27 July 2008
| Luther Davis - #96 – DE – 6-4 – 275 lbs. – West Monroe, LA – West Monroe HS – 1 Varsity Letter
Luther gave Bama fans a scare in the spring when he left the team for a brief period of time during spring practice. As is typically the case under Nick Saban
, no real explanation was given for Luther’s absence, though rumors indicate that it was a family situation at home that required Luther’s attention. His absence was a short one, seemingly over before anyone really had a chance to gnash teeth over it, though, and Luther wrapped up the spring in Tuscaloosa.
The Tide’s front 7 is extremely thin, and Luther appears to be primed for a big role in 2008. He managed to work his way into playing time in 6 of Bama’s 13 games last year, quite a feat for a true freshman defensive lineman. While his 3 tackles don’t jump off of the stat sheet, the fact that he played against Arkansas, Florida State, Tennessee & LSU should give an indication as to how highly the coaches think of his ability.
: His time away from the team in the spring saw him drop to the bottom of the depth chart at Left Defensive End, behind both Brandon Deaderick
& redshirt Freshman Nick Gentry
. If no problems have (quietly) arisen during the summer for Luther, and he is ready to go at the open of fall camp, I expect he’ll quickly jump Gentry
and be primed for playing time behind Deaderick
Luther came to Alabama as a High School All-American with huge upside potential. The only obstacle that appears to be in his path to seeing that potential come to fruition is his mentality. Luther is one of those guys that seems to be able to flip his effort on and off like a light switch. In order to be successful in the SEC, he is going to have to make the decision to leave that switch on at all times.
If this is the year that he is able to do that, playing time will be there. Deaderick
will be tough to supplant as the starter, but there is plenty of playing time to be had in Bama’s rotation. With starting Right End Bobby Greenwood
playing in his final year at Alabama, there will be an opportunity at that position in 2009.
If things go the other way for Luther, if he isn’t willing or able to flip that switch, then expect to see him quickly buried behind a group of talented incoming players. There could be as many as 6 true and redshirt freshmen battling for time at the 2 Defensive End spots, and any drop off in effort will likely see a drop to the bottom of the depth chart.
When a player is blessed with as much raw talent as Luther, you always hope that they can figure out a way to get everything in place for them to maximize that talent. I don’t know exactly what the situation is for Luther back in West Monroe, so I certainly can’t judge him based on how that situation is affecting him. I will simply say that I hope that he is able to get everything straightened out and he is able to put the focus and attention needed on football. If he is, expect huge things from him this year and beyond.