Looking At Fall Camp Roster

A ritual of the start of fall football camp is sports reporters going over the reporting roster. A team may have 105 for practice, including the maximum of 85 scholarshipped players and no more than 25 on initial scholarships. Once fall classes begin (August 22 at Alabama) the roster may be expanded.

The Alabama roster given to reporters Thursday was titled "105" but had 110 names. And it was missing a couple of 2007 signees. In addition to tailback Jamar Taylor, who entered last January, went through an impressive spring training, and then transferred during the summer for "personal reasons," two expected signees are not in camp.

Coach Nick Saban said that Kerry Murphy, a defensive tackle from Hoover who was considered the state's number one prospect, would be attending a prep school (announced elsewhere as Hargrave Military in Virginia). He said that Michael Ricks, a defensive back from Courtland who has been in junior college in Mississippi, had failed to qualify for participation with the Alabama football team. Although Saban left the door slightly ajar for Ricks' return, he said Ricks is not currently in Bama's future plans.

Saban further cleared up the matter. when he announced that four players had been removed from the team because of injury (wide receivers Tyrone Prothro, Aaron McDaniel, and Jake Jones, and defensive tackle Byron Walton) and that one incoming freshman, defensive tackle Nick Gentry, is recovering from shoulder surgery and will join the team after classes begin.

Thus, only 20 of Bama's 24 signees from last year are on the squad.

The most notable absentee was senior wide receiver Jonathan Lowe, who made a splash in the A-Day Game as a kick return man. Saban said that Lowe had academic issues and could rejoin the team later.

There is one new scholarshipped member of the team. Saban announced that senior linebacker Darren Mustin had been placed on scholarship. The coach said that Bama is below the 85 limit on scholarshipped players and that there could be others added.

A school may award a scholarship to a walk-on player who has been on campus at least two years. Mustin transferred to Alabama from Middle Tennessee State prior to the 2005 season.

Saban derided the term "grayshirt" and pointed out that two incoming freshmen linemen who had previously been expected to wait until January to enter The University are on the fall camp roster. William Vlachos of Mountain Brook and Patrick Crump of Hoover are practicing.

Saban said that when he recruits and signs players, it is his intention to bring them in for fall camp. Crump and Vlachos had been committed by the previous Bama coaching staff. Saban also said that sometimes it is expedient for a player to delay entry.

Saban indicated his staff has a plan for what he called "preferred walk-on" players. He said that Alabama's academic reputation and football tradition makes Bama attractive. Among those incoming freshmen non-scholarshipped players on the roster of 105 include familiar names:

Wide receiver Kyle Pennington of Chatom Washington County, linebacker and Michael DeJohn of Hoover, and linebacker/defensive lineman of Dora.

There are two new non-scholarshipped quarterbacks on the roster, both from Georgia, including one listed as a transfer from Boston College. Ross Applegate is a 6-5, 197-pounder from Marietta, listed as a transfer from Boston College. Thomas Darrah is a 6-5, 190-pounder from Newnan.

Other new freshmen names not on Bama's signee list include placekicker Colin Gallagher of Atlanta, snapper Paul Silvey from Prattville, and wide receiver A.J. Walker of Huntsville.

Note: This story originally listed Chavis Williams as a preferred walk-on. He is actually a 2007 signee on scholarship.

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