Alabama Football: Biggest impact from new players next fall

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Alabama Football
Alabama Football /

New Alabama Football Players with bright futures

Cornerback Eli Ricks

Many Alabama football fans wish Ricks could participate in the Playoffs. He may join the team for practices, but he is not eligible to play this season.

Assuming Josh Jobe leaves for the NFL, Eli Ricks is expected to be one of the Crimson Tide’s three starting cornerbacks. The trio would be Ricks, Kool-Aid McKinstry and Jalyn Armour-Davis. Some Alabama football insiders think JAD will also leave for the NFL, making Ricks a near-lock to start.

Due to surgery from a shoulder injury, Ricks played in only six games as an LSU sophomore. His stats were way off from his outstanding freshman season that earned him Third-Team All-American honors and SEC All-Freshman team. The former 5-Star recruit is perfectly suited for Nick Saban’s defensive system.

Offensive Lineman Tyler Booker

With the NFL departure of Evan Neal, several, formerly highly touted Crimson Tide O-line recruits have an opening. At 6’5″ and 325 pounds, Booker is not a typical freshman. He has the strength and agility to be a solid run blocker as a freshman. Like almost every high school offensive lineman, he must develop his pass protection skills. With good agility and long arms, he could become the Tide’s right tackle next season. He also might be used at a guard position.

Athlete Amari Niblack and Tight End Elijah Brown

The Tide’s 2022 tight end roster is not deep. Both of the freshmen have a chance to have a key role. They will have to prove themselves as blockers first, but both guys and particularly Nibalck can be a part of the Tide’s passing attack.

Some recruiting experts suggest Niblack will be more than a possession receiver and will be used more like a wideout. Niblack has said he wants to be the next Julio Jones. Elijah Brown will not be looking to emulate Julio, but he is a solid receiver, who will quickly pass any blocking tests.