Alabama Football: Six early enrollees participating in Sugar Bowl practice

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Alabama football will have some new faces on the practice field as it gears up for its Sugar Bowl bout against Kansas State on New Years Eve. The Crimson Tide have the best 2023 recruiting class in the nation by a wide margin, and the class includes a large number of players who intend to enroll early in January.

Six of these commits will enroll even earlier, joining Alabama’s bowl prep practices beginning on Friday, December 16th. These players are 4-star quarterback Eli Holstein, 4-star offensive linemen Wilkin Formby, Miles McVay, and RyQueze McElderry, 4-star defensive lineman Hunter Osborne, and 4-star athlete Brayson Hubbard. Each of these players should benefit greatly from the experience, and will help to prepare the current team to win its bowl game.

Eli Holstein is one of two 4-star quarterbacks in Alabama’s 2023 class, along with Dylan Lonergan. Holstein will have the invaluable opportunity to spend time around Bryce Young, whether Young actually participates in practice or not.

Holstein could also potentially play on the scout team against the Alabama defense, mimicking Kansas State quarterback Will Howard. Howard has proven to be a good player, finding his stride in his third collegiate season. He took over the Kansas State offense midway through the year and has operated with efficiency, rarely turning the ball over. Howard is a big-bodied QB with respectable mobility, and Holstein could give the Alabama defense a good look in practice.

Alabama football is notably thin on the offensive line, having lost four transfers from the position group in the 2022 season. The trio of 4-star commits will certainly supplement the group in 2023 and will assist in practice this month.

Wilkin Formby, a top-10 offensive tackle and top-100 overall player in the class, has a lot of long-term potential. He should accelerate his development with these extra practices and early exposure to major college football. Miles McVay and RyQueze McElderry are massive offensive linemen that weigh in at a combined 700 pounds. These three will give the Alabama defensive line a solid scout look.

4-stars Hunter Osborne and Brayson Hubbard are the only defensive players enrolling in December. Osborne is an in-state defensive lineman that offers some positional versatility on the defensive front. He will have the opportunity to learn from seasoned SEC defensive linemen in Byron Young and DJ Dale while getting acclimated to playing with future teammates such as Tim Smith and Jaheim Oatis. Osborne will also benefit from competing against future NFL offensive linemen like Emil Ekiyor Jr. and Tyler Steen.

Athlete Brayson Hubbard is slated to play safety at Alabama. He will spend time this month learning from three safeties who could be drafted in April. Seniors Jordan Battle and DeMarcco Hellams, as well as junior Brian Branch, have all been among the SEC’s top defensive backs over the past two seasons.

Playing high school football in Mississippi, Bray Hubbard was also an elite dual-threat quarterback, running for over 4,000 yards and 52 touchdowns in three seasons. He could potentially be a good scout for Kansas State quarterback Adrian Martinez, who began the year as the Wildcats’ starter before suffering an injury.

Martinez should be healthy in time for the Sugar Bowl, and could potentially see playing time. Despite missing several games, he is second on the team with 615 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. In his career, he has amassed 2,916 yards and 45 touchdowns on the ground in five seasons as a Power-5 starter.

While they are ineligible to play in the game, these six super early enrollees should add value to the bowl preparation process for Alabama football. A good showing and a convincing win in the Sugar Bowl could catapult the Tide into 2023 with lots of momentum.

Next. Tide continuing to roll on the recruiting trail. dark

Additionally, this experience will be of tremendous worth to the individual players, who should get acclimated and be ready to attack spring practice full force.