2012 Defensive Signees
DL: Dakota Ball, 3 Star
Specs: 6’2, 292. Lindale, GA.
Comments: Meet Nick Gentry 2.0, but with a better name. Dakota? How cool is that? Anyway, Ball is noted for his high motor, mean streak and leverage strength.
Projection: Even with his motor, the depth at the DL position would indicate that Dakota would be best served by redshirting. I saw Ball in the UA game and he never quit. He got blocked most of the time, though he did get some really nice penetration as a DT a couple of times, but he never ever quit on a play. The result was a couple of sacks and a pretty solid performance. But, he’ll redshirt.
DL: Korren Kirven, 4 Star
Specs: 6’4, 272. Lynchburg, VA.
Comments: This kid is just 17 years old and it only just now starting to fill out his frame. A tremendous athlete for his size, he should be able to get a lot bigger and a lot stronger over the course of time. Since he’s obviously still growing, it stands to reason that this kid hasn’t even begun to reach his potential.
Projection: I can’t wait to see the size comparison in a year after he’s redshirted. Holy…
DL: Darren Lake, 3 Star
Specs: 6’3, 330. York, AL.
Comments: Lake is yet another one of those kids who absolutely blew up the Alabama summer camp. Unblockable was the phrase most commonly heard regarding Lake and at camp he was every bit as good as 5 Star DT Eddie Goldman from what we’ve heard. This kid is just tapping his potential.
Projection: If Lake is 330 then I’m about 190, which I am most certainly not. I think 330 lbs was with him only putting one leg on the scales. Rumor has it that he’s going to have to drop some LBs before he gets a real look. Also, he’s very young and very raw – Lake is another redshirt for the DL.
DL: Alphonse Taylor, 3 Star. December graduate.
Specs: 6’6, 340. Mobile, AL.
Comments: Now I’ve heard this young man is not 340. Or 350. Now, I’ve also heard that he’s working very hard to get himself into playing weight. The last guy who was asked to lose weight in order to get some PT was Terrance Cody, so you do the math. Taylor was formerly an FSU commit but he came over to the good guys eventually. BTW – some say Taylor could play OT and, with his 6’6 frame, you’d think that would be the best long term solution for him. But, instead, we need depth at NT so I think that’s where he sticks initially.
Projection: If Taylor begins dining with Terry Bradshaw then I think you’ve got a very solid guy to rotate into the DT position. It will be interesting to me to see which of Lake & Taylor gets into the rotation but most say that it should be Taylor. Fall camp will clearly separate these two but I promise you that if one meets his goal weight and the other does not, it will be worked out before they even step onto the field. Of course, another thing in Taylor’s favor is the fact that he’s already on campus.
DL: Dalvin Tomlinson, 4 Star
Specs: 6’2, 270. Lindale, GA.
Comments: Tomlinson is a three time heavyweight wrestling champ in Georgia which I do not believe had ever been done before in the heavyweight division. Very solid base with a great aptitude for using his strength and leverage against his opponents.
Projection: I LOVE for my OL and DL to have experience in wrestling. Wrestling adapts them to the hand to hand physical contact and teaches them about balance, leverage and strength. It’s my guess that this background will elevate Tomlinson to the top of the heap and, while he clearly won’t start or even be in the 2 deep, he may force himself into the 3 deep rotation and lose his redshirt. I’m totally basing this on his experience with wrestling, as I have not seen him in any all star games or anything like that.
LB: Ryan Anderson, 4 Stars. December graduate.
Specs: 6’3, 250. Daphne, AL
Comments: Ryan Anderson, quite honestly, should have been a 5 star recruit. You’ll rarely hear me quibble about rankings b/c they are all totally subjective. However, this is a 6’3, 250 lb monster who runs very, very fast and is very, very strong. God doesn’t make a lot of these guys. Anderson blew up two All Star games by dominating the drills during practice as well as the games. He. Is. A. Beast.
Projection: Look for Anderson to play a pretty fair amount this year, especially on special teams and especially since he’s already enrolled. As he learns the position, look for him to come in on some passing situations and he’ll most certainly push Hubbard and Dickson at the Jack (Upshaw) position.
LB: Denzell Devall, 4 Stars
Specs: 6’2, 236. Bastrop, LA
Comments: A devastating MLB that will fit perfectly in the Alabama system. He has the right size and range to be the next Nico Johnson – perfect fit for this system (#4 MLB in the nation by Rivals).
Projection: This is the kind of kid who shows up first on special teams and then expands his role down the road. I’d bet Devall plays some punt and kick coverage and plays in some mop up duty at LB as well.
LB: Tyler Hayes, 4 Stars
Specs: 6’3, 215. Thomasville, GA
Comments: Hayes reportedly is the best cover LB in the bunch. Given his size and the depth at LB, it’s conceivable that he could move to safety (though there’s a ton of depth there unless there’s some attrition). With his frame, I see him staying at LB and growing into the next CJ Mosley and playing a ton in our nickel and dime personnel groupings.
Projection: Tough call here. I see him redshirting due to the current depth at the position, his size and the number of freshmen LBs coming in that appear to be more physically developed.
LB: Dillon Lee, 4 Stars. December graduate.
Specs: 6’4, 220. Daphne, AL
Comments: Supposedly the most athletic LB of the group, Lee spurned Georgia (where his brother Dallas is a starting OL) in favor of Alabama. That’s a mighty strong statement to me. Anyway, he’s got enough athleticism to defend the pass and he should continue to put some good weight on there to allow him to be a very good MLB in time.
Projection: He had shoulder surgery (torn labrum) and I suspect that he’ll redshirt b/c of that. He needs the year to bulk up in order to play MLB.
LB: Reggie Ragland, 4 Stars
Specs: 6’4, 245. Madison, AL
Comments: Stud. Absolute stud. He really caught my eye at the UA game as he went sideline to sideline making eye popping hits. It’s always impressive to me to be able to stand out in a group of standouts but Ragland did that and more. Some say he could get a look at H Back or TE, depending on the needs of the team but I can’t see moving this kid from LB. He really looked exceptional out there.
Projection: He’ll get on the field as a freshman in some form or fashion. He’ll either play LB and special teams or he’ll play TE/H back. Either way, this kid is really, really, really good. Very excited about his future.
DB: Deion Belue, 3 Stars. December graduate.
Specs: 6’0, 170. Booneville, MS – Junior College(Oneonta, originally, I believe).
Comments: Belue can flat out fly. He’s a dynamic punt and kick returner and his speed allows him to be a pretty decent corner. I think, due to his size, he’ll be utilized a ton as a returner this coming season but I don’t foresee him starting at corner as some have said. He’ll likely have to play in nickel and dime situations.
Projection: He’ll play and possibly return the opening kickoff of the season.
DB: Landon Collins, 5 Stars
Specs: 6’0, 199. Geismar, LA.
Comments: Geismar is located 20 miles from Baton Rouge, so it’s no wonder momma wanted Landon to stay closer to home. This also makes it all the more astounding that Alabama was able to pry him from the LSU clutches, as most give in to the instate pressure in Louisiana. Collins is a 5 star athlete so that means his athleticism is off the charts. He was VERY impressive in the UA all star game and he clearly has next level ability.
Projection: I think he’ll play on special teams and will push to get into nickel and dime packages. Collins could move to safety and Bama could slide Ha Ha (Clinton Dix – another safety) to the money position. It just depends on if they trust Fulton or Belue at the money or star position instead and I’m thinking they will not trust them more than Clinton Dix. We’ll see but it will be tough to keep Collins off the field.
DB: Travell Dixon, 4 Stars. December graduate.
Specs: 6’2, 200. Thatcher, AZ – Junior College. Miami, FL originally.
Comments: Did you see his specs? Dixon sounds like a thicker Dre clone. He’d better be. Bama needs either Dixon or Belue to emerge as a #1 corner to go along with Milliner and my money is on Dixon. He’s got the size and speed to play in the SEC while Belue appears to be undersized.
DB: Geno Smith, 4 Stars
Specs: 5’11, 180. Atlanta, GA
Comments: Smith was Alabama’s leading recruiter throughout the 2012 class and was widely followed for having more accurate info than the recruiting analysts did. Alabama does not have a ton of wealth in the secondary so if Smith can show a little bit of ability, he’ll likely be on the field. Belue and Dixon will certainly be blocking his path due to their size and experience so it may be an uphill battle for Smith to get on the field as a DB this season. I have read that he plays the run well for a high schooler and has played a lot of safety as well, so you never know.
Projection: Given Alabama’s lack of numbers at DB, it would be hard to imagine that Smith is redshirted. That being said, he’s the only candidate out of the new DBs to redshirt, IMO.