23 January 2010
Drew Davis – OL – Evergreen,
When this site first went live in the spring of 2008 I did a quick look at the scholarship numbers situation, and I gave a list of candidates that I thought would be strong possibilities for attrition. Near the top of that list was Drew Davis.
Why not? Up to that point in his career
Heading into the spring of 2008 he was set to be in a battle with Taylor Pharr over the right tackle spot that I thought Antoine Caldwell or Mike Johnson would eventually slide out to take. I had given up on the possibility that Drew was going to be able to contribute.
Boy was I ever wrong.
After a meeting with Coach Saban just after the end of the 2007 season Drew recommitted himself to the
Drew has his degree from the
Who would have thought that a real possibility two years ago? Certainly not me. So when you read the articles in the coming months where I talk about attrition and which guys might not be with the team in 2010, keep Drew in mind. He’s a prime example of why I am loathe to give up on a kid.
Brandon Deaderick – DL –
It’s not often that you hear about a player getting shot and then playing in a game that Saturday. That’s exactly what happened with Brandon Deaderick, though, after he was shot in the right arm on the Monday prior to Bama’s first game of the 2009 season. He didn’t start the game, an even later admitted to having been hampered until nearly mid-season, but the fact that he was there and ready to play sent a clear message to his teammates – this season matters.
After playing in mostly reserve roles during his first two seasons on campus,
He was a top a pass rushing threat in 2008, recording 3 ½ sacks, second best on the squad that year. In 2009 he added the ability to be a run stopper. To be more exact, he added the ability to force people to run away from him. His sack total was down in 2009, but that is mostly due to Bama’s specialized rabbit rusher package taking most of the snaps in obvious passing downs. The stat that jumps out at you from
As a sports fan you will continually hear analysts talk about teams wanting to establish an identity. We saw that happen quickly for
Career Stats – 80 tackles, 13 for a loss of 54 yards. 7 sacks for a loss of 44 yards, 12 QB hurries.
P.J. Fitzgerald – P –
It’s pretty rare for a punter to be a popular player. After all, if he’s on the field it is only because your team’s offense has failed to pick up a first down. For a punter to be popular, he’s going to have to have done something special – see Lane Bearden playing with a torn ACL as an example of what “special” means in this context.
For P.J., though, the extremes to which people seemed to go out of their way to trash him during and after his freshman season were just ridiculous. The team was a disappointing 6-7 in 2006, and you would have thought it was all the punter’s fault.
Admittedly, P.J.'s punting average of 38.2 yards was not great, but he showed promise during that freshman seasons, downing 19 of his 57 punts inside the opponent’s 20 yard line. 2007 was a little better, with an average of 38.7 yards per punt, and 20 of 64 punts downed inside the opponent’s 20.
Then Nick Saban gave him a scholarship, and it seemed as though the fans expected him to become a different player over night. And he did. Most fans don’t remember that, because most fans expect every punt to top 50 yards. But all P.J. did during the 2008 season was see his average punt increase by nearly 2 ½ yards to 41.1. He was rewarded by the coaching staff with the Special Teams Player of the Year Award for the season.
And in 2009, he improved again. This time it was up to 41.5 yards per game. While he struggled with his directional kicking inside the opponent’s 20 yard line, P.J. excelled at limiting opponent’s opportunities for returns. He punted 58 times in 2009, and teams returned just 17 of them for 156 yards. That’s a 9.2 yard average that speaks volumes about the coverage unit, but also volumes about the hang time and placement of punts.
Throw in the fact that P.J. was the holder on every single one of Leigh Tiffin’s school record 83 field goals, and you end up with a guy who had an amazingly successful career, despite never being recognized for it by the fans. CTSN analyst (and former NFL General Manager) Phil Savage said on the air several times during the 2009 season that he thinks that P.J. has a shot at making an NFL roster. That doesn’t happen often for former walk-ons. But then most walk-ons don’t improve as much during their career.
238 punts for 9.486 yards (both school records) – an average of 39.9 yards per, with 74 downed inside the 20.
Up next in Part 3 - Baron Huber, Marquis Johnson, Mike Johnson
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