Spring football returns to the University of Alabama on Friday.
Fans of the Crimson Tide are excited for this edition of athletes taking the field, as Nick Saban and the program look to repeat as national champions. With 15 practice sessions – including the A-Day Game – the staff writers for Touchdown Alabama Magazine will provide in-depth previews on marquee players.
As we continue with the offense, the next player will be Emil Ekiyor.
-Classification: Redshirt junior
-Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
-Strengths: Mobility, pass block strength, athleticism, versatility
-Weaknesses: Occasionally leans forward during his initial punch
After winning the starting job last season Emil Ekiyor, much like Evan Neal, was a force along Alabama’s offensive line.
His mobility and athleticism were major keys to offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s play design, as it opened up numerous possibilities to disguise the play-action game. Ekiyor would consistently be the offensive guard who pulled to the opposite side during each pass set to pick up the loose defender.
This was because Ekiyor has tremendous footwork and speed at his size and has the strength to take on the free defenders head-on.
It was this versatility that helped the Crimson Tide’s offense catapult to the top of the leaderboards last season in college football.
Ekiyor was apart of a line that provided the Power 5’s No. 1 scoring offense (48.5 ppg), No. 1 pass efficiency offense (198.9), No. 2 passing offense (358.2 ypg), No. 2 total offense (541.6 ypg) and No. 23 rushing attack (183.5 ypg).
What is an added plus to Ekiyor’s game is his ability to play multiple positions along the offensive line. Although he doesn’t have any playing experience at tackle, Ekiyor has worked for the Crimson Tide at center and both guard positions.
With the loss of Landon Dickerson to the NFL, it will be interesting to see where Ekiyor ends up on the line especially if Alabama believes he should be competing for the center role.
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77