When it comes to recruiting, Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide have the market cornered.
Signing the No. 1 class in the nation for 2014, ‘Bama will rely on several true freshmen to play integral roles this fall.
Whether it be due to lack of depth at certain positions, no proven starter, or simply an individual skill set that can’t be held back, here are five notable players who will likely see substantial playing time as true freshmen.
Tony Brown – Defensive Back
As one of the most decorated high school players in the nation, Tony Brown is a five-star talent with a five-star future. After enrolling in January, Brown participated in spring practice in Tuscaloosa and made a major impact. Noted for his athletic ability, size, and great cover skills, Brown has the opportunity to compete for a starting position at defensive back, a position that could use an immediate playmaker.
Da’Shawn Hand – Defensive End
Giving his verbal commitment to the University of Alabama in the fall of 2013, Da’Shawn Hand is one of the Crimson Tide’s most coveted players from the 2014 signing class. With his ability to rush the passer, a much needed attribute, Hand has the body type and skill set to play defensive end as well as linebacker. Quite fast for his size, Hand has exhibited similar traits to that of Jadeveon Clowney, the former University of South Carolina defensive monster, and No. 1 selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. Barring something unforeseen, expect Da’Shawn Hand to see the field in various capacities as a true freshman.
Marlon Humphrey – Defensive Back
As noted in a prior body of work, Marlon Humphrey will arrive in Tuscaloosa with very high expectations. Much like Tony Brown, Humphrey is expected to fill a vital need within the Alabama secondary. With great size, speed, and cover skills, Humphrey has all the physical attributes and intangibles to be a star. The son of Alabama legend Bobby Humphrey, the pride of Hoover, Alabama has the opportunity to make some serious waves this fall.
Cameron Robinson – Offensive Lineman
Every team needs talented “beef” up front, and Cam Robinson has all the makings of a stalwart within the Alabama offensive line. Regarded as one of the top prospects in the nation, Robinson, an early enrollee, impressed the masses with his work in spring practice. With Robinson’s size and agility, the five-star talent could very well earn a starting role across the front line once preseason camp comes to a close.
JK Scott – Kicker/Punter
While certainly not the most glamorous position on the field, JK Scott will be an early contributor this season simply because Alabama does not return a proven punter from the 2013 team. With the departure of veteran Cody Mandell due to graduation, the starting job will essentially be Scott’s to lose.
Addition of Marlon Humphrey gives wide-open Alabama secondary another viable option (analysis)
Crimson Tide Finish with No. 1 Recruiting Class in 2014
2014 Alabama football early impact freshmen, recruiting class breakdown