Nick Saban continues to sign big name recruits. In 2012, he signed three players who showed promise during the season and the 2013 A-Day game.
Geno Smith came to Alabama as a top 10 cornerback according to all major recruiting sites. Fans were excited about the Atlanta, Georgia native’s arrival to Tuscaloosa. However, not many expected him to play as much in 2012 as he did.
The 6-foot, 186-pound Smith played in 13 of Alabama’s 14 games, making nine tackles on the season. With John Fulton’s turf toe injury, Smith saw more time than most expected. He had bright spots during the year, and Saban admitted later in the year he regretted not playing Smith earlier in the season.
During the 2013 A-Day game, Smith made three tackles. Fans should expect him to be no worse than the number three cornerback for the Crimson Tide in 2013. Depending on Fulton’s recovery, Smith may be the number two cornerback in Saban’s secondary.
Many highly touted recruits begin their playing time at Alabama on special teams. Dillon Lee was one of those players in 2012. He saw most of his playing time on the kickoff coverage unit.
The 6-foot-4, 242-pound sophomore from Buford, Georgia signed with Alabama as a four-star recruit. His older brother, Dallas, plays on the Georgia offensive line.
In eight games, Lee made one tackle. When the incident happened, many didn’t expect him to play. However, the outcome of the national championship game indicates Lee would have played against Notre Dame had he and freshman linebacker Ryan Anderson had not been sent home for a curfew violation.
During A-Day in April, Lee recorded four tackles, a fumble recovery, and broke up two passes. Lee’s 2013 season should include more playing time and more play making. He won’t jump into the starting rotation right away, but he will get on the field more in 2013 to set himself up for a solid 2014.
Landon Collins made a splash with his college announcement. During the Under Armour All-American Game, he announced his decision to attend the University of Alabama while his mother sat next to him proclaiming her desire for him to attend LSU.
The Bayou Bengal fans agreed with his mom because they weren’t happy about the number one (or two, depending on site) safety in the nation leaving the state of Louisiana.
Once in Tuscaloosa, Collins saw time on defense and special teams. He played in every single Alabama game and recorded 17 tackles and a blocked punt.
Fans saw some of his potential in April when Collins made five tackles, an interception returned 28 yards, and broke up two passes.
His 2013 season looks to be similar to Lee’s. He should see more meaningful playing time on defense while still making a name for himself on special teams.