Alabama Football: Crimson Tide tight end room updates

(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

Alabama Football is looking to sharpen every facet of its roster this spring, and the tight end position is no different. Two-year starter Cameron Latu departs as an NFL Draft entrant, and Bama could use several different players to replace him. Coach Nick Saban spoke on the unit during his press conference following the team scrimmage on Saturday afternoon.

The Crimson Tide’s most complete tight end is probably Maryland transfer CJ Dippre. Dippre, a junior, is currently battling back from a lower extremity injury. Coach Saban lauded him for his versatility, noting that he can “do all three things you want him to do at tight end,” which includes playing as a traditional in-line tight end, lining up as an H-back, or splitting out wide as a receiver.

Fellow junior tight end Robbie Ouzts is out with an injury of his own, but saw valuable reps last season. He is a physical blocker that excels in the H-back role in the Bama offense. He started three games in 2022 and made four receptions for 43 yards.

Saban also commented on the positive progress of sophomore Amari Niblack and redshirt freshman Danny Lewis Jr. Both players are athletic tight ends that have high upside as receivers.

Niblack was a 4-star athlete out of Florida in the class of 2022. He saw limited playing time as a freshman last season, catching a touchdown pass against UL-Monroe.

Lewis Jr. was a 3-star tight end out of Louisiana, joining Niblack in the 2022 class. Lewis Jr. also played a limited role last year, as he appeared in five games but did not record any statistics.

Elijah Brown was the third tight end that committed to Alabama Football in the 2022 class. It always seemed unlikely that all three would remain in Tuscaloosa, especially after the Tide turned to the transfer portal to get an experienced tight end earlier this offseason.

On Monday evening, Brown announced his intention to enter the NCAA transfer portal, leaving behind a still semi-crowded tight end room.

Other members of the unit that remain on the roster include junior Miles Kitselman and incoming freshman Ty Lockwood, who is on campus for the spring.

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Dippre should provide much-needed stability to the position in 2023, but it is encouraging that young players like Niblack and Lewis Jr. are beginning to catch on. Alabama Football fans should be excited about the progress of this position group.