Connect with us


Five Players Who Could Help the Tide Down the Stretch

Bo Scarbrough, Running Back (So.)

Since the spring, Scarbrough has taken quite a tumble as far as preseason hype. At 6’2″ 228 pounds, his combination of size, speed and strength gave Alabama fans the hope that he could step in for former Heisman trophy winner Derrick Henry without missing a beat. It hasn’t worked out that way so far this season, but Scarbrough has given fans hope over the course of the last few weeks.

Although Scarbrough began the season with rushing touchdowns in three straight games, he was only able to muster up 68 rushing yards on 23 carries — good for only 2.95 yards per carry. At one point, he even seemed to be the fourth option at running back behind Damien Harris, Josh Jacobs and B.J. Emmons. That has all changed as of late.

Since SEC play started four weeks ago, Scarbrough has averaged 8.76 yards per carry and upped his rushing touchdowns from three to five. It seems like Scarbrough is finally adjusting to his decreased playing weight — going from 240 pounds in 2015 to his current playing weight of 228 pounds — and the former five-star running back from Northport finally seems ready to contribute down the stretch for the Crimson Tide.

Trevon Diggs/Xavian Marks, Punt Returner (Fr./So.)

Losing Eddie Jackson, the safety, for the season was a major blow for the Crimson Tide’s defense. With that said, one could argue that the special teams took as big of a hit as the defense — maybe an even bigger one.

Jackson had quietly become a force as a punt returner while averaging 23.0 yards per return with two of his eleven returns going for touchdowns this season. That type of impact will be hard to replicate moving forward. As of right now, no one really knows who is going to take over as the main punt returner for the remainder of the season, but the competition is more than likely going to come down to either Diggs or Marks.

Diggs has game changing ability, but his youth has hindered him at times this season. He has bounced back and forth between both wide receiver and safety since arriving in Tuscaloosa, but he looks to have finally settled down at wide receiver as of late. He has the ability to be an electric player as a punt returner, but he has struggled in that role when given the opportunity earlier in the season.

Marks is a former walk-on who has emerged as nice depth player with quick feet and a knack for making defenders miss. At 5’8″ 166 pounds, he is one of the smallest players on the team, but he has already shown what type of impact he can make as a punt returner with a 75-yard return for a touchdown against Kent State.

I cheated by listing both Diggs and Marks here as one player, but at this point, the competition is still ongoing. Whichever player wins the job has the ability to make an impact as a punt returner.

Terrell Hall, Edge Defender (Fr.)

Hall hasn’t made much an impact up to this point, but that has been a result of excellent play by the veterans ahead of him. In his limited action this season, he has shown flashes of being a force off the edge.

He only has six total tackles with one sack on the season, but don’t be surprised if he ends up having a much bigger impact down the stretch. However, if that does hold true, it won’t be with a lot of playing time.

Ryan Anderson and Tim Williams have been lights out this season while posting 11 sacks and four forced fumbles between them. As a result, the game reps will continue to be scarce for Hall, but that doesn’t mean he won’t continue to maximize the opportunities he is given.

The talent is there for the 6’5″ 247 pound freshman from Washington, DC. Now, it’s all about the continued development when given the chance.

Hootie Jones, Safety (Jr.)

It’s been a very strange year for Hootie Jones. He was arrested during the offseason along with Cam Robinson, and it wasn’t even a sure-thing that he would be on the team come fall camp. Since then, the charges against the two were dropped, and Jones hasn’t really looked back.

The former four-star safety from Monroe, Louisiana has slowly developed into a leader in the locker room despite his limited playing time on defense so far this season. With the loss of Eddie Jackson, Jones seems likely to get the first shot at replacing him on defense.

During his limited action against the Aggies this past Saturday, Jones impressed with his physical style of play and plus coverage. At 6’2″ 215 pounds, Jones has a lot more size than Jackson — who is listed at 6’0″ 194 pounds — but he hasn’t shown the same type of range that made Jackson the perfect compliment to fellow safety Ronnie Harrison.

Jones’ ability to effectively replace Jackson still remains a mystery at this point, but don’t be surprised if Jones takes this opportunity and becomes a stalwart in the back-half of the defense for both this year and next.

Mack Wilson, Linebacker/Special Teams (Fr.)

Wilson is a lot of fun to watch. You can tell he is a passionate player, and he shares Reuben Foster’s love of contact. He made that clear on Saturday when he decleated an Aggies kick returner not once, but twice.

Before sending Speedy Noil into orbit, Wilson had already started to make his presence known for the Crimson Tide. In certain goal line packages, Wilson has been seeing looks as a fullback, and he even caught a one-yard touchdown pass against Kent State a month ago.

The coaching staff clearly loves Wilson, and they are trying to find ways to get him involved because they know the type of impact that he can make. The 6’2″ 244 pound wrecking ball from Montgomery is only going to get better from here, so expect to see continued impact on special teams. Also, don’t be surprised to see him earn some reps on defense.

Football, recruiting analyst for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Born and raised in Athens (Ala.), but currently reside in Birmingham. I attended Birmingham-Southern College. Former linebacker/defensive end. Sigma Nu.

More in Uncategorized