As kickoff inches closer and the roster comes into full view, we here at TideNation will reach out to our national group of scouts for their take on some of the issues facing the University of Alabama. Today we spoke with National Recruiting Director and College Football Analyst Tom Luginbill.
Alex Scarborough: Eddie Williams has great raw skills at 6-foot-3, 204 pounds. Given his move from wide receiver to safety, what are some positives and negatives to him playing on the defensive side of the ball?
Tom Luginbill: I don't see negatives. If there was a negative, it would be that he played so many positions in high school that he hasn't settled in and truly learned the nuances of one individual position. That's where the learning curve comes. This will be the first time he's settled in playing a position and doing it full time, not of playing quarterback on offense and then splitting time on defense or splitting time at receiver. That, on its own accord, is going to rapidly accelerate his development.
There will still be a learning curve because he hasn't devoted time to one position, but his range, his ball skills, his athleticism, the natural height, there is tremendous skill set there that has a high ceiling for him. It has a high ceiling for development because of the point I just made previously that he hasn't just played one individual position. So he's only going to get better as he devotes time and experience and gets reps.
Scarborough: Is there someone on this roster you think can step up and surprise some people this year?
Luginbill: I think Amari Cooper will surprise a lot of people. I think Amari Cooper will have a significant role. He's really, really smooth. I saw Alabama in spring practice a couple of days and got to visit with their staff, and I think he's got the chance to be really, really good.
Scarborough: What did Alabama lose when Chris Black went down? The true freshman receiver had his progress cut short by a shoulder injury that will require surgery and keep him out 3-4 months.
Luginbill: They basically lost speed and the ability to stretch the field. That's one thing Chris Black can do, and it's one thing their receiving corps was lacking in some degree. Even though he's inexperienced and he's a freshman, that explosiveness and speed, once you get it on the field you have to respect it. I think that's the biggest blow there.