Jan 5, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; East running back Derrick Henry (2) is tackled by West linebacker Michael Hutchings (17) during U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school football game at the Alamodome. The East won 15-8. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Meet the 2013 Tide Players – Vinnie Sunseri and Derrick Henry


Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 Alabama Crimson Tide roster has two players wearing the No. 3 jersey, who came to the University of Alabama in completely different ways. One was described as a recruit with an offer only because of his father. The other got on campus as the all-time leading rusher in the nation.

Vinnie Sunseri enrolled in the University of Alabama in January, 2011 after playing for Northridge High School in Tuscaloosa. The six-foot, 210-pound junior defensive back came out of high school considered by many to be a linebacker. Many recruiting analysts and fans saw Sunseri’s scholarship offer as a favor done by Coach Nick Saban only because his father Sal was the linebackers coach at the time. Vinnie’s performance in the Under Armour All-American Game changed that thinking. Fans got excited about Sunseri’s potential when they saw him making big defensive plays against some of the best recruits in the nation.

In the 2011 Alabama A-Day game, Sunseri continued to impress fans. He made plays throughout the spring game from his defensive back position.

During the 2011 season, Sunseri saw action on special teams and defense. As a five-time Special Teams Player of the Week, he recorded 11 of his 31 total tackles on special teams. By the end of the 2011 season, Sunseri earned his way into the dime back position. He earned SEC All-Freshman team honors, as well.

Sunseri continued his production in the 2012 season by finishing the season with 54 tackles. He recorded two interceptions during the season.

Look for Sunseri to make plays in 2013 while playing in an experienced secondary.

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Derrick Henry came to Tuscaloosa three months ago with plenty of hype and expectations. The freshman running back broke Ken Hall’s 59-year-old record for the most career rushing yards by a running back.  Henry ran for over 12,000 yards in his high school career at Yulee, Florida High.

Some fans discuss a possible position for the 6-3, 238-pound freshman, but the likelihood of a switch does not seem high. Considered by the recruiting sites to be one of the top running backs, Henry chose Alabama after previously committing to Georgia.

Expectations for Henry are high, but fans need to remember Saban only plays the guys who are ready. If Henry can’t pick up blitzes, he won’t play as often as some expect. With that in mind, look for Henry to compete for the No. 2 job behind T.J. Yeldon.

Click here for a discussion about newcomers to the Crimson Tide, including Henry, who could play early.

Tags: Alabama Crimson Tide Football