Scouting the SEC: Alabama

The Tide is rollin' back as they move into Dennis Franchione's second campaign, one that will not include a bowl game thanks to rules infractions. Franchione is starting to develop the available talent on the roster and this program will be the envy of most NFL teams as they have a multiplicity of good defensive linemen.

Alabama Crimson Tide

The team was hit hard by academics as a pair of decent senior prospects are ineligible for the upcoming campaign. Tackle Dante' Ellington, a big, strong athlete, must now decide whether to transfer or sit out the entire year after he was suspended due to poor classrooms results. After showing flashes as a freshman Ellington's play seemed to level out and though he looked to be back on track at the beginning of the 2001 campaign, he lost his starting job. Ellington must learn to focus on the task at hand and dedicate himself before anyone is going to extend him an offer at the next level. The best choice he could make is return to school, get his grades up and weight down. A.C. Carter is another we hear may not be wearing a Tide uniform this season. A quick, elusive pass catcher with decent hands, Carter was being counted on to start at wide out. His value lies as a slot receiver and special teams player but he needed a big senior season after coming off the bench the past two years when he played behind Freddie Milons and James McAddley. The ball will now be thrown to Sam Collins, an athletic wide out with nice size better known for his blocking than pass catching and one that will be given serious draft consideration should he become a part of the offense this season. Center Alonzo Ephriam is quick, heady and smart pivot man that quarterbacks the line well but is neither dominant and only effective in confined quarters. He needs to prove he can play in space this season to move into the middle rounds. Ahmaad Galloway, an efficient running back, sees the field, works hard and catches the ball nicely out of the backfield but lacks the top size speed numbers. Santonio Beard has some possibilities as a feature runner at the next level should the junior develop.

The Tide has a lot of talent on the defensive line, both starters and second-teamers. A trio of senior linemen should hear their names called during different frames of the draft next April. Kindal Moorehead rebounded nicely last season from a foot injury that kept him out all of 2000. He is big, strong yet an athletic defensive end that gets a lot of upfield penetration and easily handles one-on-one blocking situations. Also impressive is Moorehead's ability to make plays laterally or even drop into pass coverage on zone blitzes, playing in space. What Moorehead must work on are his instincts as he's continually rushing up the field, regardless of where the play is, over pursuing the ball carrier or worse yet, just letting opponents run past with not even an idea of what's happening. Still; his raw abilities and size/speed numbers are compelling. A good campaign and Moorehead could move into the top 32. Kenny King, an undersized defensive tackle, reminds us a lot of a former Kenny from Alabama, Kenny Smith, now with the Saints (prior to his knee injury anyway). King is explosive, fierce and quick to arrive on the spot, continually blowing up plays in the opponent's backfield. Like Smith, King is a bit undersized, handled at the point but may have a future at left defensive end as he displays both athleticism and speed. King also has a little Cornelius Griffin in him and should he perform in the post-season like the former ‘Bama lineman he will move into the top 45. The last of this trio, Jarrett Johnson, lacks the athleticism of his teammates but plays with an unbelievable motor, has a tremendous head for the game and makes plays all over the field. You constantly find Johnson around the play making the stop against the run or pass. He's a mid-to-late round selection and a player that can contribute for a team as a rookie. To our minds junior Anthony Bryant could have the most upside in this group, as he is a massive tackle with extraordinary athleticism and a player that cannot be handled by a single blocker. He needs to step up his conditioning and become a bigger part of the defense but will be a force in the future. Junior linebackers Cornelius Wortham and Brooks Daniels both have potential at the next level as does senior corner Gerald Dixon, though Dixon lacks the pure speed to be an every down defensive back and is more than likely a nickel player that won't be drafted.





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