From now until kickoff in Arlington, Texas, we'll be counting down the days before Alabama and Michigan get the season started. Today, we move to No. 50 and what it means to UA football. See all the previous editions here.
A quick bit of trivia: Who is the largest player on the University of Alabama roster?
The answer: Alphonse Taylor. As in, true freshman Alphonse Taylor.
When coach Nick Saban and staff sealed the commitment of the lineman from Mobile, Ala., they got a huge player in terms of both size and potential. The 6-foot-5, 340-pounder isn't a lumbering giant. He has nimble feet and a quick burst. And he's versatile, too. He enrolled early and began spring practice on the defensive line, but ended the early practice period trying his hand on offense.
The future for Taylor appears to be on defense. In fact, he was listed as a defensive lineman when he signed and continues to be listed that way on the official roster. But given Alabama's lack of depth on the offensive line, Taylor could see himself practicing more and more alongside seniors Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack, rather than against them.
“I’m excited for him to play guard, man,” Warmack told TideNation during spring practice. “He’s an exciting player. He knows a lot already. He came in with a positive attitude. I want to take him up under my wing and help him as much as I can.
“He’s a really powerful guy, a really big guy. He’s going to be really special some day -- sooner than you think."
The battle for Taylor's services will be even more interesting in 2013. Alabama loses two starters on the offensive line for sure, and possibly a third if D.J. Fluker decides to enter the NFL draft early. But Jesse Williams graduates after this season and Taylor appears to be his natural replacement at nose tackle.