The Alabama players were raving at the SEC media days about how good cornerback DeQuan Menzie has looked this summer in 7-on-7 workouts.
Coach Nick Saban chimed in Tuesday, telling reporters that Menzie was ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation from a torn Achilles tendon and should be able to participate in preseason practice.
If all goes well, Saban said the hope is that Menzie will be “full speed by the first game.”
Menzie, a junior college transfer, was being counted on to come in and help right away at cornerback when the Crimson Tide signed him. But he hurt his Achilles playing pick-up basketball this spring and said at the time that he expected to redshirt this season.
Sophomore Dre Kirkpatrick is the starter at one cornerback, while sophomore B.J. Scott exited spring as the starter at the other cornerback spot. If Menzie is indeed close to 100 percent and playing at the level his teammates say he is, he’ll also factor in prominently in the Crimson Tide’s secondary rotation.
Having lost so many guys back there from a year ago, they’re still looking to fill all the roles, especially when they go to five defensive backs. That’s where Menzie could really prove valuable.
Elsewhere, Saban and his wife, Terry, hosted the fourth annual Nick’s Kids Luncheon on Tuesday at Bryant-Denny Stadium, with more than $450,000 being awarded to local and state charities.
Since the Sabans’ arrival in Tuscaloosa in 2007, approximately $1.5 million has been distributed to more than 140 charities and organizations across the state and surrounding areas.
"There are so many people that make this possible that it may be impossible to thank them all," Nick Saban said. "This is my favorite day of the year. I know that it is a big-time thing to win a national championship, but I enjoy what we do in helping so many people in this state and there are so many people that contribute to that in so many ways."
The money is raised through the annual Nick’s Kids Golf Tournament, speaking engagements by Nick and Terry Saban, as well as individual donations.
"We have been able to do a little bit more each year," Saban said. "I think the support has grown in the state. Our golf outing has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger. We are just happy to be able to give back and hopefully we will continue to be able to do more in the future."