Defensive end/outside linebacker Chris Browder (6-4, 215) of Camden's Wilcox-Central High School failed to increase his standardized test score, meaning that he is still half a point short of qualifying.
In a phone conversation late last week with BamaMag.com, Browder revealed the bad news. "I made an 18, which validates my first score," Browder said. "But I'm just short of my goal."
At present he plans to take the ACT one more time.
Tall, athletic and extremely fast, Browder was considered one of the top prospects in Bama's 2002 signing class. He was believed capable of contributing early at outside linebacker but was thought more likely to bulk up to a prototype rush end.
If Browder can make a 19 on his next test attempt, he will be qualified and plans to enroll at The University in January of 2003, counting against the 2003 numbers. If not, Browder and the Tide coaches will reach an agreement on when he enrolls or whether beginning his college career in junior college might be best.
Browder reports that even if he fails to increase his ACT score, he would still be considered a partial qualifier. With that status, he could enroll at Alabama, but he would be required to sit out his first season. If he enrolled as a partial qualifier this January, then Browder would be eligible to compete in the fall of 2004. At that point he would have only three years of eligibility left, though he could "earn back" the fourth year by graduating on time.
On the other hand, if he enrolled immediately in junior college, then he would probably not be available to resign and play for the Tide until the 2005 season, at which point he'd normally have two years of eligibility left.
With NCAA sanctions limiting the Tide's ability to bring in scholarshipped players, getting every quality athlete qualified and enrolled in school will be crucial. At this point which path Browder will take is uncertain.
EDITOR'S NOTE: It's theoretically possible that Browder could enroll in junior college for the winter, 2003 term, accelerate his course work and graduate the summer of 2004, thus being eligible to resign and play for a Division 1A school for the fall of 2004. But given his academic history, that option would have to be considered an extreme long shot at best. Plus, upon graduation from junior college he would have to be "rerecruited" and there is no guarantee he would resign with Alabama.