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Alabama RB Xavian Marks could have a role in place for 2016

Alabama RB/WR Xavian Marks (No. 31): Stephen M. Smith- Touchdown Alabama Magazine

The Crimson Tide received a late addition to its 2015 recruiting class, when three-star prospect Xavian Marks enrolled during the summer. Marks, a native of Rosenburg, Texas, is listed at running back on the roster, yet he is often spotted in practice running drills with Alabama’s receivers.

The 5-foot-8, 163-pound sophomore ended his senior year at George Ranch High School, totaling 1,523 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns in 2014. His first taste of collegiate action came last year in the Tide’s senior day game versus Charleston Southeastern at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

He did not generate any rushing stats, but Marks did catch two passes for 19 yards. His quickness in getting to the edge on jet sweeps caught the attention of many Tide fans.

Mark has taken reps with wide outs throughout spring practice and after two scrimmages, head coach Nick Saban mentions “special teams” as an area that gives Marks the best shot to succeed.

“Calvin Ridley and Xavian Marks are the two guys that have probably done it the best,” Saban said Saturday after the scrimmage. “We have two to three other guys that are doing it, but those two have done a pretty decent job. They did a good job today. We didn’t have any mishandled balls or any turnovers on special teams. So, that was a positive.”

Marks had the third-fastest time in the 40-yard dash in the team’s spring testing, clocking out at 4.40 seconds.

He stood behind Robert Foster (4.34) and Ridley (4.35).

Former Southeastern Conference players Brandon James (Florida) and Trindon Holliday (LSU) fall in the same category as Marks. Both guys possessed reliable hands as receivers, while creating field position on special teams.

Holliday ended his tenure at LSU with 1,806 kick return yards, 647 punt return yards and four total touchdowns.

He collected 776 rushing yards and a four scores on 115 carries.

James finished with 1,371 punt return yards and 2,718 kick return yards, both standing at No. 2 all-time in SEC history.

His four career punt return touchdowns are fourth in conference history.

Does Marks have the same potential as Holliday, James or former Tide standout Kenyan Drake? Answers remained to be seen. However, he will have a chance to prove himself this fall.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

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