Punter decides to walk on

Lane Bearden has graduated and is right now hoping to get a shot at the NFL. So like it or not, Alabama must find a punter. <br><br>Hoover High School's Patrick Eades could be that man.

Head Coach Mike Price revealed recently that it's possible the Tide could sign a punter before the full squad reports next August. But the decision by Patrick Eades to walk on next fall at Alabama could make that prospect moot.

Eades (6-1, 185, 4.70) punted for Hoover High School in Birmingham. Judged one of the top punters in the state, Eades averaged an incredible 46.5 yards per punt during the regular season.

In the playoffs Eades was often called on to punt the ball inside the opponent's 20-yardline, pinning them against their own goal. That situational kicking dropped his average somewhat, but Eades still finished the playoffs with an average of 42.7 yards per effort on 36 punts.

A former college kicker himself, it'll be Aaron Price's job to coach the Alabama punters and placekickers.

Of course Hoover High School finished with the state championship trophy.

An All Metro first teamer, Eades made honorable mention All State. He received rave reviews from scouts who have seen him first hand. They report that the Birmingham native has excellent hang time on his punts and he gets tremendous leverage on his kicks.

Eades has camped at Alabama, Auburn, and Tennessee. He bench presses 215 pounds, squats 295, and power cleans 240. Eades carries a 3.3 GPA in the classroom and has scored 26 on the ACT, so qualifying will be no problem.

Occasionally a college team will sign a prep kicker to a grant out of high school, but in most cases the athletes are asked to walk on and earn the scholarship in fall camp.

Both Arkansas and San Diego State heavily recruited Eades. He took official visits to both schools in January, but in the end they tried to persuade him to walk on.

Given those options, Eades instead chose to walk on at Alabama and compete for the vacancy left by Lane Bearden.

NOTE: As explained in our other front-page story today, most prospective high school walk-ons will have to wait until after Alabama completes spring drills before getting definite word on their status. But BamaMag.com has confirmed that Eades will be joining the team this fall.

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