During the summer, TideNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Alabama roster -- excluding the Tide's 2013 recruiting class -- in our Crimson Countdown series. Starting with No. 1 Dee Hart, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Brandon Ivory.
No. 85 Korren Kirven
Redshirt freshman defensive lineman
Expectations for 2013: The 6-foot-5, 281-pound defensive end spent the 2012 season getting acclimated to the program and the physical demands of competing at the college level. The Virginia native worked in the weight room to shed 10 pounds while learning the ropes behind veterans such as Damion Square, Quinton Dial and Ed Stinson. Now that Square is with the Philadelphia Eagles and Dial is in camp with the San Francisco 49ers, there will be plenty of opportunity for Kirven to join the defensive line rotation in a reserve capacity.
Best-case scenario: LaMichael Fanning is a question mark in terms of understanding, Dalvin Tomlinson is an unknown because of his inexperience and it remains to be seen what position Xzavier Dickson will play. Outside of projected starters Stinson and Jeoffrey Pagan, there just aren't a lot of sure things at the defensive end position this season. Should Kirven impress defensive line coach Chris Rumph in fall camp, he could be looking at a quick ascension up the depth chart after rotating in with the second-team defense at A-Day this spring.
Worst-case scenario: What could hurt Kirven the most is his limited athleticism. It's no secret that Nick Saban is looking for more speedy defensive ends to combat the rising number of mobile quarterbacks in the game, and Kirven, a former defensive tackle prospect, isn't the type of lineman to track down a nimble passer. That's more the role of somebody like Fanning or Tomlinson. With Dee Liner and Darius Paige entering the fold, the battle for playing time could prove difficult for Kirven, especially when Alabama faces quarterbacks who can move the pocket like Logan Thomas, Johnny Manziel and Bo Wallace.
Future impact: The days of an end/tackle tweener such as Damion Square starting on the defensive line seem to be fading fast. Whether it's as a run-stuffer or a pass-rusher, Kirven would do well to find a niche for himself on the defensive line. Until then, he'll likely be relegated to coming off the bench.