Tide watching MS lineman's progress

The Crimson Tide has already garnered a commitment from one offensive lineman from Laurel, Mississippi. But the Alabama coaches are also keeping an eye on Travis West's teammate, Royce Blackledge.

An underrated guard out of Northeast Jones High School, Blackledge (6-3, 270 pounds) was selected as his district's most valuable lineman as a junior. His coach attributes that accomplishment to both his ability and work ethic.

Blackledge is quick off the ball and stays with his block. His coach explained that he keeps a flat back when he makes contact, which is necessary for an interior lineman. According to his coach, Blackledge's technique alone should garner him several scholarship offers.

Ideally suited for guard, Blackledge recently tore a ligament in his ankle, but he has fought back and it has been a non-factor on the field. The big man also shows great speed, which allows him to play a reserve role on defense.

Travis West, Blackledge's high school teammate, has already committed to sign with Alabama.

A teammate of Travis West, who has already committed to the Tide, Blackledge has camped at Alabama, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Tennessee. "The Tide coaches told me that they are keeping a close eye on my progress this season," Blackledge said. "They like what they've seen so far."

Blackledge attended the recent Alabama/Southern Miss game on an unofficial visit. "I really enjoyed the trip," he said.

The Laurel, Mississippi native bench presses 330 pounds and squats 450. He reports a 4.0 GPA and has scored a 17 on the ACT.

Blackledge lists his favorite schools as Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU, Marshall, West Virginia and Tulane.

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