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Players to watch for on A-Day

Tuscaloosa, Ala., will return to normal Saturday, as fans look file into Bryant-Denny Stadium for Alabama’s annual spring game. Head coach Nick Saban and his staff have been at work for 12 days, generating maximum effort from the players. Saban won’t reveal everything on A-Day, but consistent production is needed.

Senior cornerback Cyrus Jones and linebacker Denzel Devall are among the few players that will not participate in Saturday’s game. Alabama’s had some individuals to emerge as leaders in spring practice. Touchdown Alabama Magazine writer Stephen M. Smith provides his list on the players to watch for on A-Day.

 

6. JK Scott

  • Position: Punter
  • Classification: Sophomore
  • Size: 6-foot-5, 195 pounds

Summary: JK Scott had a ground-breaking freshman season in 2014. He led the nation in punting, averaging 48.0 yards per attempt. Scott dropped 31 of his 55 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. He earned first-team All-American honors by Sporting News and was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award (nation’s best punter). A sophomore slump is rare for punters, but Scott will try to avoid it.

 

5. Reuben Foster

  • Position: Inside Linebacker
  • Classification: Junior
  • Size: 6-foot-1, 240 pounds

Summary: His earth-shattering hit on LSU’s running back Leonard Fournette was game changing, but injuries limited Reuben Foster last season. He put in 22 tackles and a sack in 11 games. Coach Saban said Foster has had a really good spring, and has avoided the injury bug. He’s been worked at middle linebacker, alongside Reggie Ragland. Foster’s instincts have improved, and he’s developed into a solid play caller. Sophomore linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton is battling Foster for middle linebacker, but a strong A-Day performance from Foster could land him the spot.

 

4. Tony Brown

  • Position: Cornerback
  • Classification: Sophomore
  • Size: 6-foot-0, 195 pounds

Summary: Tony Brown got his feet wet last season, recording 10 tackles and a pass breakup in 13 games. He registered an interception off quarterback Alec Morris in Alabama’s 2014 A-Day matchup. Brown is a sure tackler, and his ball skills continue to improve. He’s eyeing a starting role at corner, opposite Cyrus Jones.

 

3. Chris Black

  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • Classification: Junior
  • Size: 6-foot-0, 192 pounds

Summary: The departures of Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones leave Chris Black as the “alpha dog” of Alabama’s receiving corps. Black was featured mostly in the slot last season. He caught 15 passes for 188 yards. Black didn’t register a catch in two scrimmage games, but he had a solid performance in the Crimson Tide’s 2014 spring game. He put in 78 receiving yards and a touchdown on three catches.

 

2. Desherrius Flowers

  • Position: Running Back
  • Classification: Rising freshman (HS)
  • Size: 6-foot-1, 211 pounds

Summary: The era without T.J. Yeldon has begun. Alabama fans know what running backs Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake are capable of. A-Day will give us a glimpse of a new face that could secure a spot in the rotation. Desherrius Flowers, an early enrollee, has been worked as Alabama’s third back all spring. He doesn’t have elite speed, but he possesses power and vision. With Bo Scarbrough out (knee) and Damien Harris not on campus, Flowers has an opportunity to position himself as the third back, if he gives a sound performance in Saturday’s contest.

 

1. Blake Barnett 

  • Position: Quarterback
  • Classification: Rising freshman (HS)
  • Size: 6-foot-5, 200 pounds

Summary: All eyes will be on California native Blake Barnett this weekend. A five-star prospect, Barnett is the highest rated quarterback that Alabama’s ever signed. Coach Saban said he’s had a good spring, and Alabama fans are ready to see Barnett in action. He along with redshirt freshman David Cornwell are pushing Jake Coker for the starting job. Saban wants someone to take the bull by the horns. Barnett looks to answer the bell in Saturday’s game.

Other players to watch: Cooper Bateman (QB), Robert Foster (WR), Ronnie Harrison (SS) and Rashaan Evans (OLB)

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