16 June 2010
With the news of Milton Talbert and Taylor Pharr having been placed on a medical hardship scholarship, it is time to take a look at where Bama stands in regards to the NCAA limit of 85 football scholarships.
Here's the basic information that you'll need if you are new to the scholarship numbers watch:
- Every football team in Division 1 Bowl Sub-Division is allowed to have 85 student-athletes on scholarship.
- No group of incoming football scholarship student-athletes can exceed 25 players.
- At the conclusion of the 2009 season Alabama had 67 scholarship football players set to return for the 2010 season.
Before getting into the actual roster as it stands now, you also need to know exactly what has transpire since the Tide headed home from Pasadena.
On January 11, eleven new Tide players began their academic career at the Capstone:
Cade Foster, Jalston Fowler, John Fulton, Brandon Lewis, Chad Lindsay, Darius McKeller, DeMarcus Milliner, Anthony Orr, Austin Shepherd, Phillip Sims, Petey Smith
That saw Bama's number of scholarship athletes climb to 78.
Within one week of that, both Rolando McClain and Kareem Jackson declared for the NFL Draft (and went on to be 1st round draft picks), dropping Bama's number to 76.
On February 3, 18 more student-athletes signed their national letter of intent to play for Alabama in the fall. Those guys don't count towards the scholarship limits until fall practice begins, so we won't add them into the mix quite yet.
Obviously, those 18, plus the 11 that enrolled early gives Bama a total of 29 new players. Since an incoming group can not exceed 25, something has to give.
If a player enrolls for the spring semester, and the school did not enroll a full class of 25 for the prior fall semester, a player can count towards the previous year's total. While the Tide did bring in a full group in the fall of 2009, three of those players were able to count towards the 2008 signing class.
What that means is that three members of the 2010 signing class can count towards the 2009 limit of 25. So pull any three guys from the list of early enrollees and count them towards the 2009 class. For the sake of ease, I'm going to make those three guys Darius McKeller, Anthony Orr, and Petey Smith. Why those three? Because those three guys actually signed as a part of the 2009 class, but deferred their enrollment until 2010.
So with those three out of the mix, that leaves Bama with 26 guys trying to squeeze into 25 spots. On March 24, one of those three - Darius McKellar - was placed onto a medical hardship scholarship because of a severe wrist injury. Because he was never enrolled during a competitive season, he counts towards neither the overall 85 limit, nor the 25 incoming limit.
That means that another of the eleven guys who enrolled in January can "back count" towards the 2009 class. For the sake of argument, we'll use junior college transfer Brandon Lewis, though it really does not matter which of the eleven was placed there for clerical purposes.
So that means that all 25 remaining members of the 2010 class can enroll, provided that Bama has room under the overall limit of 85.
After McKellar was placed onto medical hardship, that left Bama with 75 players on scholarship.
The next piece of news that affected this was the announcement that senior running back Terry Grant had left the team due to injuries, and would finish his post-graduate degree on a medical hardship scholarship. That dropped the number to 74.
On May 19 Bama saw backup quarterback Star Jackson leave the football team. The redshirt sophomore had dropped to fourth on the Tide depth chart after spring practice (behind two freshmen), and opted to leave for a better chance at playing time. Ironically, he has enrolled at Georgia State, and could likely be their quarterback when they head to Tuscaloosa this November. Jackson leaving the team dropped the number to 73.
The latest bit of news came this past Sunday, on June 13. Coach Saban announced that Taylor Pharr and Milton Talbert were being placed onto medical hardship scholarships.
Pharr was likely going to exit spring practice as either the #1 or #2 punter on the Tide's depth chart, despite play his entire career on the offensive line. He suffered a concussion late in the spring, and missed the Tide's A-Day game. The concussion was enough to end his playing career, though he has been working as a volunteer coach at all of the Tide's summer camps, and hopes to continue that work with the Tide this fall.
Talbert missed several games during the 2009 season, and was in a black no contact jersey for the entirety of the 2010 spring practice period. He had lingering injury issues that were simply too much for him to overcome.
With those two guys no longer on the team, Bama' number currently sits at 71.
In reality, though, that number has already changed. On June 1 Bama saw 16 of the 18 remaining signees enroll for summer classes.
The two players who did not enroll - Deion Belue and Blake Sims - are continuing to work towards academic eligibility, and are expected to enroll in January. Because the Tide will only be bringing in 23 players in the 2010 class, these two guys can count towards the 2010 at that time. Obviously they will have to become academically eligible first, though both players have recently indicated that they are optimistic about that situation.
So with those 16 added to the mix, Bama's number is at 87. That is, obviously, still two too many.
If you read the last scholarship numbers post on March 26, you'll remember that I told you that it is my understanding that junior tight end Chris Underwood is not actually on scholarship. The University of Alabama does not make an official list of scholarship players available to the public, so there is no way to know for certain. However, it is my understanding that Underwood's family has been paying his way since he enrolled at Alabama, which would mean that he would not count towards the limit of 85.
If anyone has concrete knowledge that Underwood is on scholarship, by all means, let me know. I'll happily admit to being wrong, and will change my numbers to reflect that.
You will notice that I do not have him listed with the scholarship juniors below, but that still has Bama's number at 87. So something still has to happen. The possibilities at this point are:
**** A player that is buried on the depth chart will seek a transfer in order to earn more playing time. Guys like Glenn Harbin, Nick Gentry, and Demetrius Goode are solid backups for the Tide, but simply might like to pursue a destination that will get them on the field more.
**** There is another player on the team that is thought to be on scholarship that is actually paying his own way. Bama has several players on the team that are from affluent families, and there were rumors of at least two members of the 2008 signing class opting to pay their own way. Also, no definitive answer was ever given as to whether or not Phelon Jones was placed on scholarship when he transferred in last year.
**** A player will granted a medical hardship. Summer workouts are ongoing, and someone could be injured prior to the beginning of fall camp. Hopefully this won't be the case, but injuries can and do occur.
**** A player will be kicked off of the team for a violation of team rules or an arrest. These are impossible to predict, and hopefully we won't see one for obvious reasons.
**** Another member of Bama 2010 class could defer their enrollment until January. Both Dequan Menzie and Wilson Love have had major sugeries since the end of their football seasons, and if either of them is not physically ready by August, they could choose to delay the beginning of their eligibility clock by waiting to enroll.
Here is the current breakdown of players on the roster by class:
Seniors (9) - Earl Alexander, James Carpenter, Luther Davis, Preston Dial, Darius Hanks, Greg McElroy, Brian Motley, David Ross, Chavis Williams
Juniors (23) - Mark Barron, John Michael Boswell, Josh Chapman, Marcell Dareus, Nick Gentry, Brandon Gibson, Demetrius Goode, Robby Green, Jeramie Griffin, Jerrell Harris, Dont'a Hightower, Mark Ingram, Julio Jones, Phelon Jones, Chris Jordan, Marquis Maze, Alfred McCullough, Brad Smelley, Courtney Upshaw, William Vlachos, Alex Watkins - early enrollee Brandon Lewis, and expected enrollee Dequan Menzie
Sophomores (15) - Undra Billingsley, Michael Bowman, Glenn Harbin, Nico Johnson, Barrett Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, Robert Lester, Tyler Love, Kerry Murphy, Trent Richardson, B.J. Scott, Damion Square, Chance Warmack, Michael Williams, Rod Woodson
Freshmen (40) - Jonathan Atchison, Kenny Bell, Chris Bonds, D.J. Fluker, Kendall Kelly, Eddie Lacy, Mike Marrow, A.J. McCarron, William Ming, Brandon Moore, Kevin Norwood, Tana Patrick, Darrington Sentimore, Anthony Steen, Ed Stinson, Kellen Williams - early enrollees Cade Foster, Jalston Fowler, John Fulton, Chad Lindsay, DeMarcus Milliner, Anthony Orr, Austin Shepherd, Phillip Sims, Petey Smith and expected enrollees Ronald Carswell, Corey Grant, Alfy Hill, Adrian Hubbard, Brandon Ivory, Harrison Jones, Arie Kouadjio, Wilson Love, Keiwone Malone,C.J. Mosley, Nick Perry, Brian Vogler, DeAndrew White, Jarrick Williams, Jay Williams
There are two major things that jump out here:
Bama has an incredibly small senior class. Losing Pharr and Talbert on Sunday dropped that number to an anemic nine. That means that the Tide will have to have some leadership from guys other than seniors. It also means that there will have to be more attrition next season for the Tide to bring in another full class. There will likely be several early exits for the NFL - Mark Ingram, Julio Jones, Marcell Dareus, Dont'a Hightower, and Mark Barron are strong possibilities - but there will have to be an additional 10-12 players leave the team before next August if Bama brings in another 25-27.
It is astounding that the Tide is the likely preseason #1 despite the fact that 40 of the 85 players on campus will be freshmen. Throw in two junior college guys, and 42 of Bama's 85 players have yet to play in a single college game.
We'll keep you updated on the status of this situation once more things are made public. Keep in mind, though, that if Bama has players who are paying their own way, it might not actually be made public.
As for now, it appears as though the magic number is 2.
|< Prev||Next >|