he be held out of full contact drills. With Bama's thin defensive line Washington is a must-have for the defense in the fall.
"This is about to be my fourth year of high school so basically it's my time," he said. "We've got three or four tackles coming in, and (redshirt freshman Bryan) Motley moving over (from offense). He had a great scrimmage this weekend. It's wide open. I'm going to keep working out and keep getting stronger throughout the summer, have a good fall camp and hopefully if it all works out I'll be their man."
Washington said he will be at full strength "way before" fall camp begins in August, and that he began doing bench press again two or three weeks ago (that's how he injured the pectoral muscle in the first place).
Washington wanted to set the record straight about his weight, too.
"I'm 285 pounds," he said. "I see people say I'm like 265 and 270, stuff like that. I'm really not that small. I'm the same size if not bigger than the other defensive linemen we have here. Playing defensive line is a little about size but a lot about want to."