Alabama’s competition along the offensive line has been no secret. Head coach Nick Saban has spoken time and time again about the openings at guard, center and right tackle.
Senior offensive lineman Kendall Randolph has primarily been working with the first team throughout Alabama’s fall camp but been sidelined for some time now after suffering a sprained ankle in the Crimson Tide’s first scrimmage.
Stepping up in Randolph’s place has been true freshman lineman J.C. Latham, who has caught the attention of his fellow teammates with his play which gives a glimpse at a promising future for the young student-athlete.
“The ceiling for JC is unbelievable,” guard Emil Ekiyor said to reporters Thursday. “He’s a really good player. You can see why he was a highly-touted recruit coming out of high school. He has all the tools. It was really exciting to see him progress throughout camp and spring ball, and I think he could be a really good player for us when he gets his chance to step on the field.”
Latham first arrived in Tuscaloosa in the spring where he was able to participate in the annual A-Day game. A native of Oak Creek, Wis., Latham was one of the Crimson Tide’s top prospects from the class of 2021 with Touchdown Alabama’s scouting and recruiting analyst Justin Smith grading him as a 5-star prospect.
With just nine games to go until the Crimson Tide’s opening game against Miami, Latham could possibly be looking at starting for the first time as a freshman. If that’s the case, the team’s starting left tackle Evan Neal has already given Latham some advice on playing early on in his career.
“Something I’ve been sharing with JC is just to not be so hard on himself right now and be patient because things are going to come,” Neal said earlier in camp. “Just focus every day on getting better, focusing and fine-tuning his technique, you know, the minute things in his game that he needs to get better and I tell him to take it one day at a time.”
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77